Large extractive companies dealing with oil, gas and minerals will be obliged to disclose full details of their payments to national governments for every project that they operate, under a deal between Parliament and Council negotiators backed on Thursday by the legal affairs committee. The aim is to make companies dealing with strategic resources and national governments more accountable.
The EU's external borders and migrants' lives will be better protected thanks to the new "Eurosur" border surveillance system, details of which were agreed by Parliament and Council on Wednesday evening.
Measures to stop overfishing and ban discards, Parliament's key common fisheries policy (CFP) reform aims, have been safeguarded in a deal struck by Parliament and Council negotiators on Thursday. The deal should allow a more sustainable common fisheries policy to take effect on time, at the start of 2014.
The citizen's right to move freely within the Schengen area has been strengthened by a deal struck by MEPs, Council and Commission negotiators on Wednesday evening. For the first time, inspection teams will be able to make unannounced visits to internal borders to halt any attempt to impose illegal border checks. Free movement is the most positive outcome of 50 years of EU integration, said 62% of respondents to a recent Eurobarometer survey.
Firms or citizens seeking to recover debts across borders could get an order to freeze the debtor's bank account thanks to a proposed law endorsed by the Legal Affairs Committee on Thursday. The "European Account Preservation Order" (EAPO) should be quicker and cheaper to use than national procedures. Members also amended the proposal to prevent abuse and safeguard alleged debtors.
Revised compensation terms for stranded passengers, as proposed by the Commission, sparked a heated debate between MEPs, airlines and air passenger organisations at Wednesday’s Transport Committee hearing. Rapporteur Georges Bach (EPP, LU) and many other MEPs pointed out the longer delay times before passengers would be entitled to compensation and/or rerouting under the proposal were not acceptable and would be “a step backwards”.
MEPs and MPs from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine hope to achieve a breakthrough in their relations at this November's Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, but not at the expense of democracy, rule of law and peace. At the Third Euronest Parliamentary Assembly in Brussels on 28-29 May, they pledged to press their governments for reforms to this end.
Draft EU rules on clinical trials of new medicines were endorsed by the Public Health Committee on Wednesday. A regulation designed to encourage research whilst protecting patients' rights is to replace an existing directive with simpler, more uniform rules. The new text makes specific provision for low-risk trials, clarifies the duties of ethics committees and details how to obtain informed consent from patients.
Rules on the labelling and content of baby milk and foods for special medical purposes should be better defined in order to protect consumers and distinguish more clearly between foods for normal consumption and foods for specific groups, says a deal struck by Parliament and Council negotiators. The agreement, unanimosly approved by the public health committee on Wednesday, also covers some low-calorie diets.
Serbia's 19 April deal with Kosovo, and the roadmap agreed on 22 May to implement it, were hailed as a remarkable achievement by Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs in a debate with Serbia's Prime Minister Ivica Dačić on Wednesday. Putting the deal into effect swiftly is now crucial, they stressed, reiterating that the Council should set a date at its next meeting for starting EU accession talks with Belgrade, provided Serbia sticks to its reform course.