The US wine association's definition of "Château" differs from the EU's. So if the European Commission plans to allow "Château" labels to be used on American wines sold in the EU, then they must meet EU quality standards, said MEPs in a debate with Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta on Wednesday.
The independence of the judiciary and media freedom in Bulgaria were debated with the Council and the Commission on Wednesday. Whilst some MEPs argued that the EU has a duty to ensure that all member states respect the principles of freedom and democracy, others countered that this was a domestic issue and that the European Parliament is not the place to run a national election campaign.
MEPs voiced strong support on Wednesday for the Turkish government's talks with former Kurdistan Workers' Party chief Abdullah Öcalan, aiming to put an end to decades of violence in Turkey. An in-depth dialogue could bring about a lasting change in Turkey's relations with its Kurdish minority, MEPs stressed in the debate.
EU member states must not use the economic crisis as a pretext to force austerity upon the EU until 2020, MEPs warned in a debate on Wednesday. The EU needs a budget that is flexible enough to cope with unforeseen events and is funded from new sources, they added. The debate with Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Ireland's EU Presidency Minister Lucinda Creighton was Parliament's final input to the 7-8 February EU budget summit.
The Arab revolutions are "first and foremost social and democratic", not "nationalistic and xenophobic",Tunisia's President Moncef Marzouki told MEPs on Wednesday. He condemned the murder, this morning in Tunis, of Chokri Belaïd an "old friend" and figurehead of the secular opposition. This "odius crime" is "a threat, a letter sent to us, but one which will not be accepted", he said.
A major reform of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) which aims to cut fishing to sustainable stock levels, end dumping at sea, and base long-term planning on sound scientific data, was approved by Parliament on Wednesday. Overfishing is widely seen as the worst failure of the current CFP, dating from 2002. The new one is to take effect in 2014.
Noise limits for cars would be tightened to protect public health, under a draft law voted in Parliament on Wednesday. MEPs also recommended introducing labels to inform consumers about new cars' noise levels and adding sound to hybrid and electric vehicles to alert pedestrians.
The EU should lead international support to stop poaching of elephants and rhinos and call on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to end secret ballots, the European Parliament said on Wednesday.
Patients should have quicker access to cheaper "generic" medicines, according to MEPs voting on a draft law on Wednesday. The draft rules will require authorities to meet new deadlines and transparency requirements on pricing and reimbursement.
Small firms need bank loans tailored to their needs, alternative forms of venture capital, clearer rules on cooperation with lenders, and prompter payments from other firms, said MEPs on Tuesday, in a report calling for legislation to these ends.