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A cow is prepared to be hooked up to an automatic milker at an GAEC farm near Bains-sur-Oust in Brittany, western France, on March 26, 2015. ©BELGA_AFP  

The amount of milk produced in the EU will for the first time in three decades be determined by market forces only after European milk quotas ended on 1 April. The quotas were introduced in 1984 when production outstripped demand with the aim of putting an end to Europe's "milk lakes and butter mountains". It is hoped that by scrapping the quotas, Europe's milk producers are able to supply fast-growing markets in Asia and Africa. However, some farmers worry it could lead to price volatility. (Read more: End of milk quotas: "Chance to build a more confident and robust dairy sector" )

 

March guest photographer contest topic: women and girls

Others Institutions01-04-2015 - 11:16
March Guest photographer laureate for the topic "women and girls" is "Primavera" (Spring) by the photographer Enzo Crispino ©Enzo Crispino/Primavera/www.enzocrispino.com  

Take part in our new guest photographer contest, inspired by 2015 being the European Year for Development. Every month until September we will be announcing a different topic linked to development. Send us your photo inspired by the theme of that month, along with the submission form and you could be invited to Strasbourg to make a photo reportage. (Read more: March guest photographer contest topic: women and girls )

 

Around 2,500 redundant workers of the former French road haulage company Mory-Ducros, which closed in 2014, should get EU aid worth €6 million to help them back into work, said Budgets Committee MEPs in a vote on Wednesday. The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund aid still needs to be approved by Parliament as a whole and the Council of Ministers. (Read more: EU job-search aid for redundant workers at French trucking firm Mory-Ducros )

 

Climate change: the challenge of finding the funds needed

Others Environment31-03-2015 - 15:14
Symbolic photo of the euro symble made with flowers © BELGA_Agefotostock_C.Ohde  

Most people would agree that climate change needs to be tackled, but it is less clear where the money needed to do this should come from. MEPs discussed the issue with their national counterparts on Monday 30 March during a hearing on the climate conference that is due to take place in Paris in December this year. National MPs agreed that their work starts now to ensure their governments prepare for the Paris conference. (Read more: Climate change: the challenge of finding the funds needed )

 

Economic affairs MEPs target conflicts of interest in benchmark setting

ECON Economic and monetary affairs31-03-2015 - 12:10

A draft EU law to make the benchmarks used to price EU citizens’ mortgages, loans and bonds more trustworthy was backed by the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee on Tuesday. The text (lead MEP Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, ALDE, NL) aims to clean up the benchmark-setting process, by curbing conflicts of interest like those that led to the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) rigging scandals of recent years. (Read more: Economic affairs MEPs target conflicts of interest in benchmark setting )

 

EU restricts the use of plastic bags to protect the environment

Others Environment31-03-2015 - 11:22
 

Up to 200 plastic bags are thrown away every year by the average European, most of them after having been used only once. The tiny particles these bags are made of can enter water or even the food cycle. To reduce these risks, the EU wants to restrict the use of plastic bags. MEPs and the Council have agreed a deal, which the environment committee will put to a vote on 31 March, ahead of the plenary vote in April. Watch the meeting and check out our chart on the use of plastic bags in the EU (Read more: EU restricts the use of plastic bags to protect the environment )

 

Fair trials: MEPs beef up draft EU law on presumption of innocence

LIBE Judicial cooperation31-03-2015 - 10:46
. ©BELGA_DPA  

Draft EU rules to ensure that the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty is fully respected in member states were approved by the Civil Liberties Committee on Tuesday. MEPs inserted amendments to prevent statements by public authorities that might suggest a suspect is guilty before a final conviction, ensure that the burden of proof stays with the prosecution and guarantee the rights to remain silent, not to incriminate oneself and to be present at trial. (Read more: Fair trials: MEPs beef up draft EU law on presumption of innocence )

 

EU-US trade deal: 15 EP committees have their say

Others External/international trade30-03-2015 - 17:13
Flags of The United States and EU on banknotes  

The European Parliament is working on its position on the EU-US trade deal known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The international trade committee is responsible for drafting the Parliament's recommendations; however 14 other EP committees will contribute with their opinions. MEPs are due to debate and vote on the EP's position before summer. (Read more: EU-US trade deal: 15 EP committees have their say )

 

Benchmarks: restoring confidence in the financial markets

Others Economic and monetary affairs30-03-2015 - 16:15
House mortgage concept image © BELGA_EASYFOTOSTOCK  

Benchmarks are widely used to track market developments, however financial scandals involving benchmarks such as Libor and Eurobibor have shown that they are susceptible to manipulation. The EP's economic committee votes on 31 March on new rules to ensure the full transparency of all benchmarks used in the EU. Dutch Alde member Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, who wrote the report with recommendations, said: “It is a major step forward in ensuring the future robustness and accuracy of benchmarks.” (Read more: Benchmarks: restoring confidence in the financial markets )

 

EU counter-terrorism coordinator: “Jail is a major incubator of radicalisation”

Others Justice and home affairs30-03-2015 - 11:42
Gilles de Kerchove  

With the threat of terrorism growing every day, the task of Gilles de Kerchove, the EU’s counter-terrorism coordinator, becomes increasingly more important. It’s his job to coordinate the Council's work in combating terrorism, keep an eye on all the instruments available to the EU and make policy recommendations. We talked to him about how terrorism should be fought and the role the European Parliament could play. (Read more: EU counter-terrorism coordinator: “Jail is a major incubator of radicalisation” )