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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Draft rules to ensure that harmful psychoactive substances, known as "legal highs", are withdrawn rapidly from the EU market were approved by Parliament on Thursday.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)

 
 

New Fisheries Fund, signed and sealed, concludes EU fisheries policy reform

Plenary Session Fisheries16-04-2014 - 18:36
Fishermen pull out their nets from water aboard the fishing boat "Kanedevenn" as they fish sardines on September 24, 2013 in Quiberon, western France.  

Operating rules for European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) aid to help fishermen to comply with new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) requirements were endorsed by Parliament on Wednesday. EMFF aid will help fishermen to observe the discard ban, e.g. by buying more selective fishing gear, but will also be used to improve safety and working conditions, data collection and port infrastructure. All this will help to make EU fisheries more sustainable. (Read more: New Fisheries Fund, signed and sealed, concludes EU fisheries policy reform)

 
 

EU aid for disaster-stricken countries to arrive faster, with less red tape

Plenary Session Regional policy16-04-2014 - 18:30
L'Aquila, Italy - The fifth anniversary of the L'Aquila earthquake will be marked on 06 April 2014  

EU aid to EU and EU candidate countries hit by flooding or other natural disasters should be delivered faster and more efficiently thanks to EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) rule changes approved on Wednesday. These changes, already agreed with EU ministers, include extending the deadline for applying for natural disaster aid from 10 to 12 weeks, paying 10% of the aid in advance, and simplifying aid approval criteria for smaller, “regional”, disasters. (Read more: EU aid for disaster-stricken countries to arrive faster, with less red tape )

 
 

MEPs refer new rules on re-registering cars back to committee

Plenary Session Transport16-04-2014 - 15:33

Draft rules to simplify re-registering of car or motorbike when the owner moves to a new EU country were referred back to the Internal Market Committee on Wednesday for further discussion, because the Council of Ministers was not yet ready to close a deal on them. (Read more: MEPs refer new rules on re-registering cars back to committee )

 
 

Never again? Debate to mark WW1 centenary

Plenary Session Institutions16-04-2014 - 14:55
From L to R_Martin Schulz EP President, Evangelos Venizelos European Coucil representative, José Manuel Barroso EC President, Joseph Daul EPP, Hannes Swoboda S&D, Guy Verhofstadt ALDE, Daniel Cohn-Bendit VERTs, Martin Callanan ECR, Gabriele Zimmer GUE/NGL, Nigel Farage EFD  

One century ago Europe was on the brink of one of history's deadliest conflicts that would change our world forever. MEPs commemorated the centenary of the Great War during a debate on 16 April, warning that peace and stability should never be taken for granted. They also called for more integration and stressed the importance of fighting nationalism to ensure peace, stability and security in Europe. (Read more: Never again? Debate to mark WW1 centenary )

 
 

The share of EU member states’ budget contributions that is based on gross national income (GNI) should be cut from 64% to 40% of total EU revenue and replaced by real “own resources”, says Parliament in three resolutions voted on Wednesday. Value-added tax based revenue, which today provides 11% of the EU budget, also needs drastic reform, it adds. (Read more: EU “own resources” should cut member states’ contributions to EU budget)