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Pope Francis to be awarded Charlemagne Prize on 6 May

Others Future of Europe/European integration / Institutions02-05-2016 - 14:37

The award ceremony will take place at the Vatican on 6 May at 12:00. It will be introduced by “laudatio” speeches by European Parliament President Martin Schulz, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Council President Donald Tusk. On the previous day, the three EU Presidents will take part in a panel debate about the state of the EU, preceded by an address by Italian PM Matteo Renzi. (Read more: Pope Francis to be awarded Charlemagne Prize on 6 May )

 
 

An upgrade of the EU lobbyist register is in the works after the European Commission launched a public consultation on switching from voluntary to mandatory registration for anyone interested in speaking to EU institutions to influence their work. EP Vice-President Sylvie Guillaume holds a debate with experts together with Commission’s First Vice-President Frans Timmermans on 2 May at 15.00 CET in Parliament’s premises in Brussels. Follow it online and watch our video to learn more. (Read more: Lobbying: Parliament hosts conference on mandatory EU transparency register )

 
Parliament building in Brussels  

Plans to set up a mandatory EU lobbying register are discussed by MEPs and stakeholders on Monday. The next day Parliament President Martin Schulz is in Aachen to award the 2016 European Charlemagne Youth Prize and on Sunday the Parliament opens its doors to the general public in Strasbourg to celebrate Europe Day. Meanwhile political groups prepare for next week's plenary session in Strasbourg. (Read more: In Parliament this week: Charlemagne Youth Prize, open day, transparency )

 

Dialling it down: one step closer to abolition of roaming charges

Others Free movement of services29-04-2016 - 08:30
 

From tomorrow, surcharges for phone calls and data usage when you’re in another EU country are capped even further, while from 15 June 2017 using your mobile phone abroad should cost the same as doing so at home. As of tomorrow non-discriminatory net neutrality rules also enter into force. Read on for more details. (Read more: Dialling it down: one step closer to abolition of roaming charges )

 

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 )