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External relations

 

MEPs discuss how to go about free-trade agreement with US

Others External/international trade01-03-2013 - 09:05
 

The EU and the US will this year start talks on a free-trade agreement to help boost their economies, but there are many thorny issues to be worked out. Although the deal would increase trade and create jobs, it will require the two regions to reconcile their different approaches to issues such as animal welfare, people's privacy and food safety. It could also affect business with other parts of the world. Watch the video to discover the views of two MEPs with very different perspectives. (Read more: MEPs discuss how to go about free-trade agreement with US )

 
 

Ukraine: reforms to pave the way for association agreement

Others Enlargement / External relations28-02-2013 - 15:53
Ukrainian president Viktor Fedorovych  

EU-Ukraine: still friends? Although the situation was unclear at the end of last year, both sides reconfirmed their willingness to pursue closer ties at the 16th EU-Ukraine summit on 25 February. However, before Ukraine is able to sign an association agreement with the EU this year, it has to show progress by May in several areas, especially election law and its justice system. (Read more: Ukraine: reforms to pave the way for association agreement )

 
 

Future of EU defence: fewer cuts and more cooperation

Others Security and defence27-02-2013 - 12:35
Marine performing military training exercise on a beach  

A military top brass has warned MEPs over further cuts to defence budgets, saying they could prove disastrous to efforts to protect our prosperity and security. "We already passed the line where it was acceptable," said lieutenant general Ton van Osch. The director general of the EU's military staff fired off the warning during a discussion on the future of EU defence organised by the EP's security and defence subcommittee on 26 February. (Read more: Future of EU defence: fewer cuts and more cooperation )

 
 
Juan Fernando López Aguilar  

Hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled the Syrian regime and are now stranded in the Jordanian desert. Juan Fernando López Aguilar, a Spanish member of the S&D group, led a delegation of MEPs to Jordan last week to see first-hand the tragedy behind the headlines. "They dream of returning to their homes," he said. "They are calling on us to act." We spoke to Mr López Aguilar about how the EU could make a difference in this humanitarian crisis that threatens to overwhelm relief efforts. (Read more: The Arab Spring has turned into a nightmare for Syrian refugees - López Aguilar )

 
 

Tunisian president and EP condemn murder of opposition leader

Others Institutions / External relations06-02-2013 - 16:27
Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki  

Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki condemned the assassination of his country's opposition leader Chokri Belaïd in Tunis on Wednesday morning in a speech to MEPs. "This is a threat, a letter being sent to us," he said. "We reject that letter and continue to unmask the enemies of the revolution." EP president Martin Schulz expressed condolences to the Belaïd family and the Tunisian people, confident that "Tunisian authorities will do everything necessary to bring those responsible to justice". (Read more: Tunisian president and EP condemn murder of opposition leader )

 
 

Somali president calls on EP to help develop his country's parliament

Others External relations31-01-2013 - 15:45
Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud together with EP president Martin Schulz  

Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud made a plea for the EP and the EU to support his country during a visit to the Parliament on 31 January. Mr Mohamud, who was elected president last September, said: "Now we have a better government and parliament, trying to do their best, but we are here because of European help. We are grateful for our traditional partner, and would like to request further support, especially of the European Parliament, to make our legislative organ strong and capable." (Read more: Somali president calls on EP to help develop his country's parliament )

 
 
Arnaud Danjean  

France's call for support in its campaign against Islamic militants in Mali has been met by mixed reactions from other member states. Although the EU has offered to train the Mali army, the EP's security and defence subcommittee said it should also use its tactical battle groups, which are military units that the EU can rapidly deploy for international intervention. We spoke to chair Arnaud Danjean, a French member of the centre-right EPP group, about Mali and the common EU defence policy. (Read more: Mali: "It's a shame that the EU's tactical battle groups are not being deployed" )

 
 
The Map of the first enlargement as displayed in the Parlamentarium EP museum  

This month marks 40 years since the EU welcomed Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom as members in its first ever enlargement. At the time the economy was not growing as fast as before and adding fresh blood was seen as the perfect way to revitalise the organisation. It also meant EP got to welcome an additional 58 members - an increase of nearly 40%. We spoke to some of the longest-serving MEPs to ask them how their country evolved because of EU membership and how they see the future. (Read more: How being in the EU for 40 years has changed Denmark, Ireland and the UK )

 
 

MEPs welcome progress of Balkan countries towards EU membership

Others Enlargement / External relations23-01-2013 - 14:49
Flag of Montenegro against a blue sky  

MEPs praised the reforms of the Balkan countries and their progress towards achieving EU membership but identified areas for further improvement. On 21 and 22 January, EP's foreign affairs committee adopted a progress report on Montenegro, discussed Kosovo's European integration process and questioned Suzana Grubjesic, Serbia's deputy prime minister for European integration. (Read more: MEPs welcome progress of Balkan countries towards EU membership )