Croatia is on track to accede to the EU on 1 July, the Foreign Affairs committee said in a vote on Tuesday. MEPs stressed their confidence in the strength and maturity of the country's democracy, social market economy and capacity to fulfil the obligations of membership. They also called on the three member states that have not yet approved Croatia's accession to do so without delay.
Development Committee MEPs expressed their support and recognition for the work done by the European Commission in Mali and Syriai in a debate with Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva on Monday.
Armenia's presidential elections on Monday were calm but the campaign lacked substantive political debate and real competition, as three major opposition parties decided not to field candidates, reported observer MEPs.
After the 2014 elections the European Parliament must have 751 members, i.e. 15 fewer seats, so as to comply with the Lisbon Treaty. To keep member state's losses to a minimum, 12 EU countries would each lose one seat, while the others would gain none, under a "pragmatic solution" proposed by the Constitutional Affairs Committee on Tuesday. MEPs also called for an overhaul of voting methods in the Council of Ministers, as part of a future EU treaty reform.
MEPs called for more meat tests along the food chain in the wake of the horsemeat scandal during a debate in the food safety committee on Monday. Many voiced concern over member states' level of commitment to enforcing the EU's existing rules on labelling and urged the European Commission to step up controls.
A freeze in the auction of some pollution allowances should be allowed to help boost green investments, according to environment committee MEPs voting on draft legislation on Tuesday.
Potential inflationary bubbles still exist in the Euro zone economy and the possible effects of Euro exchange rates on inflation must be monitored, ECB President Mario Draghi warned the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee on Monday. He also stressed that banks need not only a strong single supervisory system but also common crisis resolution rules. MEPs urged the ECB to improve bank lending to the real economy.
The EU and its member states should continue providing support to respond to the massive Syrian refugee crisis and make sure the funding arrives where it is most needed, said MEPs who met with Syrian refugees in Jordan this week. The delegation also called on Jordan and other neighbouring countries to keep their borders open to endangered civilians and continue to offer them safe haven.
Kosovo needs to make rapid reforms in the rule of law, protection of minorities, administrative capacities and trade to allow for launch of EU-Kosovo Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) talks, said Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs on Thursday. The SAA, which defines rights and obligations of both parties until the EU membership, would create new opportunities for regional integration of Kosovo, MEPs added.
EU accession talks with Serbia should start without delay, provided the government keeps the reform process on course, said Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs on Thursday. Voting on the Commission's 2012 progress report on Serbia, they stressed that starting the talks in June 2013 is achievable. Serbia was granted EU candidate status on 1 March 2012.