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No more plastic bags polluting our environment

Others Institutions24-04-2014 - 11:59
Guest photographer_Gábor Szellő / Nowadays_  

Life in plastic is not so fantastic after all. Plastic bags have been blamed for polluting the environment, especially aquatic ecosystems. In April MEPs voted in favour of halving the consumption of lightweight plastic bags by 2017 and reducing it by 80% by 2019 compared to 2010 levels. The topic of last month's guest photographer contest was plastic bags. The winning photo illustrates this article. (Read more: No more plastic bags polluting our environment)

 
 

Fishing: sustainable methods are proving quite the catch

Others Justice and home affairs24-04-2014 - 10:47
 

Every time Stephen McHale catches an egg-bearing female lobster, he makes a mark on the tail flipper to warn other fishers not to harvest it. It is a practice known as v-notching to protect local stocks and typical of the sustainable way McHale operates. “We fish to the market in that our seller, who just lives a few miles down the coast, knows what demand there is and we fish to satisfy that. So the market isn’t flooded with unwanted fish,” he explains. (Read more: Fishing: sustainable methods are proving quite the catch)

 
 

Inspiring young Europeans at EYE2014

Others Youth23-04-2014 - 13:48
EYE story illustration  

Participants at the European Youth Event (EYE2014) will not only be able to discuss their ideas with business leaders and decision makers, but they will also have the chance to meet last year's Charlemagne Youth Prize winners. As part of EYE2014, thousands of young Europeans will meet in Strasbourg on 9-11 May to participate in workshops, hearings, debates and discussions organised by the European Parliament and its partners. (Read more: Inspiring young Europeans at EYE2014)

 
 
Tablet app story - picture_  

From Facebook to Foursquare, the European Parliament can already be found in many different places. This now also includes your very own tablet with the creation of the EP's first-ever application for Apple and Android tablets. The Box Your EP app offers a fun way to learn about the Parliament and its activities ahead of the European elections in May. Create your own box, take a peek inside other people's boxes, read about the elections and compete with friend in a series of challenging quizzes. (Read more: Box Your EP: discover the European Parliament's first ever tablet application)

 
 

Things we learnt in plenary: banking union, posted workers, disaster adid

Plenary Session Institutions18-04-2014 - 09:00
 

A reform of Europe's banking system, quicker aid for member states hit by natural disasters and stricter checks for workers posted abroad... It might have been the last plenary session before the European elections in May, but MEPs managed to approve many new laws that will benefit Europeans for years to come. Read on for an overview of the main legislative proposals that were adopted this week. (Read more: Things we learnt in plenary: banking union, posted workers, disaster adid)

 
 

Human rights: North Korea; persecution in Pakistan; vulnerable groups in Syria

Plenary Session Humanitarian aid / Development and cooperation17-04-2014 - 16:35

The EP passed three resolutions on Thursday, supporting the recommendations of the UN Commission of Inquiry into human rights violations in North Korea; expressing deep concern at the increase in sectarian violence and religious intolerance in Pakistan; and condemning the recent attacks against religious and ethnic communities and the suffering of women and children in Syria. (Read more: Human rights: North Korea; persecution in Pakistan; vulnerable groups in Syria)

 
 

The end of the EP's seventh term will be followed by a presidential debate, election night, the formation of new political groups and the constitution of the new Parliament. (Read more: Series of events from end of seventh EP term to constitution of new EP)

 
 

Ukraine: MEPs call for EU sanctions against Russian energy firms

Plenary Session External relations17-04-2014 - 12:44

The EU must step up sanctions targeting individual Russians and be ready to impose economic sanctions on Russia immediately, MEPs said in a vote on Thursday. They also called for EU measures against Russian firms and their subsidiaries, especially in the energy sector, and Russia's EU assets, against a background of violence designed to destabilise the east and south of Ukraine. (Read more: Ukraine: MEPs call for EU sanctions against Russian energy firms)

 
 

Drugs: MEPs back rules to take harmful “legal highs” off the market faster

Plenary Session Justice and home affairs17-04-2014 - 12:26
The display on a table top represents one of Europe's biggest illegal synthetic drugs laboratories  

Draft rules to ensure that harmful psychoactive substances, known as "legal highs", are withdrawn rapidly from the EU market were approved by Parliament on Thursday. MEPs sought to protect the health and safety of young people from these drugs, whilst ensuring that trade in lower risk substances for industrial and commercial uses is not hindered. Criminals who breach the ban on the most harmful substances could face up to ten years in jail. (Read more: Drugs: MEPs back rules to take harmful “legal highs” off the market faster)

 
 

"Legal highs": the ins and outs of tackling uppers and downers

Plenary Session Public health17-04-2014 - 09:00
Drug test in a laboratory.©BELGA_SCIENCE  

New psychoactive substances, also known as "legal highs", can prove damaging or even lethal. On 17 April MEPs vote on new rules to enable these harmful substances to be quickly withdraw from the EU market. In a separate vote, they decide on more severe punishments for criminals who breach the ban on severe risk substances, including prison sentences of up to ten years. Read on for the lowdown on "legal highs". (Read more: "Legal highs": the ins and outs of tackling uppers and downers)