Music and architecture, video games, crafts, design and fashion offer considerable growth potential which the EU should support and exploit, says a draft resolution voted by the Culture Committee on Tuesday. It calls for a stronger partnership with universities to equip young people with the requisite skills. It also advocates creating a social status to counter the precarity of many professionals in these fields.
Members asked the six candidates for the post of European Ombudsman what they could offer by way of independence, visibility and transparency, in a series of public hearings held by the Petitions Committee on Tuesday. The new Ombudsman will be elected by the full Parliament in July.
The extra economic reform "breathing space" granted to enable EU countries to meet deficit-cutting requirements and boost growth was welcomed by MEPs in Monday's joint economic affairs and employment committee debate with Commissioners Olli Rehn and László Andor. MEPs also criticized the analysis and economic theories underlying austerity recommendations.
User rules for new "smart" digital tachographs for trucks and buses were approved by the Transport and Tourism Committee on Tuesday. These devices will use satellite tracking technology to make it easier to check and enforce driving and rest times, whilst reducing the number of roadside checks. The rules now need to be approved by Parliament as a whole and the Council of Ministers.
Russia's decree that European airlines must supply it with EU air passengers' personal data is a "very worrying issue" that could set a precedent for other countries, said Civil Liberties Committee MEPs in a debate with Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström on Monday evening.
The current unrest in Turkey highlights the absence of a culture of compromise and the failure to tolerate dissent in Turkish democracy, foreign affairs MEPs said in a debate on Thursday. They also criticised the lateness of EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton's reaction to the violent crackdown on the anti-government protests as well as the lack of reaction so far by Prime Minister Erdogan.
Cyber criminals would face tougher EU-wide penalties, under a draft directive agreed by MEPs, Council and Commission negotiators last year and endorsed by the Civil Liberties Committee on Thursday. The new rules also aim to facilitate prevention and to boost police and judicial cooperation in this field. The deadline for replies to urgent requests for help will be eight hours.
MEPs quizzed Croatian Commissioner-designate Neven Mimica on EU consumer policy and his plans for the next 16 months, at a hearing on Tuesday. They focused on barriers to e-commerce, product safety and market surveillance, medical devices and consumer policy in times of crisis.
MEPs welcomed the results of the Mali donors conference but insisted on respect for the rule of law and human rights during their discussion on Thursday with the acting president, Dioncounda Traoré. Members of the security and defence, foreign affairs and development committees also stressed the need to establish genuine democracy and decentralisation.
Plans to introduce EU minimum standards for roadworthiness tests on motorcycles and trailers under 2,000 kg were rejected by the Transport and Tourism Committee on Thursday. These plans are part of the EU "roadworthiness package", which would lay down minimum EU standards on testing frequency, a risk-based system for roadside inspections of commercial vehicles and rules for suspending or cancelling registration certificates. The package still has to be approved by Parliament as a whole.