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Mass surveillance: EU citizens' rights still in danger, MEPs say

LIBE Fundamental rights13-10-2015 - 19:39

Too little has been done to ensure that citizens' rights are protected following revelations of electronic mass surveillance, say civil liberties MEPs in a resolution passed on Tuesday. They urge the Commission to come up immediately with alternatives to Safe Harbour, following the ruling by the European Court of Justice. They are also concerned about the surveillance laws in several EU countries. (Read more: Mass surveillance: EU citizens' rights still in danger, MEPs say )


The EU Commission proposal to make it mandatory for EU member states to exchange information on their tax rulings received only a lukewarm welcome in Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee on Tuesday. However, the report by Markus Ferber (EPP, DE), voicing dismay at the directive’s limited scope and late entry into force, has already been overtaken by last week's ECOFIN Council deal, which watered down the Commission proposal even further. (Read more: Mandatory exchange of tax rulings proposal: a "missed opportunity” say MEPs )


Digital single market needs consumers' trust, say MEPs

IMCO ITRE Industry / Free movement of goods / Free movement of services13-10-2015 - 17:52

Building consumers trust in online goods and services, improving infrastructure and promoting innovation are keys to unlocking the potential of the EU digital single market, which could generate €415 billion each year, Internal market and Industry MEPs said during a debate on Tuesday. Several MEPs also underlined the need to ensure net neutrality and avoid unnecessary red tape. (Read more: Digital single market needs consumers' trust, say MEPs )


Eight things you should know about GMOs

Others Food safety13-10-2015 - 13:48
A macro of a soya seed ©AP Images/ European Union-EP  

The use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) remains controversial, which is why the EU has very strict rules and complex authorisation procedures concerning their cultivation and commercialisation. Since April 2015, EU countries are able to ban the cultivation of GMOs on their territory, but should they have the same power regarding their commercialisation? Parliament's environment committee has rejected plans for this, fearing it could lead to problems. Read on for all the facts. (Read more: Eight things you should know about GMOs )


Organic farmers, processors, traders and importers must meet higher but realistic sustainability criteria and undergo strict food fraud checks to boost trust in the EU organic label, said agriculture MEPs on Tuesday. They introduced measures to avoid contamination of organic food, including on mixed organic and conventional farms, and endorsed plans to help small farmers turn organic. (Read more: Organic food: boosting EU production and enhancing consumer trust )


The budgets committee on Tuesday demanded more funds to handle the migration and refugee crisis, help young people into jobs, and fully offset the cuts to the EU's research and transport networks programs, in a political resolution on the 2016 budget. The committee had earlier reversed all the Council's cuts to the Commission's initial proposal. (Read more: Budgets MEPs want more money for migration and jobs in 2016 )


Environment MEPs oppose national GMO import bans proposal

ENVI Food safety13-10-2015 - 10:33

A draft EU law that would enable any member state to restrict or prohibit the sale and use of EU-approved GMO food or feed on its territory was opposed by Environment Committee MEPs on Tuesday. Members are concerned that the proposal might prove unworkable and lead to the reintroduction of border controls between pro and anti-GMO countries. The recommendation will be put to a vote by Parliament as a whole at the 26-29 October plenary session in Strasbourg. (Read more: Environment MEPs oppose national GMO import bans proposal )

infographic illustration  

Only two months left before world leaders gather in Paris to hammer out a global agreement to fight climate change. Parliament will send a delegation of 15 MEPs to the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in December to help obtain a successful result. MEPs debate and vote on Parliament's position on Wednesday. Follow it live on our website and find out more about the stakes involved in our infographics. (Read more: COP21: the road leading to the vital climate change conference in Paris )

A mother carries her 8 months old son towards the village of Sikaminea in Lesbos after arriving on the shores of the island in an inflatable boat from Turkey. © UNHCR/Achilleas Zavallis  

Budget MEPs on Monday endorsed the Commission's proposal for new funds of €330.7 million and a redeployment of €70.6 million in commitment appropriations to cope with the refugee crisis. At the same time, the committee said a long-term solution to finance migration measures must be found when the EU's multiannual budget is reviewed in 2016. (Read more: Budget MEPs approve extra €401.3 million for migration in 2015 budget )


EP this week: migration, GMOs, organic food, climate change

Others Institutions12-10-2015 - 13:40
Parliament building in Brussels  

MEPs vote this week on Parliament's position regarding December's climate change conference in Paris as well as on measures to tackle the refugee crisis during the plenary session on Wednesday. In addition the agriculture committee votes on a plan to improve the reliability of EU labels on organic food, while the three finalists of this year's Sakharov Prize will also be presented this week. Also EP President Martin Schulz will address the European Council on Thursday. (Read more: EP this week: migration, GMOs, organic food, climate change )