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Press releases


Minorities in Iraq and Syria: on the brink of destruction

Others Human rights / External relations31-05-2016 - 13:32
(L-R) Sundus Abbas (Iraqi Turkmen representative), Sam Andrews (Arab Human Rights Academy) and Archimandrite Emanuel Youkhana (leader of the Assyrian Christians).  

Since taking over vast swaths of Iraq and Syria ISIS has carried out a campaign of violence and subjugation against Christians, Yazidis and other religious minorities. As mass killings and desperate attempts to flee put several of these groups at risk of extinction, the human rights subcommittee held a hearing on 30 May to shed light on the plight of those caught up in the unrest. Minority representatives from the region shared their first-hand observations with us. (Read more: Minorities in Iraq and Syria: on the brink of destruction )


Benifei: "Integration refugees needed but not at expense of vulnerable groups"

Others Social policy / Employment policy31-05-2016 - 11:26

Finding employment is a crucial step for refugees to integrate in society become economically independent. However, with high levels of unemployment in the EU, some people are concerned about increased competition on the labour market. The employment committee adopted on Monday 30 May a report proposing concrete measure to tackle these challenges. We interviewed report author Brando Benifei, an Italian member of the S&D group, before the vote. (Read more: Benifei: "Integration refugees needed but not at expense of vulnerable groups" )


The European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS), which EU countries use to exchange information on the criminal convictions of EU citizens, should be extended to include non-EU nationals, Civil Liberties Committee MEPs said on Monday. MEPs also want the system to be used to check the criminal records of people seeking to work with children. (Read more: Fighting terrorism: share criminal records of non-EU nationals, too, urge MEPs )


The Commission's proposal for a standard EU travel document, to speed up the process of returning non-EU nationals who stay "irregularly" in EU member states without valid passports or identity cards, was endorsed by Civil Liberties Committee MEPs on Monday. Members highlight that many EU countries are currently facing serious difficulties in returning these residents to their home countries in a safe and lawful way. (Read more: MEPs back new EU travel document to ease return of irregular non-EU residents )

Sea border radar control ©European Union 2014-Frontex  

Plans to set up an integrated EU border management system, with a flagship European Border and Coast Guard agency, bringing together Frontex and national border management authorities, were backed by the Civil Liberties Committee on Monday. They would enable extra border guard teams to be rapidly deployed to EU countries whose external borders are under pressure. National authorities would still manage their borders on a day-to-day basis, but could seek help from the new agency in a crisis. (Read more: Civil Liberties Committee backs new European Border and Coast Guard )

Parliament building in Brussels  

Plans to set up an EU Border and Coast Guard are to be put to a vote in Parliament's civil liberties committee this week. MEPs also vote on proposals to introduce a standard European travel document for non-EU nationals and to expand the exchange of criminal records between member states. At a hearing in the human rights subcommittee members discuss the plight of minority groups caught up in Syria's civil war and in ISIS atrocities. Preparations also take place for next week's plenary session. (Read more: In Parliament this week: European border guard, plight of Middle East minorities )


Open day: visit the European Parliament in Brussels on Saturday

Others Institutions27-05-2016 - 09:10
Open Day 2016 at the European Parliament  

Always have been curious about the European Parliament? This Saturday you have the chance to visit it during the open day of the European institutions in Brussels. You have the opportunity to take part in competitions, debates and cultural activities as well as find out how the institution that represents you operates. (Read more: Open day: visit the European Parliament in Brussels on Saturday )


Breaking down barriers: giving consumers equal access to online products

Plenary Session Free movement of services26-05-2016 - 16:56
goldfish in e-commerce cart concept ©AP Images/ European Union-EP  

The internet is meant to give you unlimited access to knowledge, yet when you are shopping online, you could be prevented from purchasing a product or service because of where you live. The European Commission has proposed new rules to make an end to the unjustified use of the practice known as geo-blocking as well as ways to create a genuine digital single market in Europe. MEPs debated the plans in plenary on 25 May. (Read more: Breaking down barriers: giving consumers equal access to online products )


Safer medical devices: MEPs strike deal with Council

ENVI Public health26-05-2016 - 15:48

Plans for stricter monitoring and certification procedures to ensure that medical devices such as breast or hip implants comply fully with safety and traceability requirements were informally agreed by MEPs and the Dutch Presidency of the Council on Wednesday. MEPs also secured tighter information and ethical requirements for diagnostic medical devices, e.g. those used for pregnancy or DNA testing. (Read more: Safer medical devices: MEPs strike deal with Council )


Boost consumer power in the energy market, urge MEPs

Plenary Session Energy26-05-2016 - 12:42
©AP Images/ European Union-EP  

Consumers should be given more power in the energy market, say MEPs in a resolution on a "new energy deal for energy consumers", voted on Thursday. They recommend collective buying, household power generation, better price comparison tools for all and making it easier to switch energy providers and tariffs. In a non-binding text, intended as an input to Energy Union legislation to be tabled by the EU Commission, MEPs also call for EU funds for energy efficiency to focus on energy poverty. (Read more: Boost consumer power in the energy market, urge MEPs )