Recent events at the European Parliament
The European Citizens' Initiative, signed into law by European Parliament president Jerzy Buzek on 16 February, will allow EU citizens to ask the Commission to bring forward a legislative proposal if the signatories of an initiative number at least one million and come from a significant number of member states, if the proposed initiative falls within an area of EU competence and is in line with the Union's values.
The need to shift economies onto a lower carbon route and to acknowledge the direct links between the resilience of ecosystems and that of national economies were highlighted by the Prince of Wales at the opening of Parliament's Low Carbon Prosperity Summit on 9 February. European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek, Commission President José Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy all advocated using low-carbon technologies to build prosperity.
A new law to prevent fake medicines from entering the legal supply chain was approved by Parliament in February. Internet sales will be covered by the law, which also introduces new safety and traceability measures, as well as sanctions against counterfeiters. An estimated 1% of medicinal products currently sold to the European public through the legal supply chain are falsified and the share is growing. This law still needs to be formally approved by the Council of Ministers.
News from Scotland's MEPs
Ian Hudghton MEP has welcomed a vote in the European Parliament to improve the rights of bus and coach passengers. He said the new EU law would be particularly important for improving services for disabled users of bus and coach services.
George Lyon MEP has warned that the current model of global food production must be transformed if the demand for food is to be met in the future.
David Martin MEP has said that Scotch Whisky will benefit from a new EU-South Korea trade agreement hat is expected to more than double bilateral trade in the next 20 years.
Alyn Smith MEP has cautiously welcomed a draft report on Common Agricultural Policy reform by Bavarian Christian Democrat Albert Dess as "a useful start" in the process of reforming the CAP, which will be completed by the end of 2013.
Struan Stevenson MEP has called for EU action in Iran saying it should pursue a policy of zero tolerance over a policy of appeasement.
Catherine Stihler MEP successfully steered through Parliament legislation on construction products, which covers building materials which contain harmful, or potentially harmful substances in particular.
The latest news and events from the Edinburgh Information Office
"The Lisbon Treaty: One Year On" was the title of a seminar hosted by the EP Edinburgh Office on 25 February. Dr. Michael Shackleton, Head of the UK Office of the European Parliament, outlined key changes that have occurred in the European Parliament since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty just over a year ago. This was followed by a Q&A session with the audience of officials from the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament, academics and representatives from businesses and NGOs.
The Gathering is the UK's largest voluntary sector fair and took place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on 23-24th February. The European Parliament Office in Edinburgh hosted an exhibition stand, in particular to answer delegates' questions about the European Year of Volunteering 2011 (EY2011). The Office also hosted a seminar on EY2011 attended by over 50 delegates, which was addressed by Marian Harkin MEP, European Parliament rapporteur on Volunteering, as well as Maureen O'Neill, Vice President of the European Economic and Social Committee and John Macdonald of the European Commission EY2011 Task Force.
Sixteen pupils from secondary schools all over Scotland visited the European Parliament in Strasbourg in January 2011, participating in a mock EP plenary session and discussing a variety of issues with nearly 600 counterparts from all over Europe as part of the Euroscola project. The Euroscola Online website, which chronicles the five-day visit, is available here. Additionally, the trip was covered in this article in the Times Educational Supplement.
David Martin MEP visited Oxgang Primary School in Kirkintilloch in January to present a trophy to Matthew Anderson, who had sent in the winning Scottish entry for the 2011 European Parliament Calendar Competition.
Upcoming events at the Edinburgh Information Office
The European Parliament Office in Edinburgh and Strathclyde University Debating Society will host a Debate on Turkish membership of the EU in the Debating Chamber at Strathclyde University in Glasgow on Friday 4th March at 6.30pm. Speakers will include: Alyn Smith MEP, Zeynep Ersahin, Second Secretary, Turkish Embassy in London, Sandy Boyle, Member of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), Alan Finnie, Conservative candidate for Falkirk West and Professor John Curtace, Strathclyde University.
To mark International Women's Day, the European Parliament Edinburgh Office and Women Into Public Life, will host a seminar with Catherine Stihler MEP entitled 'Having Your Voice in Europe' at the teacher Building in Glasgow on Friday 11 March. The European Parliament is organising a number of events to mark international Women's Day 2011
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