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Health and environment

 

March plenary: safe food, melting ice caps and a prejudice that won’t go away

Plenary Session External/international trade / Environment / Food safety17-03-2017 - 11:03
 

Modern threats and ancient prejudices dominated Parliament’s March 2017 plenary session. The need to ensure that our food is safe was debated as were the threats and opportunities of melting polar ice. At the same time, the inequality still facing women in the workplace was underlined and an MEP who berated women punished, while most MEPs called on Europe to step in and replace the funds the United States is withdrawing from NGOs offering abortions in developing countries. (Read more: March plenary: safe food, melting ice caps and a prejudice that won’t go away )

 

Arctic: ban oil drilling and mitigate tensions, urge MEPs

Plenary Session External relations / Environment16-03-2017 - 12:44
Picture of iceland glacier lagoon bay  

Climate change is bringing new environmental and security challenges in the Arctic, as the melting ice cap opens up new navigation and fishing routes, and competition for its natural resources heats up, say MEPs in a resolution voted on Thursday. They call for measures to protect the vulnerable Arctic ecosystem, ban oil drilling there and keep it a low-tension and cooperation area. (Read more: Arctic: ban oil drilling and mitigate tensions, urge MEPs )

 

Arctic: MEPs debate strategy to prevent conflicts over polar region heating up

Plenary Session External relations / Environment15-03-2017 - 14:30
infographic illustration  

The melting of Arctic ice is unlocking new opportunities in the form of shipping routes and gas and oil stocks, but also increasing tensions and creating risks for the environment. A Parliament report calls for the protection of the Arctic's unique ecosystem and sets out ways to defuse possible tensions. "There is need to avoid the militarisation of the Arctic and respect for international law is essential,"said report co-author Urmas Paet. MEPs debate the report tonight and vote on it tomorrow. (Read more: Arctic: MEPs debate strategy to prevent conflicts over polar region heating up )

 

Tougher food inspections from farm to fork

Plenary Session Food safety15-03-2017 - 12:34
Prodotti tipici della Cucina Sarda  

Plans to tighten up official food inspections, from farm to fork, were adopted by Parliament on Wednesday. The new rules, already informally agreed by MEPs and the Council, aims to improve food traceability, combat fraud and restore consumer trust in the integrity of the food chain. (Read more: Tougher food inspections from farm to fork )

 

From farm to fork: strengthening food checks in Europe

Plenary Session Food safety14-03-2017 - 16:29
 

Consumers are entitled to know that the food they buy and eat is safe, however food fraud cases such as the 2013 horsemeat scandal show that is not always the case. On Wednesday 15 March MEPs adopted new rules to tighten up official inspections throughout the food chain. We talked to Austrian S&D member Karin Kadenbach, the MEP responsible for steering the proposal through Parliament, about the benefits of the new legislation. (Read more: From farm to fork: strengthening food checks in Europe )

 

Waste: boost recycling, cut landfilling and curb food waste, Parliament says

Plenary Session Environment14-03-2017 - 13:47
Pile of waste garbage_  

The share of waste to be recycled would rise to 70% by 2030, from 44% today, under draft legislation adopted on Tuesday. MEPs also want the “waste package” plans to limit the share of landfilling, which has a big environmental impact, to 5% and to deliver a 50% reduction in food waste by 2030. Parliament will now negotiate with Council of Ministers. (Read more: Waste: boost recycling, cut landfilling and curb food waste, Parliament says )

 

MEPs back mercury pollution curbs, in line with UN Minamata convention

Plenary Session Public health14-03-2017 - 13:23

New legislation restricting the use of mercury, a persistent pollutant that has adverse effects on the environment and human health, was adopted by Parliament on Tuesday. The bill, already informally agreed with the Council of Ministers, aims to close the gap between existing EU legislation and the United Nations Minamata Convention against mercury pollution. (Read more: MEPs back mercury pollution curbs, in line with UN Minamata convention )

 

Waste management: MEPs to vote on plans to boost recycling rates

Plenary Session Environment10-03-2017 - 09:58
infographic illustration on waste management in the EU  

MEPs vote Tuesday 14 March on four directives concerning waste management, mainly waste from households and small firms, representing 8% of total waste. These plans are a first step towards creating a circular economy where products are designed in order to facilitate reuse. One of the key issues is how ambitious targets should be for recycling rates and limiting landfilling, which is probably the most harmful way of getting rid of waste. (Read more: Waste management: MEPs to vote on plans to boost recycling rates )

 

Palm oil: the high cost of cultivating the cheap vegetable oil

Plenary Session Environment / Public health08-03-2017 - 13:56
 

Palm oil is extensively used in food, cosmetics and biofuels, however the unsustainable production of the cheap vegetable oil leads to deforestation, loss of nature habitats and greenhouse gas emissions. Czech GUE/NGL member Kateřina Konečná calls on the European Commission to take measure to promote the responsible cultivation of palm oil and phase out its use for biofuels. The environment committee votes on her report on 9 March. (Read more: Palm oil: the high cost of cultivating the cheap vegetable oil )

 

MEPs propose ways to make medicines more affordable

Plenary Session Public health02-03-2017 - 12:17
Medicine bottles behind pills ©AP Images/European Union-EP  

New medicine prices in the EU have risen over the past few decades, to the point of being unaffordable for many EU citizens and threatening the sustainability of national health care systems, say MEPs in a resolution voted on Thursday. To strike a better balance between EU countries’ public health interests and those of the pharmaceutical industry, it calls for measures to improve the traceability of R&D costs, public funding and marketing expenditure. (Read more: MEPs propose ways to make medicines more affordable )