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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" )

 

Dr Denis Mukwege, the 2014 Sakharov Prize laureate, described political problems in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and his difficulties in tackling the problem of sexual abuse of women and even small children, in a Human Rights Subcommittee debate on Thursday. MEPs discussed how the EU could best support Dr Mukwege’s work, and some called for legally-binding rules on trade in conflict minerals. (Read more: Democracy and values are problematic in DRC, says Denis Mukwege )

 
Press releases (second part)
 

The question of whether Germany’s minimum pay rules should apply to foreign lorry drivers using its roads divided MEPs evenly in a debate with transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc on Wednesday evening. The European Commission is still assessing the implications of these rules, which the Germany partially suspended (for transit drivers) early this year, but they must in any event comply with EU law, she said. (Read more: Commission to clarify whether minimum wage may apply to foreign lorry drivers )

 

The 18 March terrorist attacks on the Tunis Bardo museum were clearly directed against Tunisia’s transition to democracy, as the “lone success story of the ‘Arab Spring’”, said MEPs in a debate with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Wednesday evening. All speakers insisted on the need to maintain or beef up EU support for Tunisia, so to in encourage it to pursue its democratic transition and not be intimidated by attempts to cause anarchy and chaos. (Read more: Terror attacks targeted Tunisia's democratic path: MEPs call for more EU support )

 

Tackling tax evasion should be a top EU priority. EU countries and the European Commission should play a leading role in discussing how to fight tax fraud and aggressive tax planning in the OECD and other relevant fora, says Parliament in its resolution on tax, voted on Wednesday. (Read more: EP takes stance on tax transparency, burdens, avoidance and evasion )

 

EU member states must be more transparent about their national tax rulings, because unfair tax competition distorts competition among companies and could lead to a “race to the bottom”, warned many MEPs in Wednesday’s debate with taxation Commissioner Pierre Moscovici. (Read more: Moscovici debate: MEPs make the case for fairer taxation )

 

EU plans to lend Ukraine €1.8 billion to help plug its short-term balance of payments gap were approved by MEPs on Wednesday. The EU will borrow the money externally and lend it on to Ukraine with the same interest rate. The disbursement will be tied to Ukraine pledging structural reforms to tackle problems that contributed to the current crisis. (Read more: European Parliament approves €1.8 billion EU loan to Ukraine )

 

More than 2,000 workers made redundant in Greece and Ireland in 2014 will receive EU aid worth €11.3 million to help them find jobs, Parliament decided on Wednesday. The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) aid has already been approved by the EU Council of Ministers. (Read more: Parliament approves EU aid for redundant workers in Greece and Ireland )

 
 
Weekly agenda
 
Schedule by day Monday 30 Mar 2015
Situation of fundamental rights in the European Union - Public hearings (30-03-2015): 15:00, Brussels, Paul-Henri Spaak
 
Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality - Parliamentary committees (30-03-2015): 15:00, Brussels, Jòzsef Antall
 
Committee on Fisheries - Parliamentary committees (30-03-2015): 15:00, Brussels, Altiero Spinelli
 
Committee on Foreign Affairs - Parliamentary committees (30-03-2015): 15:00, Brussels, Jòzsef Antall
 
Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety - Parliamentary committees (30-03-2015): 15:00, Brussels, Jòzsef Antall
 
Special Committee on Tax Rulings and Other Measures Similar in Nature or Effect - Parliamentary committees (30-03-2015): 15:00, Brussels, Altiero Spinelli
 
Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs - Parliamentary committees (30-03-2015): 15:00, Brussels, Paul-Henri Spaak
 
Workshop on main causes of female poverty - Special events (30-03-2015): 15:00, Brussels, Jòzsef Antall
 
 
Schedule by day Tuesday 31 Mar 2015
Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs - Parliamentary committees (31-03-2015): 09:00, Brussels, Paul-Henri Spaak
 
Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety - Parliamentary committees (31-03-2015): 09:00, Brussels, Jòzsef Antall
 
Committee on Fisheries - Parliamentary committees (31-03-2015): 09:00, Brussels, Altiero Spinelli
 
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
 
"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 Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs - Parliamentary committees (01-04-2015): 09:00, Brussels, Paul-Henri Spaak
 
Committee on Employment and Social Affairs - Parliamentary committees (01-04-2015): 09:00, Brussels, Altiero Spinelli
 
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
 
The week ahead at the #EP includes:#counterterrorism,#LIBOR #taxrulings & more.Full Agenda: http://t.co/YIyryzQzLB http://t.co/HJPfvtWn49
The Week Ahead(30 Mar-5 Apr) includes:#counterterrorism,#LIBOR #taxrulings & more.Full Agenda: http://t.co/YIyryzyYU3 http://t.co/jxmG72Z7dC
EP #Iraq delegation chair D. Campbell Bannerman @DCBMEP: Denying visas for #Yezidi women “bureaucracy before bravery” http://t.co/D5DFM6wRdH
#EPlenary debate on #TUnisia attacks with @FedericaMog http://t.co/a1vFJNC095
#CSDP financing: @EP_Defence @EP_Budgets @EP_ForeignAff 2nd discussion on report by @EduardKukan @indrektarand LIVE awb://owl.li/KJxNb
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
Impact of dvpts in European defence markets on security & defence capabilities: draft by @AnaGomesMEP discussed now: http://t.co/ARArVxrTlz
#CSDP financing: @EP_Defence @EP_Budgets @EP_ForeignAff 2nd discussion on report by @EduardKukan @indrektarand LIVE awb://owl.li/KJxNb
Aviation safety over conflict zones & threats to civilian planes: @EP_Defence @EP_ForeignAff w @Eurocontrol @ICAO now http://t.co/eo0e8WU6FO
RT @EP_ThinkTank: 3 official aims of #EYD2015: inform EU citizens, foster direct involvement, raise awareness of global interdependence htt…
.@LindaMcAvanMEP & Enrique Guerrero Salom statements on the disaster in Vanuatu: http://t.co/LUHzk694ZI
MEP Louis Michel welcomes @EU_Commission response following devastation by cyclone Pam in Vanuatu. Full statement: http://t.co/UbVkXqOpAD
#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
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
Tax competition should be fair and transparent, says Parliament in annual #tax report by @EvaKaili . Press release: http://t.co/lVbMtVYsj6
.@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
1/2 From @COP21 #Paris to 2050: Tmw 15h debate w. national #MPs, @MAC_europa @KarmenuVella Doc http://t.co/lWMUYAhk0B http://t.co/hyWybufQbA
RT @V_Andriukaitis: Thank you for your questions @EP_Environment . My speech is here http://t.co/FALfi6lTL1
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
.@EP_Industry's recommendations for #TTIP talks adopted 49/13/0:http://t.co/i2eQcmOHrO #customs #publicprocurement #SMEs #energy @JerzyBuzek
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
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
The new CFP requires MS to use transparent & objective criteria when allocating TACs & quotas http://t.co/BitNjfWQpS http://t.co/4RgPdmIj4F
#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
.@EP_Justice meetings 30-31 March and 1 April will be webstreamed here http://t.co/7zXVjVwhpz
RT @EP_ThinkTank: Reducing #NGO vulnerability to abuse by #terrorist organisations http://t.co/l4FyebDm6t
RT @LauraFerraraM5S: #REPORT SUI DIRITTI FONDAMENTALI IN EUROPA! Buonasera a tutti! Domani in Commissione Libertà Civili, Giustizia... ht…
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
.@EP_GenderEqual next meeting on 30/31 March, find out more in newsletter: https://t.co/CPk4PBWWKa
.@UNICEF Study: Children of the Recession The impact of the economic crisis on child well-being in rich countries: https://t.co/tVnXOo4ByD
Main causes of #femalepoverty workshop @EP_GenderEqual on 30/3 at 15h. Programme: http://t.co/MnhkNJfFqx
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…
Missed @EP_Petitions meeting yesterday? Video recording available here: http://t.co/h70BmznNOz
The Parliament is on...