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2016

 

The European Parliament Liaison Office with the US Congress in 2016

Changes were enacted in December 2015
The United States Visa Waiver Program (VWP) has allowed millions of citizens of European and other countries to travel to the US, and to remain there for as long as 90 days without requiring a visa, provided that they meet certain requirements. EU ambassadors recently called it "an essential tool in transatlantic relations". A new publication by Parliament's research service looks at changes to the programme.
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Antoine Ripoll, Head of the European Parliament Liaison Office with Congress
EPLO co-hosted a high profile event on Human Rights in China. The event was co-hosted with Wei Jing Sheng (Sakharov Laureate 1996) and Reporters Without Borders (Sakharov Laureate 2005). Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Congressman James McGovern, Congresswoman Judy Chu and Congressman Charles Rangel participated.
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Claude Moraes MEP
The EU Commission and U.S. Department of Commerce announced an agreement on transatlantic data sharing on Tuesday, 2 February. They say the new “Privacy Shield” framework will protect citizens’ privacy and give legal certainty to Google, Facebook and other companies that use their data. But there are no changes to the law and critical details are lacking. Promises alone will not convince the public, my fellow lawmakers, and – critically – the European Court of Justice, which invalidated the previous “Safe Harbor” arrangement last October.
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Parliament Delegation Chair David McAllister at a meeting with Representative Jim Sensenbrenner in October 2015
Following US President Barack Obama signature of Judicial Redress Act on 24 February, which gives European citizens a right to protect their privacy rights in US courts, David McAlister (EPP, DE), Chairman of EP's Delegation for relations with the United States, issued the following statement:
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Jean-Luc Robert
The European Parliament Liaison Office is greatly saddened to announce the passing of staff member Jean-Luc Robert. Over several years Jean-Luc made a huge contribution to the development of our office, particularly our outreach to think tanks and universities, as well as our internship program. Our friends and colleagues here in Washington DC are warmly invited to join the funeral service.
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EP President Martin Schulz
I am horrified by the despicable and cowardly attacks which took place in Brussels today. My thoughts go out first and foremost to the victims and the wounded, as well as their families and friends. These acts anger and sadden me at the same time.
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Jean-Luc Robert
Eight members of the employment and social affairs committee (EMPL) are visiting San Francisco and Silicon Valley, California, from 29 March to 1 April. Meetings will focus on the effect of digitalisation on job market, skills required for the jobs of the future and the changing working conditions in information technology and shared economy sectors.
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Left to Right: Geoffrey Harris (Deputy Head of EPLO) Ensaf Haidar (Raif Badawi Foundation), Delphine Halgand (Reporters Without Borders), Antoine Ripoll (Head of EPLO)
The European Parliament’s Washington DC office was honored to receive Ensaf Haidar on April 13. Ms. Haidar is the wife of Raif Badawi, a prisoner of conscience in Saudi Arabia and current laureate of Parliament's annual Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. Ms Haidar's visit to Washington DC, organized in cooperation with Reporters Without Borders, raised the profile of her husband's case ahead of President Obama's visit to Saudi Arabia.
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On April 14, after four years of negotiations, the European Parliament passed two pieces of landmark legislation on data protection. A regulation on data processing gives internet users stronger control over their personal information and introduces tough fines for companies breaking the rules. A separate law, approved the same day, will regulate cross-border of data processing by the police and judicial authorities.
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Come and visit us to learn more about the European parliament, test your knowledge and win some prizes! Our staff - and our neighbors at the EU delegation to the US in Washington DC - will be available from 10 am to 4 pm. There are gifts and fun activities for all the family. 27 EU embassies around town are also taking part. Hop on the free bus to join the action.
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This week Claude Moraes leads a delegation of EU Parliament lawmakers to meet government figures in Washington DC and tech companies large and small in Silicon Valley. Transatlantic commercial data flows top the agenda. Lawmakers are concerned that that the proposed EU-US “Privacy Shield” agreement, which allows bulk collection of Europeans’ data, may not adequately protect citizens’ privacy and legal rights. The last “Safe Harbor” deal was struck down by the European Court of Justice. In this statement Mr. Moraes says the EU and US need to make sure the new deal guarantees privacy rights so that companies avoid an alternative complex, costly system of contract clauses and rules that many cannot afford.
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