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Background note on the first-ever European elections in Bulgaria - Sunday 20 May 2007 - 18 MEPs elected
On 20 May, President Pöttering made the following statement following the election of 18 Bulgarian Members of the European Parliament on Sunday 20 May, in Buglaria's first ever European election. "This is an important day for Bulgaria. On 1st January it became a member of the European Parliament. Today the Bulgarian citizens have elected for the first time their representatives in the European Parliament. After the fall of communism Bulgaria is thereby integrated again in the European family.
This is also a good opportunity to thank all the members of the Bulgarian parliament who since September 2005 were observers in the European Parliament and since 1st January this year, full members. I thank them for their hard work and dedication to European integration.
I hope that the new members of the Parliament will soon be integrated in the work of the House and be able to contribute with their experience and knowledge for the benefit of their voters and the European project. I feel sure that their positive contribution will help to improve voter participation in future elections".
President Pöttering visited Bulgaria on 19-20 April on his official trip. In Sofia he addressed the Bulgarian Parliament, met with leading political personalities and spoke about the importance of decisions taken by the European Parliament for the citizens of Member states.
- A message from the European Parliament President - Hans-Gert Pöttering
- What does a Member of the European Parliament do?
- So, just what is an EP political group?
- What will MEPs be deciding until the end of the legislature in June 2009? Key legislation in course
- An overview of the European Parliament in action at the midway point of the legislature July 2004-December 2006
- Key dates and facts on the European election campaign in Bulgaria
A message from the European Parliament President - Hans-Gert Pöttering
What does a Member of the European Parliament do?
So, just what is an EP political group?
What will MEPs be deciding until the end of the legislature in June 2009? Key legislation in course
- Measures to fight climate change: New proposals to further reduce greenhouse emissions (CO2 in particular) from road transport (cars, heavy good vehicles), affecting levels of emissions and quality of petrol. Also, Directives to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions from aviation. Bio fuels proposals. A reform of the emissions trading system to include other industries / sectors, in particular air transport. Revision of the quality of air standards (EP already voted in first reading), which have a particular impact on urban and industrial areas.
- Revision of legislation on waste management. The revision of the framework directive for waste. In first reading Parliament has called for binding targets in Member States. Impact also on incineration possibilities by local authorities. Second reading should take place in this legislature.
- Quality of water. It complements the framework directive, dealing with polluting substances in EU waters. Binding obligations for Member States.
- Framework for the soil protection, first reading expected May. How far the EU should legislate in this field? Impact on urbanism.
- Labelling of spirits. first reading. An agreement with Council is possible. The legislation refers to all types of regional drinks, though biggest changes affect vodka and whisky.
- Innovative therapies. First reading should take place in April. A European system for registration of this type of therapies. Ethics issues at stake as well.
- Nutrition/Obesity. A review of existing EU legislation on food labelling and nutrition labelling is expected by the end of 2007. Related to fight against obesity. Parliament has already called for more strict measures on advertising in an own initiative report adopted end January in plenary. A white paper on nutrition and physical activity to be presented by Commission in April 2007.
- Enzymes. first reading expected in May 2007, part of a package concerning also vitamins.
- Maritime security. the new package of measures concerning flags, accidents, civil responsibility, inspection. First reading in April, but the procedure likely to continue later on in this legislature.
- Railway transport. Market opening of passenger and goods transport. Parliament should vote in third reading after conciliation.
- Postal service. The new phase of the liberalisation process for post of less than 50 gr. Public service and competitiveness of the industry. Markus Ferber report to be voted in committee in May.
- Security measures in airports. Second reading in 2007. Common measures regarding checks and security matters in airports and flights.
- Energy Internal market. Commission to propose legislation and measures to complete internal market. Objectives regarding energy sources. For the time being, follow up reports on prospects for the internal gas and electricity market and a roadmap or renewable energy in Europe
- Energy saving proposals. An update of current "energy star" legislation which aims to make household products and office equipment more energy efficient. The Commission will present other proposals, as the most efficient way to fight climate change. Also related, the low consumption lights proposals.
- Health services. The Commission may present proposals dealing with free movement of patients / providers. Reimbursement of health expenses. These issues were excluded from services directive.
- Single market review. An important revision which will be launched at the end of this year including for instance review of the time sharing directive.
- Public procurement. How to increase transparency, assure access of all European operators and fight corruption in the assignment of public contracts.
- Control of acquisition of arms
- Gambling and betting in the internal market (online gambling)
- Return of illegal immigrants. Common rules and conditions for the expulsion of illegal immigrants.
- Labour migration. Conditions of entry and residence of seasonal workers and remunerated trainees.
- Common code for visas + common elements of biometric identification.
- Rapid intervention border forces Member States facing massive immigration may get the help of teams integrated by border guards of other countries.
- Audiovisual directive. The revision of the Television without borders legislation. Second reading should take place during this legislature. First reading amendments allow product placement under strict conditions. Advertising breaks can take place after 30 minutes minimum.
- Roaming. Regulation to assure that mobile telephone users do not pay excessive prices for international roaming services when making calls and receiving calls in another country. Issue to be voted during May 9 plenary.
- New telecom package. Liberalisation of the telecom markets, to be proposed by the Commission this year.
- Research. The creation of a European equivalent to MIT European Institute of Technology could be on the parliamentary agenda this term. The objective is to reverse the fragmentation of research and education efforts. Also, initiatives to generate a European Research Area.
- The enlargement and EU borders. Political debates on this issue are likely. Any decision on enlargement needs the green light of Parliament.
- Progress reports on Balkans and Turkey.
- Broad revision of budgetary framework to take place in 2008-09. EP binding vote.
- Agreement on eventual proposal for Constitution or equivalent.
- Property rights and penal measures, Parliament is likely to support criminal measures to fight infringement of property rights. If Council agrees to a common position, the issue would come back during this legislature.
- Legal protection of designs and models, Key directive for the car manufacturers and dealers, related to the liberalisation of car parts.
- Intellectual property: Parliament wants EU legislation in the field of online music service. Currently, there are no EU-wide copyright licences making it difficult for new Internet-based music services to develop their full potential.
- Wine - reform of the market
- Ban on trade on cat and dog furs - codecision proposal. Marketing of these products to be forbidden in the EU. Probable first reading agreement spring 2007.
- Protection of animals at slaughter Proposal for a regulation to be adopted by EC end of 2007, will update the stunning and killing requirements of farm animals
- Feed labelling and authorisation: EC to propose a revision of existing rules end of 2007.
- Matrimonial law. Jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters. Parental responsibility.
- Data protection and police cooperation are subjects likely to be on the table along 2007, but no concrete proposal yet.
- EU Action Plan on Drugs (2009 - 2012) to be adopted in this legislature.
- Initiatives to combat discrimination. Also initiatives to facilitate combination of work and family life
- Arab world reforms. The EU strategy.
- Foreign policy aspects of the energy policy - own initiative report
- Economic relations with Russia, own initiative report.
- Assessment of financial aid to Palestine.
- Agreements with third countries and regions: China, India, Latin America.