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Religious minorities in the Middle East are increasingly under threat from jihadist groups such as the so-called Islamic State (IS). To call attention to the situation of Christians and other religious minorities in the region, the human rights subcommittee and the EP's Mashreq delegation held a joint hearing on 26 February. "Death has become something banal," warned guest speaker Nawras Sammour, of the Jesuit Refugee Service in Syria, saying the upsurge in radicalism was worrying Christians. (Read more: Religious minorities at risk in Middle East: "Death has become something banal" )

 

A new draft text on an EU system for the use of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data, tabled by lead MEP Timothy Kirkhope (ECR, UK), was discussed in the civil liberties committee on Thursday morning. (Read more: Changes to planned European Passenger Name Record (PNR) system discussed by MEPs )

 

The EU's emissions trading scheme (ETS) was set up to reduce gas emissions and fight climate change, but it is not working as efficiently as it could. On 24 February MEPs approved draft legislation to tackle the imbalances of supply and demand of emission allowances, which is holding back investment in green technologies. Read on to find out what the reform is all about. (Read more: ETS reform: everything you need to know in a nutshell )

 

They are the ones who make Europe a better place: 47 people and organisations from all over the EU received the European Citizen's Prize at a ceremony in Brussels on 25 February as an award for their contributions to European cooperation and the promotion of common values. This included anything from defending the rights of vulnerable groups in society, to working to improve knowledge of EU law and policies, fighting extremism and promoting tolerance and dialogue. (Read more: European Citizen’s Prize: acknowledging people’s contributions to Europe )

 
Press releases (second part)
 

Some 3,000 workers made redundant in Belgium, Germany and Poland in 2013-2014 should receive EU aid worth €6.3million to help them find jobs, the Budgets Committee recommended on Thursday. The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) aid still has to be approved by Parliament as a whole and the Council of Ministers. (Read more: EU job-search aid for redundant workers in Belgium, Germany and Poland )

 

Development plays a crucial role in improving people's lives around the world, but what is the best way to finance it? On 24 February the EP's development committee held a public hearing on how to mobilise all available means and types of financial resources for sustainable global development and poverty eradication over the next 15 years. The hearing, led by committee chair Linda McAvan, was attended by representatives from UN agencies, companies and civil society. (Read more: Financing development: making every euro count )

 

Next year’s EU budget priorities should be fostering growth by helping employment, enterprises and entrepreneurship, showing solidarity both within the EU and with countries outside it and putting EU finances in order by tackling the overdue payments backlog and reforming the EU revenue system, say Budgets Committee MEPs in a resolution voted on Thursday. (Read more: Growth, solidarity and paying the bills: budget MEPs vote 2016 budget priorities )

 

Parliament’s newly-established Special Committee on Tax Rulings elected Alain Lamassoure (EPP, FR) as its chair at its constituent meeting on Thursday morning. As vice-chairs, the committee elected Bernd Lucke (ECR, DE), Marisa Matias (GUE/NGL, PT) and Eva Joly (Greens/EFA, FR). Rapporteurs will be appointed on 9 March. (Read more: Alain Lamassoure elected chair of Special Committee on Tax Rulings )

 

Debating the activities of the ECB with MEPs, ECB President Mario Draghi pledged to work towards a genuine Economic Union. "Economic convergence has not been as sustainable as it was hoped for at the outset. This still puts at risk the long-term success of the monetary union when faced with an important shock", he said. (Read more: Draghi to Parliament: deeper Monetary Union needed to deal with important shocks )

 

The violations of the Minsk II Ukraine-Russia ceasefire agreement, the deal reached with Greece, a Passenger Name Record (PNR) system to fight terrorism and the worrying situation in Libya were among the issues addressed in a debate with European Council and Commission presidents Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday. (Read more: Ukraine, Greece, terrorism, Libya: highlights of debate with Tusk and Juncker )

 
 
Twitter
 
The Week Ahead (2-8 Mar) includes: #EFSI, #UNRWA, #IWD & more. Full Agenda: http://t.co/weSlucBZxT #EP http://t.co/gKmbycZqBC
Seminar for journalists: 6/3 09:00(PHS 0A50):How the #EP works & what the Press service can do for you. Registration: http://t.co/QMMQMLQOF8
NOW: Press conference on #EPHearingonECI with @danutahuebner & @CeciliaWikstrom. LIVE streaming: http://t.co/EgEvkTPKdm
Press statement: @ElmarBrok_MEP & @AndrejPlenkovic deplore “politically motivated” detention of Nadya #Savchenko http://t.co/KXRclUihMv
Public hearing on Access to justice & rights in the #EasternPartnership zones affected by protracted conflicts LIVE http://t.co/G3zzdNSfH2
Speaker of @verkhovna_rada of #Ukraine calls for MEPs’ support for delivery of “defensive” weapons: http://t.co/Ohp45mvkpb
.@ElenaValenciano:"#EU needs to urgently review its policies to protect minorities in #Syria & #Iraq" Full statement: http://t.co/gawEmElgbh
.@ElenaValenciano welcomes the release of B #Rugurika:"Gratifying to see our Feb resolution had an impact" Statement: http://t.co/g8aSrBRBBB
Hearing on Freedom of religion in the Middle East starts in 15 min. Watch live: http://t.co/6WPFMH6et2
#Eurocorps : use it or lose it! @EP_Defence debates with @HQEurocorps Commander LtGen Guy #Buchsenschmidt live http://t.co/cLYJg4WlJl
.@EP_Defence discussing Annual #CSDP report by @ArnaudDanjean live now http://t.co/3TdZARGZjb Draft text: http://t.co/k8BAcbrbbX
.@EP_Defence @EP_Budgets debate CommonSecurity&DefencePolicy financing on Thu at9.00.Draft http://t.co/1lUC0LA3Bi @EduardKukan @indrektarand
"Financing development: making every euro count", Debate w/ @WFPErtharin & @StylianidesEU Full article: http://t.co/YKjsdk5Y9d
.@EP_Development opinion on #TTIP adopted by 16/7/1 Press release: http://t.co/LN5iFkgXQx
Hearing on Financing for Development w/ @MimicaEU & others. Follow live http://t.co/MCNoLlb9fj #EYD2015 Programme: http://t.co/8fUA5SjZkf
#TTIP in the EP: all dates, links, drafts, timelines & other details you've been asking about in one place http://t.co/leOYR7Evjh
#TTIP talks: MEPs work on their recommendations for negotiators/ @EP_trade debate & @EP_Development vote summarized http://t.co/KEyemJAw8Z
Debate on trade deal with #Vietnam, rapporteur @ZahradilJan live now http://t.co/jD8XTLpye9
Next Mon 15:30-18:30 hearing w 6 experts on #JunckerPlan EFSI @EP_Economy @EP_Budgets. Agenda: http://t.co/RBB4193wS2
€6.3m #EU job-search aid #EGF for redundant workers in #Belgium, #Germany #Poland backed by budget MEPs. Read here: http://t.co/nYe5pJ3HeT
Commission shld check spending of #EU funds better and claw back more lost money, says @EP_BudgControl. Read more: http://t.co/Nbcd3Z6Oyy
Fight against #EUbudget fraud vote @9, then debate continues on #discharge 2013 @r_czarnecki @AndersVistisen. Live: http://t.co/oC5jCnVenq
Vote on fight against fraud on #EUbudget, debate on #discharge 2013 to EU instits, agencies Tue @9:00. Docs, live: http://t.co/IaWZ0qfGgH
.@EP_Economics meeting 5/3 is cancelled. Next week only hearing with BUDG on EU Fund for Strat. Investments. Agenda: http://t.co/9LMYSw6DER
Chair new #tax rulings committee @ALamassoure : “This is about transparency and justice” #luxleaks Press release: http://t.co/tB1YFrL94B
.@EP_Economics adopted @NeenaGmep report on money market funds, check for details http://t.co/r8oAOoqdbF
.@EPSocialAffairs & @EPCulture Joint Hearing on early school leaving Follow it on EP Live http://t.co/yBeUTqGeEO
.@EPSocialAffairs February 2015 Newsletter http://t.co/WQpr9uRftW
.@EPSocialAffairs & @EPCulture Joint Hearing on early school leaving: Thu, 26 Feb, 15.00-17.30 Follow on EP Live http://t.co/yBeUTqGeEO
#EUETS #MSR: report by @IvoBelet adopted 58/10/1 negotiations with @eu2015lv opened 57/10/1
#Biofuels: report by @NilsTorvalds adopted 39/26/4 negotiations opened 46/20/2 #ILUC
2/2 Lead #MEPs: @IvoBelet (@EPPGroup, Belgium) on #EUETS #MSR and @NilsTorvalds (@ALDEgroup, Finland) on #Biofuels #ILUC
In a few minutes, MEPs will give their first reactions to today's proposed #energyunion. Watch live: http://t.co/EdQLuZFBzD #EPlenary
"Energy union can help to boost economic growth and jobs." Interview with @EP_Industry chair @JerzyBuzek http://t.co/lIwviiAS35 #energyunion
.@MarosSefcovic & @MAC_europa just presented #energyunion. At 15h, MEPs will give first reactions. #EPlenary live: http://t.co/EdQLuZFBzD
.@EP_SingleMarket working group on #DigitalSingleMarket to resume its work on 2nd March at 3 pm. Agenda http://t.co/5iaaFEIx6c @rozathun
RT @C_Stihler_MEP: Enjoyed discussions @EP_SingleMarket on my opinions on copyright and IPR and my report on gas appliances. Thank you. htt…
Starting now @EP_Transport: debate on new financial schemes for European transport projects, streaming: http://t.co/pyTFPBE843
In 10min @EP_Transport: presentation of ECA report on effectiveness of EU-funded urban transport projects, streaming http://t.co/pyTFPBE843
In TRAN at 16h Christophersen-Bodewig-Secchi report on fin.instruments for transport http://t.co/O66ilGcVCT streaming http://t.co/pyTFPBE843
"Unacceptable that 1/3 of Operational Prgrms have not yet passed" says rapporteur on 6th #Cohesion rprt @dajcstomi http://t.co/xxAimHdTah
In-depth analysis: Economic, Social and Territorial Situation of the #Netherlands http://t.co/WdNlhUbARf #CohesionPolicy
Missed yesterday's joint hearing w/ @EP_Environment on #Cloning of animals for farming purposes? Watch it here: http://t.co/T24TJWbRpb
Today in #AGRI: Debate on #TTIP http://t.co/chVRIEjNnu) & other topics. Watch live: http://t.co/DY0LoJzfIa Agenda: http://t.co/bw8hgi3BwZ
Hearing on #MSY on 23/02 - Download the presentations: http://t.co/ElVFIB0Vpy #Fisheries #CFPreality
Extraordinary #Fisheries cttee meetg in #Strasbourg on 9/3 @ 19:00 to vote on "Omnibus" regulation http://t.co/bTDbVCFatI #discards
#Fisheries committee vote results from 24/02/2015: http://t.co/AZ0ClJzXZn
Joint hearing @EPCulture and @EPSocialAffairs on early school leaving, #child poverty and #youth #unemployment http://t.co/6pxvK6jhrY
Members @EPCulture have an exchange of views with @mariannethyssen http://t.co/48Vj6XmFdI
Workshop "Cross-border activities in the EU - Making life easier for citizens" starting now. LIVE: http://t.co/n2z6G9JBRU
Workshop "Cross-border activities in EU - Making life easier for citizens" today at 9:30. Live http://t.co/joS0O740bp http://t.co/5w3pMpjtkL
RT @EP_ThinkTank: How can EU governments ensure long-term IT innovation and protect #privacy? http://t.co/oeijue2Pi9
#TTIP: amendments tabled to draft opinion @JanAlbrecht are available here http://t.co/nzSCpBklGi. #dataprotection #fundamentalrights
.@EP_Justice MEP @datirachida will be rapporteur on prevention of #radicalisation & recruitment of EU citizens by #terrorist organisations.
Discussion on #TTIP rapporteur Gonzales Ponz presents its draft opinion in @EPInstitutional
Meeting @EPinstitutional starting in ASP03G2 follow it live http://t.co/GZL3GeIKFq
Follow live the press conference on the European Citizens' Initiative here: http://t.co/SC6D1og0tb Starts at 13.00 #EPHearingonECI
Average #maternityleave duration in #EU=23 weeks.Have a look at #EP study on #maternity,#paternity & #parental leave:http://t.co/tqBtzPr6hb
Last minute cancellation of Latvian Presidency participation to the debate with MEPs on maternity leave:...
.@EUCouncil did not come to exchange of views with @EP_GenderEqual #maternityleave. Live: http://t.co/Nhff3GKGS4.
Missed the hearing on #ECI @EP_Petitions & @EPInstitutional on 26/02? Video recording available here: http://t.co/QF4FMafDQg #EPhearingonECI
.@EP_Petitions discussing now petition on the metro accident in Valencia #Spain on 3 July 2006. Live: http://t.co/9WSPyOoACJ
Follow discussion @EP_Petitions about opinion on #TTIP. Live: http://t.co/9WSPyOoACJ
The Parliament is on...