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2016

EU flag with passport
Visa requirements for non-EU nationals will be reintroduced faster when EU countries face irregular migration surges or security risks, under new rules passed by Parliament on Thursday, 15th December.
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collage of UK's  newspapers
A recent piece in the Daily Express might have led you to believe that one of the leading MEPs is not an elected office holder, but an unelected bureaucrat. Our Head of Office, Björn Kjellström, responded to the misleading report by writing to the paper. As we are eagerly awaiting a reply from the Express, we thought we would let you see the letter and the real story behind the headline.
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Sakharov Prize 2016 finalists
Can Dündar and fellow defenders of freedom of thought and expression in Turkey, the Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzemilev, the Yazidi survivors and public advocates Nadia Murad Basee and Lamiya Aji Bashar are this year's finalists for the Sakharov Prize following a vote by the foreign affairs and development committees on 11 October. The laureate will be selected by the EP President and the political group leaders on 27 October and the award ceremony will be held in Strasbourg on 14 December.
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Woman with laptop
New rules to enable EU citizens subscribing to services like “Netflix”, that give access to online music, games, films or sporting events, to enjoy this content while abroad in another EU country were approved by the Legal Affairs Committee in a vote on Tuesday.
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Flags of the European Union and Turkey
MEPs want a temporary freeze on EU accession talks with Turkey. In a resolution voted on Thursday, they say Turkey should nonetheless remain “anchored” to the EU. They also pledge to review their position when the "disproportionate repressive measures" under the state of emergency in Turkey are lifted.
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Soldier near to an EU venue
Terrorism, hybrid threats and cyber- and energy insecurity leave EU countries no choice but to step up their security and defence cooperation efforts, thus paving the way to a European Defence Union, say MEPs in a resolution passed on Tuesday. They suggest devoting 2% of GDP to defence, establishing multinational forces and EU headquarters to plan and command crisis management operations, and enabling the EU to act where NATO is unwilling to do so.
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view of air pollution
Plans for more ambitious national caps on emissions of key pollutants by 2030, including NOx, particulates and sulphur dioxide, won the support of MEPs on Wednesday. They had already been informally agreed with the Dutch Presidency of the Council. Air pollution causes about 400,000 premature deaths in the EU per year.
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Lux Prize winner Toni Erdmann
The German-Austrian-Romanian co-production “Toni Erdmann” has won the 2016 European Parliament LUX Prize, President Martin Schulz announced at a ceremony in the Chamber in Strasbourg on Wednesday. The film explores a complex relationship between a father and daughter in contemporary corporate culture.
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euros notes
In the wake of several tax evasion scandals, including the “Panama Papers” revelations, Parliament has backed Council’s position, and given the go ahead, by 590 votes to 32, with 64 abstentions, for tax authorities across Europe to automatically share information about bank account holders.
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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
The European Parliament Bureau (its President and Vice-Presidents) has ascertained that a total sum of €500,615.55 from the 2015 expenditure of the European political party ADDE was non-eligible for a grant given by the European Parliament. The ADDE will need to pay back €172,655 and will not receive the remaining 20% of the grant (€248,345) allocated to the party for 2015.
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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
What brings EU citizens together is more important than what separates them, say 71% of Europeans, while 53% believe that being an EU member is good for their country, according to Eurobarometer’s latest “Parlemeter” poll, commissioned by the European Parliament and published on Friday.
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COP22
A twelve-strong delegation of MEPs will take part in UN (COP22) climate talks (COP22) in Marrakesh from Monday to Friday. Following the European Parliament’s ratification and the entry into force of the 2015 Paris agreement, these will focus on how to finance and share the efforts needed to keep climate warming well below 2 degrees compared to pre-industrial levels.
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The EP President Martin Schulz
Following the result of the US presidential elections, President Schulz made the following statement:
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Event about UK Press coverage on Brexit
In a historic referendum, the majority of British voters decided to leave the European Union. The 23rd of June also marked the end of an intense campaign involving politicians, media and the public. How was the campaign covered in the British media? Were there more pro-Leave voices in the newspapers or pro-Remain ones? Which topics grabbed the editors’ attention? The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford and Prime Research carried out an extensive study into the subject and published a report, which was launched at Europe House in London earlier this autumn.
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The EP President Martin Schulz and the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau.
Ahead of today’s EU-Canada Summit, President Schulz made the following statement:
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Nadia Murad (left) and Lamiya Aji Basharr ©AP Images/ European Union-EP & ©Enric Vives-Rubio/Público
Yazidi survivors and public advocates Nadia Murad and Lamiya Aji Bashar are this year's joint laureates of the European Parliament Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, following a decision by Parliament President Martin Schulz and the political group leaders on 27 October. The Sakharov award ceremony will be held in Strasbourg on 14 December.
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A keyboard by a locker
The websites and apps of public administrations, hospitals, courts and other public sector bodies will have to be made accessible to everyone, under new EU-wide rules approved by the European Parliament on Wednesday. The web accessibility directive, already agreed by Parliament and Council, should make it easier for disabled and elderly people to access data and services on the internet, e.g. to file a tax declaration, apply for an allowance, pay fees or enrol at university.
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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
New rules to curb the growing influx into the EU of plant pests, such as olive grove killer Xylella fastidiosa, and better equip member states to tackle their spread, were endorsed by the Parliament on Wednesday. The new regulation introduces preventive and rapid response mechanisms for suspect plant imports, steps up pest surveillance efforts in the EU and requires all member states to draw up outbreak contingency plans.
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LUX Prize logo.
Europe should continue to support film creation and distribution as important tools for our cultural diversity, MEPs and filmmakers underlined on Monday evening in a Lux Prize 10th anniversary debate. Translation and subtitling help to circulate works and promote European values, especially in time of crisis, they added. Film directors Ken Loach, Céline Sciamma and Andrea Segre participated in a very animated debate with Members of the Culture Committee on this occasion.
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The EP President Martin Schulz
Following the events of Thursday afternoon in the European Parliament’s premises in Strasbourg which resulted in an MEP collapsing unconscious and being rushed to hospital, President Schulz made the following statement:
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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will travel to Strasbourg on Tuesday to attend the final vote of the European Parliament on whether to grant consent to the ratification of the Paris Agreement by the EU.
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The EP President Martin Schulz
On Thursday and Friday President Schulz will be in London and will meet with Prime Minister Theresa May, the leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn, and the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. It will be the first time that President Schulz will be meeting Ms May and Mr Khan. The President will conclude his visit with a lecture at the European Institute of the London School of Economics on Friday afternoon. The lecture will be followed by a questions and answer session.
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Photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnas/
A seven-strong delegation from the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee will visit the UK from 21 to 23 September 2016 in the context of the current overhaul of the EU type-approval rules for cars. .
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Debate on the State of the European Union 2016
Populism, unemployment and social injustice are among the key challenges for the EU, said Commission President Juncker in his annual State of the Union speech in the EP on Wednesday. The refugee crisis, Brexit and counter-terrorism were also debated with political groups’ leaders and other MEPs, who put forward their visions of how to address people’s deepest concerns about the future.
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Sir Julian King
Parliament will evaluate Commissioner-designate Sir Julian King for the portfolio of the Security Union during its plenary session in Strasbourg. The Civil Liberties Committee will first hold a public hearing with the candidate on Monday 12 September in the evening. The full House will take a vote on Thursday.
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Guy Verhofstadt
The Conference of Presidents today appointed Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE, BE) as European Parliament point man for Brexit negotiations.
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Debate on the State of the EU.
Two days ahead of the informal meeting of the EU heads of state and government (without the United Kingdom) in Bratislava, the European Parliament will hold the annual debate on the State of the European Union with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Strasbourg. The debate is likely to focus on migration, jobs, terrorism, Brexit and to address the core demands of EU citizens.
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stairs at the EP.
A recent article on the Daily Express website may have left you believing that the European Parliament is not only "deserted" in the summer but also has the cheek to leave the lights on “burning money”. This isn't true.
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Academics discuss the UK’s historic referendum at Europe House.
The UK’s vote to leave the European Union has brought renewed calls for clarity on the likely consequences for the country in the years ahead, and on 30th of June, just one week after the referendum, Europe House was delighted to host a seminar on this topic in Smith Square with Nuffield College Oxford.
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British European Citizen’s Prize 2016 winners.
The national laureates of the European Citizen’s Prize were honoured at a ceremony held in Westminster today. Since 2008, the European Parliament has selected winners from across the EU who have made outstanding contributions to the promotion of cooperation and a better mutual understanding between the citizens of the European Union member states.
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View of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
EU countries will have to introduce stronger controls on “blank-firing” guns, to prevent them being converted to fire live ammunition, under Internal Market Committee amendments, voted on Wednesday, to a draft update of the EU firearms directive. The changes approved by MEPs ensure that any firearm which has been converted to firing blanks continues to be covered by EU gun control rules. This closes a legal loophole which became evident in the aftermath of last year’s terrorist attacks in Paris.
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View of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
The European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG) aims to reinforce the management of the EU's external borders as part of wider efforts to stem migratory flows to the EU and protect its external borders.
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View of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Firms supplying essential services, e.g. for energy, transport, banking and health, or digital ones, such as search engines and cloud services, will have to improve their ability to withstand cyber-attacks under the first EU-wide rules on cybersecurity, approved by MEPs on Wednesday.
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View of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
EU leaders must respond to the UK's vote to leave the EU, by doing more to defend the EU project and to make it more transparent, social and responsive to citizens' concerns. This was a key message that came out of Parliament's Tuesday morning debate with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, on last week's EU summit.
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Bars chart.
The fight against terrorism should be the EU's number one priority followed by action on unemployment, the fight against tax fraud, migration, the protection of external borders and the environment, according to the vast majority of people surveyed in a special Eurobarometer. Those participating were asked if current EU action as mandated by member states on a range of different issues was excessive, adequate, about right or insufficient.
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View of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
The UK must respect the wish of a majority of its citizens, entirely, fully and as soon as possible, by officially withdrawing from the EU before any new relationship arrangements can be made, says the European Parliament in a resolution voted after an extraordinary plenary debate on Tuesday. MEPs also stress the urgent need for reforms to ensure that the EU lives up to its citizens’ expectations.
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View of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
What is the European Parliament’s position on the UK referendum? The European Parliament will hold an extraordinary plenary session on Tuesday 28 June at 9am UK time. The debate will be followed by a vote on a number of draft resolutions concerning the outcome of the referendum. The draft resolutions can be accessed here.
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View of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Plans for stricter monitoring and certification procedures to ensure full compliance and traceability of medical devices, such as breast or hip implants, were backed by Health Committee MEPs on Wednesday. MEPs also approved legislation to tighten up information and ethical requirements for diagnostic medical devices used for example in pregnancy or DNA testing. Both files were informally agreed with the Dutch Presidency of the Council.
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office folders.
The EU Commission proposal for an EU anti-tax avoidance directive was welcomed by Parliament in a resolution voted on Wednesday. MEPs nonetheless advocated stricter limits on deductions for interest payments and tougher rules on foreign income. They also called for more transparency for trust funds and foundations, common rules for “patent box” tax reductions on intellectual property earnings, and an EU blacklist of tax havens and sanctions against uncooperative jurisdictions.
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panama papers tags.
The European Parliament agreed to set up an inquiry committee into the “Panama Papers” revelations, of detailed information on offshore companies and their ultimate beneficiaries, in a vote on Wednesday. The committee is to investigate alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application by the EU Commission or member states of EU laws on money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion. It will have 65 members and twelve months to present its report.
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View of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
MEPs urge the EU Commission to put forward proposals against unfair trading practices in the food supply chain, so as to ensure fair earnings for farmers and a wide choice for consumers, in a resolution voted on Tuesday. The aim should be to ensure fair and transparent trade relations among food producers, suppliers and distributors. Fair trading should in turn help to prevent overproduction and food waste, they add.
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The European Citizen’s Prize 2016.
Two UK organisations have been honoured today in the 2016 European Citizen’s Prize. Every year a panel of judges chooses laureates from across the member states who have made outstanding contributions to the promotion of cooperation and a better mutual understanding between the citizens of the Member States.
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European Parliament entrance.
The EU Commission should go on negotiating with the USA to remedy “deficiencies” in proposed “Privacy Shield” protection for EU citizens’ data transferred to the US for commercial purposes, Parliament says in a non-legislative resolution passed on Thursday.
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EP meeting room.
Consumers should be given more power in the energy market, say MEPs in a resolution on a "new energy deal for energy consumers", voted on Thursday. They recommend collective buying, household power generation, better price comparison tools for all and making it easier to switch energy providers and tariffs. In a non-binding text, intended as an input to Energy Union legislation to be tabled by the EU Commission, MEPs also call for EU funds for energy efficiency to focus on energy poverty.
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View of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
New initiatives to allow consumers and companies to buy and sell products and services online more easily across the EU were welcomed by most MEPs in a debate with Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, Andrus Ansip, on Wednesday. Parliament will co-decide on equal footing with the EU Council of Ministers on the Digital Single Market legislative proposals.
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adult students.
Participants in two adult education groups are showing that every day in life can be a school day if you have the right support to encourage lifelong learning.
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Bars chart.
More than half of young Europeans aged 16-30 feel marginalised in their own country due to the economic crisis, but few want to move abroad because of it, finds the latest Eurobarometer poll, commissioned by the European Parliament and last week. Nevertheless, for almost all respondents it is important to learn about the EU and how its institutions work.
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View of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Until China has fulfilled the EU's five criteria for market economy status, its exports to the EU must be treated in a "non-standard" way, say MEPs in a non-legislative resolution passed on Thursday. This non-standard methodology, for use in anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations, should assess whether China's costs and prices are market-based, so as to ensure a level playing field for EU industry and defend EU jobs, they add.
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View of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
The European Commission's proposal for automatic exchange of corporate tax information among national tax authorities was welcomed by Parliament on Thursday as "a positive step in the fight against aggressive corporate tax planning". But MEPs also advocated adding further safeguards in the text to ensure that competition in the single market is not distorted by advantageous national tax deals with multinationals.
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Charlemagne youth prize.
Congratulations are due today for a UK youth group who have been recognised in one of Europe's most prestigious youth awards this evening (Tuesday 3 May).
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European Parliament in Strasbourg .
New EU rules to help firms win legal redress against theft or misuse of their trade secrets were voted by Parliament on Thursday. MEPs ensured that freedom of expression and information will be protected and that the rules will not restrict the work of journalists.
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Computer wires.
New EU data protection rules which aim to give citizens back control of their personal data and create a high, uniform level of data protection across the EU fit for the digital era was given their final approval by MEPs on Thursday. The reform also sets minimum standards on use of data for policing and judicial purposes.
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A view of an airport.
The new directive regulating the use of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data in the EU for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime was approved by Parliament on Thursday. It will oblige airlines to hand national authorities passengers' data for all flights from third countries to the EU and vice versa.
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European Parliament entrance.
Given concerns about the carcinogenicity and endocrine disruptive properties of the herbicide glyphosate, used in many farm and garden applications, the EU Commission should renew its marketing approval for just 7 years, instead of 15, and for professional uses only, Parliament says in a resolution voted on Wednesday. MEPs call for an independent review and the publication of all the scientific evidence that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) used to assess glyphosate.
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Panama papers tags.
MEPs urged the EU Commission and member states to step up their efforts to fight tax evasion and money laundering in a Tuesday afternoon debate prompted by the “Panama Papers” revelations about more than 200,000 offshore companies and their secret owners.
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European Parliament hall.
Existing tools and possible new measures to prevent and fight terrorism, protect EU citizens and prosecute perpetrators were discussed on Tuesday with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the Dutch Minister of Defence, Jeanine Hennis-Plaesschaert for the Council presidency, in the presence of EU Foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.
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view of a fence.
A centralised asylum system would allow the EU to better manage flows of migrants and asylum seekers, said the European Parliament on Tuesday. It also asked for safe and legal ways to be found for third country nationals to enter the Union without resorting to human smugglers at the risk of their lives.
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© Marie Dorigny Migrantes 003 Press
Policy leaders and practitioners joined together at Europe House in London on 4th March to discuss the refugee crisis and what more Europe can do to assist women facing hazardous journeys across the continent. The seminar aimed to raise awareness ahead of International Women's Day and the publication of an in-depth study of gender and asylum policy for the European Parliament by Mary Honeyball, Labour MEP for London.
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migrants stand in a fence.
The failure to date of the EU asylum system to cope with ever-rising numbers of migrant arrivals calls for a radical overhaul of the so-called Dublin rules, said Civil Liberties Committee MEPs on Wednesday. They propose establishing a central system for collecting and allocating asylum applications. The scheme, which could include a quota for each EU member state, would work on the basis of “hotspots” from which refugees would be distributed.
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farm of pigs.
To fight the growing resistance of bacteria to today’s antibiotics, the use of existing antimicrobial drugs should be restricted, and new ones should be developed, said the European Parliament on Thursday. In a vote on draft plans to update an EU law on veterinary medicines, MEPs advocate banning collective and preventive antibiotic treatment of animals, and back measures to stimulate research into new medicines.
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Plenary room of the EP in Brussels.
A deal among the key EU institutions – Parliament, the Council and the Commission - to improve the planning, quality and transparency of their law-making was endorsed by MEPs on Wednesday. It provides for more democratic long-term planning, a new database of planned EU laws, and more information for the press and public on negotiations among EU institutions.
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Plenary room of the EP in Brussels.
MEPs backed new rules on Wednesday to ensure that children who are suspected or accused of a crime get a fair trial. The directive, informally agreed with the Council last December, recognises the right of anyone under 18 to be assisted by a lawyer and to be accompanied by the holder of parental responsibility (or another appropriate adult) through most of the proceedings.
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Plenary room of the EP in Brussels.
MEPs demanded details on Wednesday of the deal struck by EU leaders with Turkey on the management of migrant and refugee flows, underlining that the international asylum rules must be respected. In a plenary debate with the Council and the Commission, most political group leaders insisted that EU accession negotiations with Turkey and talks on visa liberalisation for Turkish nationals travelling to the EU should not be linked to the refugee issue.
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farm of pigs.
Measures to prevent and halt outbreaks of animal diseases such as avian flu or foot and mouth disease, informally agreed by MEPs and the EU Council of Ministers in June 2015, were endorsed by Parliament on Tuesday. The draft EU law, on diseases that are transmissible among animals, and potentially to humans too, puts fresh emphasis on prevention and should help professionals to keep pace with scientific progress.
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kids having lunch.
Children across the EU should soon get the benefit of better-funded school milk, fruit and vegetable schemes, along with better education on healthy eating. A new draft new law to this end, provisionally agreed with EU ministers in December 2015 and approved by Parliament on Tuesday, will merge today's separate EU school milk and fruit schemes and boost their combined annual budget by €20 million to €250 million a year.
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View of a port.
Draft rules designed to boost the efficiency and cut the cost of services supplied at EU maritime ports, such as mooring and towage, were voted by Parliament on Tuesday. Ensuring transparency in the setting of fees for using port services and infrastructure, and in any public funding that ports receive, should help to prevent price abuse and market distortions and thus boost trade, MEPs say. But current port service arrangements could remain, provided they meet minimum requirements, they add.
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collage of asylum seekers.
A reform of EU migration and asylum policies and procedures needs to include gender-sensitive measures to ensure the safety of women seeking asylum, many of whom travel with young children and other dependents, say MEPs in a resolution voted on Tuesday.
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collage of MEPs.
When people in the UK vote on 23 June on their country’s EU membership, it will have consequences for the whole of Europe. MEPs debated on Wednesday 24 February the possible consequences of the referendum. Most MEPs said the country would be better off in the EU, while others insisted it would benefit from leaving.
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EU and UK flags.
Last week's settlement for the United Kingdom and its consequences for the Union as a whole was debated with Council President Donald Tusk and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday 24 February. Speakers discussed various issues such as the UK's role in Europe and the possible consequences of the referendum.
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European Council President Donald Tusk.
Leaders of the main political groups in Parliament welcomed a fair EU-UK deal as an offer to the British people to remain in the EU. But it's an "in or out" vote some said, not another phase in the negotiations. During the plenary debate on the outcome of the recent EU summit with European Council President Donald Tusk and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, many UK MEPs voiced arguments for and against EU membership.
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migrants walk.
Most of the one million-plus migrants and refugees who travelled to the European Union in 2015 came via Turkey. There are now more than 2.5 million refugees in Turkey itself. At the end of November 2015, the EU and Turkey struck a deal to try to control migrant flows into Europe. Turkey in return is to receive an extra €3 billion from the EU budget and member states in order to support refugees in the country.
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migrants walk.
The EU needs to overcome its paralysing fears and divisions and to manage migration and refugee flows effectively, said many MEPs in Tuesday's plenary debate with the Dutch Presidency and the Commission. Protecting the EU's external borders effectively is vital to safeguard the Schengen passport-free area, they observed. Some also called for zero tolerance with racist and violent attacks against migrants and refugees.
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View of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Members of the European Parliament will discuss the UK’s upcoming EU referendum tomorrow morning in Strasbourg, during the debate on the preparation to the European Council summit on 18 and 19 February.
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Youngster shows a flag ot the EU.
Do you want to make a positive impact on Europe’s future? Do you have ideas on how to develop a sustainable Europe? If the answer is yes, why don’t you join the second edition of the European Youth Event (EYE2016) from 20 to 21 May?
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baby being fed.
Draft EU rules that would allow baby foods to continue to contain up to three times more sugar than is recommended by the World Health Organisation were vetoed by the European Parliament on Wednesday, as they fail to protect infants and young children against obesity, say MEPs. Instead, they advocate reducing the EU sugar content limit to match the WHO recommendations.
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