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10 things we learnt in the June plenary

Others Article - Institutions15-06-2012 - 11:00
 
Preparation for the plenary session   Preparing for the session...

Is free movement throughout the Schengen area - one of the EU's biggest accomplishments - under threat from EU governments? Is austerity the only answer to the economic crisis? Do cyber attacks present a clear and present danger to critical infrastructure in Europe? These are just some of the questions that MEPs grappled with during the June plenary session in Strasbourg.


MEPs said they were considering taking EU governments to court over their decision to exclude the Parliament from governance of the Schengen visa-free travel agreement. On Thursday EP President Martin Schulz and the political group leaders said they would suspend negotiations on a number of home affairs issues until the dispute over Schengen was resolved.


The EU needs a robust budget financed by real own resources such as a financial transaction tax or a new EU-wide VAT, MEPs told EU leaders, who will discuss the 2014-2020 budget plan on 28-29 June.


The next round of economic governance legislation must be geared more towards growth and democratic accountability, MEPs said when adopting Parliament's position on legislation introducing amongst others legal protection for countries about to default.


Yes to trade agreements with Peru and Colombia, but not at the expense of workers' rights: that was the strong position MEPs took on Wednesday when Peru's president visited the Parliament.


But a free-trade deal with Japan could harm the European car industry, MEPs said, telling the Council to wait for Parliament's proposals before launching negotiations on the deal – which will have to be approved by the EP.


Bulgarian Christian-Democrat MEP Iliana Ivanova could soon be leaving the hemicycle for the European Court of Auditors after her candidature was endorsed by the plenary. The final decision is now in the hands of the Council.


On Tuesday MEPs discussed the latest developments in Tibet with high representative Catherine Ashton. "The EU is concerned by the deterioration of the situation as illustrated by the wave of self immolations," she said.


MEPs adopted new rules on the labelling and content of baby food and food for people with special medical needs to better protect consumers and give clarity to the food industry.


MEPs voted for measures TO strengthen protection against cyber attacks on critical information infrastructure in the EU, which would mean cutting access to critical infrastructure if a direct attack poses a severe threat to its proper functioning.


After a scandal concerning defective breast implants, MEPs voted for a register, more stringent checks and traceability and a pre-market authorisation system.


REF. : 20120608STO46487