Recent events at the European Parliament
The last full parliamentary year before the 2014 European elections promises to be another crucial one. The European Parliament will not only be dealing with reforms to help kick-start the economy, but also negotiate with the member states the EU's long-term budget, as well as decide on various legislative proposals that will impact the everyday life of Europeans.
Tackling the economic crisis will of course remain on top of the agenda, with the legislation to pave the way for an EU banking union to be further negotiated with national governments. There will also be discussions on changes on the governance of the Eurozone and reform of financial services will also continue, including important issues such as credit rating agencies, capital requirements for banks and bankers' bonuses as well as measures to improve the single market. The Parliament's key priority will be to ensure proper democratic control and accountability at the heart of these new structures. MEPs will also continue to negotiate the EU's long-term budget for 2014-2020 with the Council and the Commission.
The European Parliament will also consider proposed legislation to set new CO2 limits for cars, to update rules on passenger rights and to overhaul the rail sector in Europe. Controversial proposals on the marketing of tobacco products and the rules covering cloning and genetically modified food will also be debated.
European Parliament leaders send New Year messages
The EP's political group leaders have high hopes for 2013. They hope it will be better than last year and that it will bring an end to the crisis affecting Europe. "I hope that 2013 will be a better year than 2012," said EP President Martin Schulz, a feeling shared by the political leaders in Parliament. He also insists that 2013 should be the year when young people are provided with jobs and hope for a good future. The handwritten wishes of the President and political group leaders were published on the EP website, where you can read what else they are wishing for.
"Your peace, your prize": Nobel Peace Prize passed on to European citizens
In response to the decision to award the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union, the Europ4ean Parliament organised a special ceremony in Strasbourg in December at which the prize was symbolically handed over to 20 citizens of different ages and nationalities to represent the people of Europe, including 10 young winners of the Facebook competition" Peace, Europe, Future." "The reason we have peace is because of the EU," EP president Martin Schulz said, warning that peace in Europe should not be taken for granted. You can see a video of the ceremony here and browse a slideshow on Flickr here.
News from Scotland's MEPs
Ian Hudghton MEP has welcomed the vote in the EP Fisheries Committee for substantial controls over fisheries to be decentralised.
George Lyon MEP has called for Farm Ministers to drive forward their negotiations to enable the CAP reform package to be agreed by the middle of 2013.
David Martin MEP spoke in an EP debate to oppose the EU's Free Trade Agreement with Colombia because of the human rights concerns.
Alyn Smith MEP has called for a ban on pork imports from countries that are not compliant with new EU rules on pig welfare by 1 January 2013.
Struan Stevenson MEP has welcomed decisions by EU Fisheries Ministers on quotas and permitted days at sea for 2013.
Catherine Stihler MEP hosted a seminar with London MEP Mary Honeyball at the EP Office in Edinburgh on the issue of the trafficking of women.
Recent Events in Scotland
MacCormick European Lecture
On 23rd November the Royal Society of Edinburgh, with support from the European Parliament Office in Edinburgh, hosted the annual MacCormick European Lecture. This year, it was given by BBC journalist Allan Little who tried to make sense of the current crisis in Europe, especially the euro crisis, by putting it in the context of Europe's history.
EP Calendar Competition
On 6th December the European Parliament Information Office in Scotland opened an exhibition of the 25 drawings featured in its official 2013 Calendar. The theme of this year's calendar competition was 'Europe's rich animal kingdom'. We received over 1200 entries from nearly 60 schools from all over Scotland. The winners were chosen by a jury made up of all six Scottish MEPs. The winner, from St Margaret of Scotland Primary School in Cumbernauld, and the two runners, up were presented with certificates and 'goody bags'.
Upcoming events at the Edinburgh Information Office
UK-EU 40 Years
To mark the 40th anniversary of the UK's entry in the EC (1st January 1973), the European Parliament Information Office in the UK has asked Prof Jo Shaw (Salvesen Chair of European Institutions and Dean of Research of the College of Humanities and Social Science, Edinburgh Law School, Edinburgh University), to write a short academic paper - inclusive of a timeline of the most salient events - on the history of UK membership from a Scottish perspective. Similar papers have also been commissioned to chart the history of membership from the perspective of Wales and Northern Ireland and the UK as a whole, and they can be found here. During the course of 2013, our office will also be organising a series of debates, briefings and seminars throughout the UK on the anniversary theme, looking at various aspects of EU membership with the participation of top British political figures.
UK-EU 40 Years: the Single Market
(25th January, EP Office, Edinburgh)
The first event on our UK-EU 40 Years will look at the impact the European Single market has had on Scotland and on Scottish businesses. Speakers will include Alyn Smith MEP, Nick Soper, Director of European Affairs at the Scotch Whisky Association and Anis Mourad, European Knowledge Transfer Executive from the Enterprise Europe Network.
The Future of EU Funding in Scotland
(22 February, Glasgow)
As discussions on the long-term funding of the EU enter a crucial phase, the EP Edinburgh Office will organise a conference looking at the likely impact of these decisions on EU funding in Scotland. Speakers will include Scottish MEPs, leading academics and representatives of local, national and European stakeholder organisations. The focus will be on the future of the structural funds, but there will also be wider consideration of all funding streams. This event will be free to attend, but prior registration will be required. Registration details and the full agenda will be published in the coming weeks.
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