Holding elections in Mali in July "is going to be difficult", given the large number of displaced people and the adverse climate conditions, but "we have to organise what has become a fragmented society", UN special envoy for the Sahel Romano Prodi told Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs on Monday. He stressed that the French military intervention was "inevitable" but has not solved future non-military dilemmas.
Reimposing visa requirements on nationals of third countries that fail to remove them for EU citizens would be made easier by visa reciprocity rule changes voted in the Civil Liberties Committee on Monday. The EU could also temporarily suspend its visa-free travel rules to halt "substantial and sudden increases" in irregular migrant numbers or unfounded asylum applications, but only as a last resort, MEPs added. But these changes have first to be agreed with EU member states.
Projets common to both sides of the Mediterranean in the fields of infrastructure, education and training and female entrepreneurship need renewed financial support and strong parliaments, said the presidents of Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) parliaments meeting in Marseille on Sunday. They called for efforts to combat "all forms of exclusion, sexism, racism, xenophobia and radicalism" and to "eradicate terrorism".
The Commission proposal to settle only part of the EU's €16.2 billion debt rolled over from 2012 threatens the EU with insolvency later in 2013, said Budgets Committee chair Alain Lamassoure (EPP, FR) on Wednesday. The Commission, Parliament and Council agreed last year to settle all bills left over from 2012.
EU visa applications should be further facilitated to help the EU tourism industry to drive growth and create jobs, said Transport and Tourism Committee MEPs in a discussion with European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani on Wednesday. Tourism accounts for 10% of GDP and 12% of total employment in the EU.
Plans to clean up the scrapping of old ships and ensure the materials are recycled in EU-approved facilities worldwide were revised by the Environment Committee on Tuesday. MEPs propose that the scheme be funded by a recycling levy, in line with the "polluter pays" principle. Owners of EU ships would also face penalties if they sold them for scrapping on a beach in developing countries.
MEP Sharon Bowles, Chair of the European Parliament's economic and monetary affairs committee welcomes the agreement on Cyprus, particularly the recognition that banks can fail and that the deposit guarantee principle must be upheld.
Safeguarding public pensions to ensure decent living standards for all in old age must remain a priority, MEPs stress in a resolution adopted on Thursday. They also call for the development of supplementary pension schemes and longer working lives to ensure the sustainability of pensions threatened by demographic ageing and strained public finances.
Investment fund managers' bonuses must be capped, their salaries must be linked to their funds' performance said Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee MEPs in a draft law voted on Thursday. Individual investors' money must also be better protected, they added.
Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem took responsibility for the rejected Cypriot bailout plan, adding that it was a "joint decision" in the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee on Thursday. He also told MEPs he doubted that there really was a possible 'Plan B'. MEPs were severely critical of the way in which events had panned out over the weekend, with most insisting that that it was preposterous to tax small savers and that mistakes had been made on all fronts.