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A draft EU law to make the benchmark used to price EU citizens’ mortgages, loans and bonds more trustworthy was backed by the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee on Tuesday. It 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 )

 

Up to 200 plastic bags are thrown away every year by the average European, most of them after having been used only onve. 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 )

 

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 )

 

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 )

 
Press releases (second part)
 

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 )

 

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” )

 

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and EU Counter-terrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove visit Parliament this week to discuss security challenges and the EU's response to terrorist threats. In addition MEPs vote on legislation to increase transparency when setting key interest rates, while the new special committee on tax rulings will debate how to fight against tax evasion and tax havens. (Read more: EP this week: tax evasion, Libor scandal, Nato and counter-terrorism )

 

EU countries switch to summer time every year, as they will do this Sunday., but what are the benefits and are there any drawbacks? These and other questions were discussed by MEPs and experts on 24 March. “We need to move forward with this legislation and giving an oral question to the European Commission could be one of the ways to accelerate the whole thing,” said Czech EPP member Pavel Svoboda, chair of the legal affairs committee, summing up the discussion. (Read more: Summer time: all you need to know to make your life easier )

 

“When I look ahead to the future of Congo, I can’t picture it without these women activists, who have suffered atrocities,” said Dr Denis Mukwege during a visit to Parliament on 26 March. The 2014 Sakharov Prize Winner, who treats victims of sexual violence in DR Congo, discussed his country's future as well as violence against women with the human rights subcommittee. He also called for Congolese unity: “Whenever there is evil in society, that society must mobilise to fight it.” (Read more: Mukwege: “Whenever there is evil, society must mobilise to fight it” )

 

Ukraine will benefit from €1.8 billion worth of financial assistance after MEPs approved it during plenary on 25 March. Although this constitutes the EU's largest package ever given to a non-EU country, Ukraine's troubles are far from over. We spoke to Lithuanian EPP member Gabrielius Landsbergis, who wrote the resolution on financial assistance as well as a report on EU-Russia relations, about how the money will make a difference to Ukraine and the impact of sanctions against Russia. (Read more: Gabrielius Landsbergis: "Sanctions against Russia are already bearing fruit" )

 
 
Weekly agenda
 
Schedule by day Tuesday 31 Mar 2015
Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality - Parliamentary committees (31-03-2015): 09:00, Brussels, Jòzsef Antall
 
Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs - Parliamentary committees (31-03-2015): 09:00, Brussels, Paul-Henri Spaak
 
Committee on Foreign Affairs - Parliamentary committees (31-03-2015): 09:00, Brussels, Jòzsef Antall
 
Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety - Parliamentary committees (31-03-2015): 09:00, Brussels, Jòzsef Antall
 
Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs - Parliamentary committees (31-03-2015): 09:00, Brussels, Paul-Henri Spaak
 
Committee on Fisheries - Parliamentary committees (31-03-2015): 09:00, Brussels, Altiero Spinelli
 
"Youth and exile" - Press conferences (31-03-2015): 13:00, Brussels, Paul-Henri Spaak
 
Committee on Development - Parliamentary committees (31-03-2015): 15:00, Brussels, Altiero Spinelli
 
 
Schedule by day Wednesday 01 Apr 2015
Committee on Employment and Social Affairs - Parliamentary committees (01-04-2015): 09:00, Brussels, Altiero Spinelli
 
Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs - Parliamentary committees (01-04-2015): 09:00, Brussels, Paul-Henri Spaak
 
Committee on Development - Parliamentary committees (01-04-2015): 09:00, Brussels, Altiero Spinelli
 
Committee on Budgets - Parliamentary committees (01-04-2015): 10:00, Brussels, Jòzsef Antall
 
 
Twitter
 
EU #Counter-Terrorism Coordinator Gilles de #Kerchove.will debate with @EP_ForeignAff MEPs at 17:00: http://t.co/w3G9Sio9cv
#EP Committees meet today from 15:00.Follow LIVE at: http://t.co/0sKdEiZ8DG & on #Twitterlist: http://t.co/CmG8WyXvZa http://t.co/QzYMgT2cYU
.@EP_ForeignAff Committee debate with #NATO Secretary General @jensstoltenberg today at 16:00: http://t.co/qP3YTd2dA2
.@EP_ForeignAff @EP_Defence debate w/ EU #Counter-Terrorism Coordinator Gilles de #Kerchove now. Follow live at http://t.co/fHvAsWeDgJ
Watch @jensstoltenberg replying to questions of MEPs now live at http://t.co/jDAfhk4L8D or http://t.co/JY72TTlxFx
.@EP_Defence chair Anna #Fotyga to @NATO @jensstoltenberg: how would you attract trustees to contribute to #Ukraine trust fund?
RT @europarlAV: 2014 #SakharovPrize winner @DenisMukwege & @ElenaValenciano: Download unedited VIDEO of the entire press point: http://t.co…
#Democracy and values are problematic in #DRC, says @DenisMukwege in today's debate @EP_HumanRights Press release: http://t.co/iXlFgwtMFT
RT @europarlAV: Exchange of views w/ @DenisMukwege, 2014 #SakharovPrize winner, & @EP_HumanRights VIDEO http://t.co/i1CA7QJtT6
.@EP_ForeignAff @EP_Defence debate w/ EU #Counter-Terrorism Coordinator Gilles de #Kerchove now. Follow live at http://t.co/eHAZQDfg86
Watch @jensstoltenberg replying to questions of MEPs now live at http://t.co/jwWEOCvjxo or http://t.co/V05uDufnNL
.@EP_ForeignAff debates w/ #NATO Secretary General @jensstoltenberg in 5mins:follow live at http://t.co/Z5jLAbbScu or http://t.co/Q2aLNm1Dwc
#eyd2015 April theme is #health - #EP briefing available online http://t.co/jdBouiD3k4
1 Apr: #Development & #Migration,Official Dev. Assistance,#EU-#Africa,#taxavoidance in #developingcountries Agenda: http://t.co/av98qnkxR4
#ukraine vote result http://t.co/EbTRoFG0r1
#EPlenary debate on MFA ro #Ukraine will start around 18.15, vote after 7pm @GLandsbergis @VDombrovskis live link http://t.co/9EiZF1MKEb
EU loan of 1.8bn for #Ukraine: press conf by @GLandsbergis (EPP, LT) 2pm - also on #EbS @EC_AVService http://t.co/HyuZwISqeU
01/04 @EP_Budgets: vote on #MFF modification, French #EGF application; debate on 1st #EUBudget 2016 trilogue. Agenda: http://t.co/BxXJQKEIvR
Discussion of planned changes to @EU_Commission proposal on #EFSI in @EP_Budgets @EP_Economics now, live: http://t.co/HJxHYdJ8L7
#EPlenary has approved #EGF aid worth €11.3 to #Ireland #Greece to help 2,000 laid off workers. Read more here: http://t.co/DnjXuL7hV9
Discussion with @KGeorgievaEU on adopted #discharge of @EU_Commission starts now, until 16. Live: http://t.co/AGFI7AXloB Rapp @inge_graessle
2013 spending of @EU_Commission and #EP are approved by @EP_BudgControl in #discharge procedure. Read more here: http://t.co/PFKIrISOoS
Vote on #discharge 2013 to @EU_Commission #EP starts now. Docs, agenda: http://t.co/sIF8ntnFot Live: http://t.co/xM5yPC1BNW
.@pierremoscovici in joint @EP_Economics and #TAXE meeting: "Profits should be taxed where value is created": http://t.co/KPU3CFY1Qi
Next week in Special #Tax #Rulings Committee/@EP_Economics: debates @pierremoscovici (30/3) and OECD reps. (31/3). 31/3 also vote benchmarks
Tax competition should be fair and transparent, says EP in vote on annual tax report by @EvaKaili. Press released http://t.co/jHLcpauYuN
.@EPSocialAffairs meeting tomorrow, Tuesday 24 March - agenda http://t.co/vdxsTRoCtY
.@EPSocialAffairs next meeting tomorrow, Tuesday 24 March from 9.00 in JAN 4Q1 follow EP Live http://t.co/TTzJYtv40L
.@EPSocialAffairs Parliament adopted a report by @Sergio_GP on employment and social indicators in #AGS2015 Read more http://t.co/7H2aiFFEYh
Cttee meeting tmw 10h. Votes 15h on #plasticbags, #EU #alcohol strategy. Exch. of views w. @jyrkikatainen 16.30. Docs http://t.co/FWu6Wkb6s9
1/2 From @COP21 #Paris to 2050 15h debate w. national MPs, @MAC_europa @KarmenuVella Docs http://t.co/lWMUYAhk0B http://t.co/bWQlVoJtyu
Conference tomorrow: impact of EU research on development in Southern & Eastern neighbourhood. Program: http://t.co/L1THfWVHzK #H2020 #ENP
Public hearing on #summertime starts now! Watch live: http://t.co/bqDR2KV5B4 @EP_Industry @EP_Transport @EP_Legal
.@EP_Industry in 5 min: debate on energy policy and #climate w/ @MAC_europa: http://t.co/QtZtFYehgi
RT @EU_Competition: In 2014, 1 EU consumer in 2 shopped online but only 1 in 7 bought from across a border. Why? http://t.co/fuia9azIZ1 ht…
RT @vickyford: My speech on Digital Single Market & building competitiveness, jobs & growth. In Riga with very forward looking... http://t…
RT @vickyford: Speaking in Riga on how we make the single market more effective #SingleMarketForum http://t.co/HHu65cc1Ei
Now @EP_Transport: debate on employment conditions in aviation, webstreaming http://t.co/R7GLpXmF7E
Video of the debate on minimum wage and road transport in EP plenary yesterday http://t.co/QDNmipBGAQ short summary: http://t.co/dxtaHzalRS
RT @MepMCramer: I'm deeply saddened by the tragic news & wish to express my most sincere condolences to the families and friends of all vic…
Missed the #REGI Committee debate on #EFSI yesterday? Have a look on our #pressrelease and useful links http://t.co/E5PjB0Mupd
#REGI meeting with guests @jyrkikatainen and @EIBtheEUbank VP #Molterer starting soon: http://t.co/ZlAS4Hu3yI #CohesionPolicy #EFSI
.@Expo2015Milano: #EU must do more in terms of global #foodsecurity, MEPs say. Read more: http://t.co/SpGj9254ak @EUexpo2015
New EU #ForestStrategy: Sustainable management of #forests could boost employment, MEPs say. Read more: http://t.co/4FTpuEeDrR
Debate on prospects for EU #dairy sector after end of #milk quotas w/ rapporteur @JNicholsonMEP live now here: http://t.co/io6m7fZtFe
#Fisheries ctte today: Debates on #Madagascar, #CapeVerde & #Guinee_Bissau FPAs http://t.co/2eSJ4sN9z5 Highlights: http://t.co/uzQY340sGD
Highlights of next #Fisheries meeting: Vote on #BalticMAP, debates on #Madagascar, #CapeVerde & #Guinee_Bissau FPAs http://t.co/uzQY340sGD
New study: small-scale #Fisheries and the zero discard target http://t.co/SlMzQ1hks9 #discards #CFPreality http://t.co/rDN3W15hMz
#EP Study on Religious fundamentalism and radicalisation http://t.co/oNaYVTfZnD
RT @EP_ThinkTank: EU institutions and inter- #religiousdialogue: a solid legal basis fr more structured meetings http://t.co/h1F64kiT2V @EP…
Hearing “Towards a high degree of accountability, transparency and integrity in the EU Institutions” on Thu 26/03: http://t.co/HOA3ctZ8gN
Public hearing on #summertime starts now! Watch live: http://t.co/ZkQgzFRQUq @EP_Industry @EP_Transport @EP_Legal
.@europarltv video with @ClaudeMoraesMEP and @LauraFerraraM5S on #fundamentalrights in the EU: the gaps to close http://t.co/VgHzuDRQKF
#Fundamentalrights: tomorrow after 9am @LauraFerraraM5S presents draft report @EP_Justice http://t.co/2iwFnG2ecc Live http://t.co/qNUyFSSjV1
.@TimmermansEU: #fundamentalrights are not an afterthought of the single market, they are the essence of the European Union.
RT @ronpatz: Stream working again: http://t.co/k0cAr4uLD9 #EUintegrity
At 10.35 MEPs debate #integrity with @ @EUombudsman, Daniel Guegen & Raj Chari @danutahuebner @EPInstitutional live: http://t.co/uk0EJGm54d
#femalepoverty, #equality between #women and men post 2015 and more…@EP_GenderEqual. Live: http://t.co/9DmiAnBUG4
Main causes of #femalepoverty workshop @EP_GenderEqual today at 15h. Live: http://t.co/9DmiAnBUG4
EU strategy for #equality between #women and men post 2015 on the @EP_GenderEqual agenda: Report here: http://t.co/kjtneKojRx
As of 2012, EU citizens have a new tool to participate in shaping EU policy: European Citizens' Initiative #ECI: http://t.co/elJOnBbM10
Who are the @EP_Petitions members? Take a look: http://t.co/Pc8KkDAZzM
RT @EU_EESC: #ECIday2015 is on 13 April, participate in our event & make your voice heard! Register here: http://t.co/8p8Y6Fm9aA http://t.c…
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