Plenary highlights: Brexit, border controls and emissions 


Brexit and its consequences were discussed during a plenary debate on last week's EU summit with MEPs saying it is now time for Europe's leaders to speak up for the EU. During July's plenary session in Strasbourg MEPs also insisted on the need to protect whistle-blowers exposing scandals such as the Panama papers and approved a proposal to help better protect the EU's external borders.

Europe's political leaders need to stand up and defend the EU, MEPs said in Tuesday's debate Tuesday on the outcome of last week's EU summit on Brexit. Some MEPs insisted on the need to make the EU's workings more transparent and its policies more social minded and nearly all agreed that regardless of the outcome of any negotiations with the UK, there could be no return to business as usual for Europe. MEPs already discussed the results of the UK referendum during an extraordinary plenary session on 28 June.

MEPs approved on Wednesday plans to set up an EU border control system to help member states protect the EU's external borders. According to the latest Eurobarometer survey, 71% of Europeans want the EU to do more to protect the external borders. Our Facebook followers had the chance to ask all about it during our live interview with Parliament's lead negotiator Artis Pabriks.

In a non-legislative resolution adopted on Wednesday, MEPs called for fairer corporate taxation, including an EU register showing who owns companies, sanctions against uncooperative tax havens and codes of conduct for banks.

On Tuesday MEPs approved EU rules imposing stricter limits on emissions by non-road diesel engines, which includes anything from lawnmowers to locomotives and riverboats. They currently account for about 15% of all NOx emissions and 5% of particulate emissions in the EU.

Getting refugees into the labour market is crucial for their own well-being and also benefits the host country, say MEPs in a non-binding resolution adopted on Tuesday. However, clear rules need to be put in place to ensure local workers are adequately protected.

Companies providing critical infrastructure services such as the electricity supply or air traffic control will have to ensure they are able to resist cyber-attacks under new rules approved by MEPs on Wednesday.

The European Commission should next year focus on handling the migration crisis, boosting social rights and helping to create more and better jobs, MEPs said in a resolution adopted on Wednesday.

Consumers can look forward to simpler energy efficiency labelling for household appliances under new rules adopted on Wednesday.

MEPs vetoed on Thursday Commission plans to allow energy and sugary drinks containing caffeine to claim that they boost alertness and concentration.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico discussed his country's priorities at the help of the EU Council for the next six months with MEPs on Wednesday. The day before MEPs also discussed what the outgoing Dutch presidency had achieved over the last six months.