Plenary highlights: new Commission, EU's 2020 budget, climate change 


MEPs voted into office the new European Commission, approved the EU's budget for 2020, called for a climate neutral Europe and awarded the LUX film prize.

The European Parliament elected the new European Commission, bringing to an end the process of examining the proposed team of commissioners and ensuring that the EU’s executive body has the democratic legitimacy to act in the interests of Europeans.

On Wednesday, MEPs approved the EU budget for 2020, after it was approved by the Council on 25 November. Parliament secured more funding for climate action, research projects, infrastructure investment as well as initiatives helping the young, such asthe Erasmus+ programme and the Youth Employment Initiative.

The EU should commit to climate neutrality by 2050 under the Paris agreement and raise the ambition of its emission reduction target for 2030, said members in a resolution adopted on Thursday. In a separate resolution, Parliament called for the declaration of a climate emergency in Europe.

To mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November, the Parliament building in Strasbourg was lit up in orange on Monday evening. MEPs discussed measures to prevent violence against women and on Thursday passed a resolution calling on EU countries who have not yet ratified the Istanbul Convention to do so.

Following the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on 20 November, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on Wednesday, calling for more action to combat child trafficking and forced marriage. MEPs also stressed the crucial contribution that children make in the fight against climate change.

Following his release from prison in September, the 2018 Sakharov Prize laureate Oleg Sentsov was finally able to receive his award in person in Strasbourg on Tuesday. He spent five years in prison for protesting Russia’s annexation of his native Crimea. “I take this as a prize for all Ukrainian political prisoners who have been in Russian prisons and to all that are still there,” he said.

MEPs chose God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunya as the winner of the 2019 LUX Prize that promotes European films. “Petrunya is an example of cinema's power to change things,” said director Teona Mitevska after receiving the prize. Read why here.