The EU should take the lead in ensuring the protection of journalists, said foreign affairs MEPs in a vote on Tuesday. The independent press, a watchdog for democracy, is suffering increasing harassment, with journalists being persecuted and imprisoned, they warn, stressing the need to combat impunity for threats and attacks against journalists.
Parliament's Budgets Committee gave its support on Tuesday to the two-track negotiations on the EU long-term budget (MFF) and an amending budget for 2013, which was agreed Monday evening in a meeting of the Presidents of the European Parliament, Council and Commission.
Pressure to reveal how the Cyprus financial plans were hatched would continue, the chair of Parliament's economic and monetary affairs committee, said on Tuesday when she closed a debate with Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem that left various MEPs less than fully satisfied on the quality of the answers provided.
To reduce the CO2 emissions of new light commercial vehicles sold in the EU to 147g/km by 2020, from 203g today, innovation should be encouraged by giving "super-credit" weightings to each maker's cleaner vehicles. Longer-term CO2 reduction targets should also be set, and environmental performance testing methods should be made more realistic, said the Environment Committee on Tuesday. The top speed of vans should be electronically limited to 120km/h, it added.
Anyone convicted of a serious crime or corruption should be barred from tendering for public contracts or standing for election in the EU for at least five years, says the Special Committee on Organised Crime in a resolution voted on Tuesday. Mafia membership should be made a crime throughout the EU, and EU-wide rules drawn up on how to use confiscated mafia assets for social purposes, it adds.
Europe on Track, a Spanish youth media project, was awarded first prize at the 2013 Charlemagne Youth Prize ceremony on 7 May in Aachen University. The second prize went to the photo contest Discover Europe from Poland and the third to the Youth exchange project "The Story of my Life" from Estonia. The Charlemagne Youth Prize is awarded annually to projects that foster a shared sense of European identity and integration among young people.
The President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and the President of the European Commission met in Brussels on 6 May to discuss budgetary matters. They agreed on key points on the Draft Amending Budget 2013, which paves the way for negotiations to start on the Multiannual Financial Framework. The details of the framework for the negotiations are set out below.
"Soft power alone is no power at all," NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told foreign affairs, security and defence MEPs and national MPs on Monday. Speaking in favour of "holding the line on defence spending" in Europe, he said Europeans must also "have the political will to use" the right capabilities. MEPs called for more cooperation between the EU and NATO in times of austerity.
The Civil Liberties Committee will debate on Monday and Tuesday two draft laws updating the current data protection legislation. A proposal for a regulation covering the bulk of personal data processing in the EU, both online and off-line, will be discussed from 16.45 on Monday. A draft directive, concerning data processed in criminal investigations, will be debated from 12.10 on Tuesday.
Come along to express your citizenship and explore the corridors of Europe. This year's Festival of Europe takes place on Saturday 4 May (Brussels and Luxembourg) and 19 May (Strasbourg).