A European Commission proposal to allow the use of EU air passenger name record (PNR) data in investigating serious crime and terrorist offences was rejected by Civil Liberties Committee MEPs Wednesday, by 30 votes to 25.
The Cuban "Ladies in White" (Damas de Blanco) protest movement was at last able to receive its European Parliament Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in Brussels on Tuesday, when, over seven years later, Havana finally lifted a travel ban. The prize was presented at a special ceremony during a joint meeting of the foreign affairs, development and human rights committees, attended by European Parliament President, Martin Schulz.
Member states’ police forces and Europol would gain access to asylum seekers’ fingerprints in the Eurodac database to help them fight terrorism and serious crime, under a provisional deal between Parliament and Council endorsed by the Civil Liberties Committee on Wednesday. MEPs ensured that personal data would be duly protected and that police access would be limited to cases where there is a major public security concern.
Asylum seekers would get fairer, more uniform access to international protection across the EU under a draft law agreed by Parliament and Council representatives and endorsed by the Civil Liberties Committee on Wednesday. This draft law is one of the five acts forming the backbone of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS), to be put to a plenary vote in June.
More people and regions will benefit from the EU Youth Employment Initiative thanks to amendments voted by the Employment and Social Affairs Committee on Tuesday. This initiative is to give effect to the "youth guarantee", whereby any young person in the EU who has been unemployed for more than four months is to be offered a job, training or an apprenticeship.
Eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable development should be the priorities of the post-2015 development agenda, said Development Committee MEPs on Tuesday. Universal health coverage and quality education should be key goals, and gender equality and decent work opportunities should become new ones, they said in a draft resolution, voted Tuesday, on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Most of the new rules tabled by the Commission on truck weights and sizes were welcomed in a debate with Commissioner Siim Kallas on Tuesday. MEPs said these rules would help cut fuel consumption and improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists. But they remained divided over whether member states should be permitted to allow the use of longer and heavier vehicles (LHVs) in cross-border transport. At Parliament's request, conditions for using LHVs across borders are included in the new rules.
A provisional deal updating the EU customs code to keep pace with IT development was struck by MEPs and Irish EU presidency negotiators on Tuesday. It paves the way for paper-free customs transactions, including fast-track processing for trusted companies.
Property buyers would be better informed about the costs and consequences of taking on a mortgage, better protected from market swings while the contract lasts and better protected if they cannot repay the loan, under a provisional deal struck by Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee MEPs and EU member state representatives on Monday. To become law, this deal must be approved by Parliament as a whole and endorsed by the member states.
Parliament debated three separate resolutions on Thursday, calling for measures to enhance freedom of expression in Vietnam and to protect human rights in Kazakhstan and expressing concerns about the situation of hunger striking prisoners in Guantanamo. The first two resolutions were adopted and the vote on the third was postponed.