Recent events at the European Parliament
The European Single Market at 20
As the European Single Market celebrates its 20th Birthday, MEPs have adopted a resolution saying EU citizens still do not benefit fully from it. They cited difficulties registering cars abroad, opening bank accounts or having professional qualifications recognised and blame these problems on member states' reluctance to implement EU rules swiftly, coordinate with each other and inform citizens of their rights.
"In certain areas of our daily lives, so many simple things are still very complex, hard and expensive, such as the reimbursement of medical expenses after a temporary stay in another EU country, the opening of a bank account by an Erasmus student, or the recognition of qualifications and of the car number plate in another member state", said Portuguese MEP Regina Bastos. MEPs called on the Commission to present "concrete actions and feasible proposals" to tackle the top 20 concerns identified by citizens and businesses. They also pointed to over 2000 cases in which member states have failed to implement EU single market law correctly or in full.
Iranian Activities win EP Human Rights Prize
Two Iranian activists, lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and film director Jafar Panahi, are this year's joint winners of the European Parliament Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
The award was described as Martin Schultsz, the President of the European Parliament as "a message of solidarity and recognition to a woman and a man who have not been bowed by fear and intimidation and who have decided to put the fate of their country before their own. I sincerely hope they will be able to come in person to Strasbourg to the European Parliament to collect their prize in December."
2013 will be European Year of Citizenship
MEPs have voted to designate 2013 as the European Year of Citizens with the aim of raising awareness of the rights linked to EU citizenship. Events will be organised throughout the EU, including a major conference in Scotland, during the Year to explain the rights of citizens who decide to study, work, set up a business or draw their pension in another member state.
Next year sees the twentieth anniversary of the establishment of EU citizenship. Every Union citizen enjoys a set of rights under the EU treaties, including the right to move and reside freely in another member state, the right to vote and stand as a candidate in European and local elections and the right to petition the European Parliament. People are often unaware of these rights and the European Year will aim to educate the general public, in particular young people, in how they can benefit from them. Today's vote endorsed an agreement already reached between MEPs and EU ministers.
News from Scotland's MEPs
Ian Hudghton MEP's report on maintaining 12-miles fishing limits under national control was unanimously approved by MEPs
David Martin MEP has condemned the European Parliament's approval of a trade upgrade between the EU and Israel.
Struan Stevenson MEP has called for the European Commission to impose sanctions against Iceland and the Faroes in a bid to save mackerel stocks.
Alyn Smith MEP has visited Brazil and Paraguay inspecting abattoirs, marts and beef farms, to help assess the impact of EU-South American trade deal negotiations on beef farmers.
George Lyon MEP has welcomed the science-based approach to the issue of live animal transport, adopted by the EP Agriculture Committee.
Catherine Stihler MEP has questioned the European Commission over its plans for the regulation of the e-book market covering the relationship between publishers, libraries and authors.
Recent Events in Scotland
Sakharov Prize event
On 18th October the European Parliament Office in Edinburgh and the Glasgow Human Rights Network co-hosted an event at Glasgow University which looked at the 2012 Sakharov Prize. Students on the MSc in Human Rights & International Politics course prepared presentations on the five nominees, in which they set out the case for each nominee to receive the award. Following a debate and Q&A session, a vote was taken among all those present. On the night, Nasrin Sotoudeh and Jafar Panahi were the clear winners. The following week, MEPs reached the same conclusion and the Iranian nominees were awarded the Sakharov Prize on 26 October.
EP Calendar Competition
The calendar competitions for Scottish primary schools to provide a drawing for the European Parliament Office in Scotland 2013 Calendar competition has now closed. Over 1,200 entries were received from over 50 schools. The six Scottish MEPs make up the judging panel and their decision will be announced shortly.
Upcoming events at the Edinburgh Information Office
LUX Prize Film Screenings
(9th,10th&11thNovember,15:45/15:15, Edinburgh Filmhouse)
Edinburgh Filmhouse, with sponsorship from European Parliament Office in Scotland, will be screening the three shortlisted films for the 2012 European Parliament's LUX Prize for European Film; Just the Wind directed by Benedek Fliegauf, Shun Li and the Poet directed by Andrea Segre, and Tabu by Miguel Gomes. Tickets are free but you must register with Filmhouse in advance for a ticket. If you attend all three screenings, you will have the chance to nominate your favourite as part of a 'Citizen's Jury' to choose the winner of the 2012 LUX Prize.
The EU Budget: Deal or No Deal, with George Lyon MEP
(16th November , EP Office Edinburgh)
MEP George Lyon will be hosting a short discussion on the issues surround the EU budget and future EU spending. He will give a short presentation followed by Q&A session which will look at the conflict between EU parliament and member state on the purposed increase in the long-term EU budget. He is better-place than almost any other UK politician to answer these, and other questions on this topic. He is Vice President of the European Parliament Budgets Committee and a Member of the President's Strategy Group on the EU long-term budget (the Multi-Annual Financial Framework). The event is free to attend but places are limited so you need to register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0131 557 7866
20 Years of the Single Market, with Catherine Stihler MEP
(23rd November, EP Office Edinburgh)
The Scottish European Resources Network (SERN) will hold its annual meeting at the EP Office in Edinburgh on 23rd November. They keynote speaker will be Catherine Stihler MEP, who will be speaking about the 20th anniversary of the completion of the Single Market. What has been achieved, how and to what extent do Scottish businesses and consumers benefit, and what does do not work and need to change? For more information about this event, please contact the European Commission Office in Edinburgh 0131 225 2058 or email Janet.Williamson@ec.europa.eu
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