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The EU police agency Europol will soon be able to step up efforts to fight terrorism, cybercrime and other criminal offences and respond faster, thanks to new governance rules endorsed by Civil Liberties Committee MEPs on Thursday. The new powers come with strong data protection safeguards and democratic oversight. (Read more: Europol: MEPs endorse new powers to step up EU police counter-terrorism drive )

 

Recognizing rights of domestic workers and carers in the EU

Plenary Session Women's rights/Equal opportunities28-04-2016 - 14:05
A nurse giving food to a senior man ©AP Images/ European Union-EP  

Domestic workers and carers, most of whom are migrant women, should be given an official status in the EU. Recognizing their work as "real" jobs would discourage exploitation, forced labour and human trafficking, say MEPs in a resolution voted on Thursday. MEPs recommend establishing easy-to-manage models for legal employer-worker relationships, citing examples in Belgium and France, to end precariousness and undeclared domestic work. (Read more: Recognizing rights of domestic workers and carers in the EU )

 

EU budget management: Commission spending for 2014 approved

Plenary Session Budgetary control28-04-2016 - 13:31

The European Commission managed its 2014 EU budget funds according to the rules, so Parliament granted it a “discharge” approval for that year, in a resolution voted on Thursday. Parliament’s own management of EU funds in 2014 was also approved. However, Parliament postponed approving spending by three joint private sector-EU partnerships in technology field, the Council of Ministers and the European Council. (Read more: EU budget management: Commission spending for 2014 approved )

 

Kids’ best interests must come first in cross-border custody cases, urge MEPs

Plenary Session Citizens' rights / Justice and home affairs28-04-2016 - 12:47
Upset child sitting on staircase ©AP Images/ European Union-EP  

It is children who pay the price when EU member states fail to cooperate and protect children’s best interests in legal proceedings such as cross-border parental custody disputes and adoption decisions, Parliament points out in a non-binding resolution voted on Thursday. MEPs want specialised chambers within EU countries' family courts to ensure that transnational cases are processed faster. (Read more: Kids’ best interests must come first in cross-border custody cases, urge MEPs )

 

Interest rates: final vote to ensure robust and transparent benchmark setting

Plenary Session Economic and monetary affairs28-04-2016 - 12:03

Benchmark interest rates that are critical to financial market stability across Europe, such as the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) and the Euro Interbank Offered Rate (EURIBOR), will become more reliable thanks to a new law voted in by Parliament on Thursday. This law aims to clean up the benchmark-setting process, improve transparency, and prevent conflicts of interest like those that led to the LIBOR rigging scandals of recent years. (Read more: Interest rates: final vote to ensure robust and transparent benchmark setting )

 

Rules designed to reduce the technical obstacles that differing national standards and procedures create for rail operators and rolling stock manufacturers were approved by the European Parliament on Thursday. The rules agreed by Parliament and Council negotiators on the “technical pillar” of the 4th railway package will cut time and cost of certifying that operators, locomotives and carriages meet safety and technical standards. (Read more: Eliminating technical and administrative obstacles to boost European railways )

 

No blank cheque for Turkey, say MEPs in debate on EU-Turkey deal

Plenary Session Future of Europe/European integration / External relations28-04-2016 - 10:52
Camp in Turkey.jpg  

The implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement on migration, its legal aspects and democratic control were debated by MEPs, First Vice-President of the Commission Frans Timmermans and Dutch Minister for Immigration Klaas Dijkhoff on Thursday morning. MEPs stressed that there must be no bargaining on visa liberalisation criteria. (Read more: No blank cheque for Turkey, say MEPs in debate on EU-Turkey deal )

 

Debate: MEPs discuss EU-Turkey agreement on migration

Plenary Session Future of Europe/European integration / External relations28-04-2016 - 08:24
 

MEPs debated on Thursday 28 April the agreement to return migrants and asylum seekers from Greece to Turkey, which Turkey and EU countries agreed on 18 March. The debate focussed on the deal's legal aspects, implementation and democratic control. Starting 8.30 CET, this page will cover the debate and be regularly updated. (Read more: Debate: MEPs discuss EU-Turkey agreement on migration )

 

Right on track: three things you should know about new railway rules

Plenary Session Transport27-04-2016 - 17:32
 

Measures to improve railway operations in the EU, including boosting the interoperability of national networks and increasing the role of the European Railway Agency, are debated and voted on by MEPs on Thursday 28 April. These changes should pave the way for further measures later year, readying national networks for the eventual liberalisation of services, more competition for public contracts and greater restrictions on subsidies. Read on for more details. (Read more: Right on track: three things you should know about new railway rules )

 

Opening: remembering Chernobyl

Plenary Session Institutions27-04-2016 - 17:02
Opening  

President Schulz opened the session by recalling the victims and heroes of Chernobyl nuclear disaster, 30 years ago in what was then the Ukrainian Soviet Republic. The explosion and meltdown of reactor core 4 ejected a vast radioactive cloud that contaminated large parts of Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and central Europe as far as the North Cape. This disaster reminds us of Europe’s duty to ensure that its nuclear reactors are safe, he said. (Read more: Opening: remembering Chernobyl )