While countries such as Italy, Greece and Spain are dealing with an influx of asylum seekers and migrants, a bottleneck is forming in the French port city of Calais, where the numbers of migrants hoping to make it to England have reached staggering proportions.
During a recent delegation visit to the Italian island of Sicily, MEPs said that EU countries affected by the situation should receive more help from the other member states.
On 16 July Parliament's civil liberties committee approved the Commission plans for a binding emergency redistribution of at least 40,000 asylum seekers across the EU. MEPs have been pushing for a stronger common asylum policy and binding quotas for EU member states to take in asylum seekers.Parliament will vote on a position in September. More information and debate from EP LinkedIn
We have compiled a package of video reports on border checks in Spain and the 'Fence' in Morocco; video and photo reportages of the migrant camp in Calais; as well as the visit of an MEP delegation to Italy. The images speak for themselves.See our infographics on migration
EP President, Antonio Tajani attended inauguration ceremony of the Monument for the victims of the terrorist attack of 22 of March 2016.
Members and staff of the European Parliament held a minute of silence at 10:00 in front of the Hemicycle to commemorate the victims of 2016 Brussels attacks.
People from across Europe gathered in the European Parliament to share their views on the future of the European Union with MEPs. This event, called the Citizens’ Parliament, contributes to ongoing reflection on the EU as an asset for future, ahead of the EU heads of state or government meeting in Rome on 25 March. In the morning, Parliament’s President Antonio Tajani, MEPs and staff attended a ceremony commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. Also present were UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador and singer Barbara Hendricks and Austrian writer Robert Menasse.Press release
In Wednesday’s key debate, MEPs took stock of the outcome of the 9-10 March European Council and discussed the “Rome declaration” on the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome with Council President Donald Tusk, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Malta’s Deputy Prime Minister Louis Grech and Italy’s Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, who addressed the plenary for the first time since he took office in December 2016.
Plans to tighten up official food inspections, from farm to fork, were adopted by Parliament on Wednesday. The new rules, already informally agreed by MEPs and the Council, aims to improve food traceability, combat fraud and restore consumer trust in the integrity of the food chain.
The legislation will provide a comprehensive, integrated and more effective control system in the areas of food and feed safety rules, veterinary and plant health requirements, organic production and protected geographical indication rules.
For more information read press release
MEPs vote Tuesday 14 March on four directives concerning waste management, mainly waste from households and small firms, representing 8% of total waste. These plans are a first step towards creating a circular economy where products are designed in order to facilitate reuse. One of the key issues is how ambitious targets should be for recycling rates and limiting landfilling, which is probably the most harmful way of getting rid of waste.
For more information read press release
MEPs debated US President Donald Trump’s reinstatement of the “global gag” rule, which obliges US-funded foreign NGOs to certify that they will not perform or actively promote abortion, with Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid Christos Stylianides. The “Presidential Memorandum Regarding the Mexico City Policy” an executive order banning international NGOs that receive US funding from providing abortion services or offering information about abortions, was signed by Mr Trump on 23 January 2017.
New tools to sharpen big EU firms’ focus on their long-run performance, by fostering their shareholders’ commitment, will be debated during the Plenary Session on Monday and voted on Tuesday. They will include giving shareholders a say on directors’ pay and making it easier for firms to identify their shareholders. A press conference is scheduled after the vote at 16.00
All EU countries must share responsibility for hosting asylum seekers arriving in Europe. So it follows those that refuse to do so should not get solidarity funding from other EU member states, Cecilia Wikström (ALDE, SE), lead MEP on the reform the Dublin asylum system told the Civil Liberties Committee.
The Special Committee on Money Laundering, Tax avoidance and Tax Evasion (PANA) finalised its hearings on the roles of bankers, lawyers and accountants in the secret offshore financial vehicles. Journalists from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists were also attending. MEPs asked questions about offshore companies, non-cooperative jurisdictions, identifying beneficial owners and the schemes used to hide tax revenues and launder money, during two panel discussions on the French the Swiss cases.
MEPs are set to react to the Commission’s White Paper on the future of Europe on Wednesday at 15.00, following its presentation by EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Parliament’s President Antonio Tajani and Mr Juncker will hold a press conference after the debate, at around 16.30. Parliament set out its vision for the EU future in three resolutions voted by the full House on 16 February 2017. Before the start of the debate, from around 14.20, a number of Commissioners and Parliament group leaders will hold doorsteps at the protocol entrance on the ground floor of the Paul Henri Spaak building.Press release
The inquiry committee investigating the car emissions scandal voted today on its final report and recommendations, which call for stricter controls and implementation at EU level. The committee's aim is to investigate alleged contraventions and maladministration in relation to emission measurements in the car industry. It was set up in December 2015 following revelations about discrepancies between emissions in tests carried out in laboratories and in actual on-road performances for both pollutants and C02. For more information read press release
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered a formal speech to MEPs on the EU-Canada relationship in the Strasbourg chamber. Mr Trudeau is the first Canadian Prime Minister who addressed the European Parliament.On Wednesday 15 February, Parliament approved the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
The EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which aims to boost goods and services trade and investment flows, was approved by the European Parliament on Wednesday. The landmark trade deal could apply provisionally from as early as April 2017.
To counter the growing threats from “foreign fighters” travelling to and from conflict zones for terrorist purposes and “lone wolves” planning solo attacks, new EU counter-terrorism rules to be voted on Thursday will make it a crime to prepare acts of terrorism. The new rules, informally agreed by Parliament and Council negotiators in November 2016, will criminalise "preparatory acts" such as travelling abroad to join a terrorist group and returning to the EU, recruiting for terrorism, training or being trained, publicly inciting terrorism or advocating it, whether directly or indirectly through the glorification of such acts, or by providing funds to commit them.Read on for more information
Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen held a passionate speech in favour of the EU at the European Parliament and said the challenges facing Europe could only be tackled together. Van der Bellen was addressing MEPs in Strasbourg on 14 February as part of his first official foreign trip. During the speech he said: “The European idea is great. It is unique. It is worth all the effort."
Low-risk biological pesticides, which could replace those that may harm the environment and human health, cannot yet be as widely used as they should in the EU as arrangements for certifying them are too slow and complex, MEPs pointed out in a debate on Monday. In a resolution to be voted on Tuesday, they will ask the EU Commission to propose a revision of the rules.
For the programme of the visit see press release
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi was presenting the ECB’s perspective on economic and monetary developments to the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee. The discussion with MEPs also covered the ECB's quantitative easing programme amid rising inflation.
To protect adopted children’s best interests, MEPs have urged the EU Commission to require all EU countries to recognise each other’s adoption certificates automatically. Their resolution, voted on Thursday, proposes a European Certificate of Adoption to speed up the automatic recognition process. The resolution asks the Commission to propose rules on automatic EU-wide recognition of “domestic” adoptions, i.e. in cases where the adopters and the adopted child are resident in the same country. While the Hague Convention requires automatic recognition of adoptions in all its signatory countries, including all EU member states, it applies only to cases in which the parents and the adopted child are from two different countries.Press release
Political group leaders reacted to President Donald Trump's recent signing of an executive order banning nationals of seven countries from entering US terriroty. Most MEPs described the travel restrictions as arbitrary and defying the core values of western democracies, such as freedom, non-discrimination and solidarity.For more information read Press release
Europol director Rob Wainwright briefed Civil Liberties MEPs on the data breach on terrorism investigation files. The data breach, disclosed by Dutch journalists last November, happened when a former EUROPOL employee took home dossiers and put them on an insecure hard drive. The new Europol regulation taking effect on 1 May 2017, foresees stronger data protection safeguards and an enhanced democratic scrutiny role for the European Parliament and national parliaments.
The provisional deal with the Council on the updated EU firearms directive was endorsed by Parliament’s Internal Market Committee on Thursday by 25 votes to nine, with two abstentions. The revised law tightens the controls on blank firing and inadequately deactivated weapons like those used in the Paris terror attacks. It also requires EU countries to have a monitoring system in place for the issuance or renewal of licences and to exchange information with one another.For more information read press release
The EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which aims to boost goods and services trade and investment flows, was approved by the International Trade Committee on Tuesday by 25 votes to 15 with 1 abstention.The full House is to vote on the deal in February.For more information read press release
EU and national authorities should provide emergency aid to help migrants and refugees to cope with freezing temperatures and snow in several parts of Europe, MEPs urged on Wednesday. They also called on EU governments to keep their promises to transfer thousands of asylum-seekers, particularly from Greece, to other countries.
Brexit, EU relations with the US and Russia, migration, economic and social progress, and the defence union were the key political challenges for 2017 debated by MEPs, Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen and Council President Donald Tusk on Wednesday. Mr Tusk briefed MEPs on the outcome of the December 2016 meeting of EU heads of state or government.
Antonio Tajani (EPP, IT) has been elected new President of the European Parliament. He obtained 351 votes in the forth round of voting in Parliament's presidential election on Tuesday evening. Gianni Pittella (S&D, IT) received 282 votes.For more information on election read: Antonio Tajani elected new president of the European Parliament
Political groups are preparing for the mid-term elections of the president, 14 vice-presidents and five quaestors of the European Parliament, as well as the composition of all parliamentary committees.See our archive multimedia collection of EP Presidents
Iraqi Yazidi Islamic State survivors and activists Nadia Murad and Lamiya Aji Bashar received Parliament’s 2016 Sakharov Prize during a ceremony in Strasbourg today. After escaping sexual enslavement by Islamic State they both became spokespeople for women affected by the terrorist group's campaign of sexual violence and for the persecuted Yazidi minority.More information: Sakharov Prize: Nadia Murad and Lamiya Aji Bashar to receive this year's award
The Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs is holding a Monetary Dialogue with European Central Bank President Draghi today. The debate is focusing on the ECB's perspective on economic and monetary developments and the consequences of Brexit for euro area financial stability.
The German-Austrian-Romanian co-production “Toni Erdmann” has won the 2016 European Parliament LUX Prize, President Martin Schulz announced the winner in a ceremony at the Chamber in Strasbourg today. The film explores a complex relationship between a father and daughter in contemporary corporate culture. For more information on Lux Prize click here
The question of wheter EU accession talks with Turkey could be frozen or made subject to further conditions will be debated with EU Foreign Policy chief Federica Mogherini this afternoon. A resolution will be voted on Thursday. Four months after the 15 July coup attempt in Turkey, the deterioration of democracy there is straining EU-Turkey relations.
Monetary policy is not enough. The EU needs balanced structural funds, solid national budgets and responsible fiscal policies in member states, said MEPs in Monday evening’s debate with European Central Bank President Mario Draghi on the ECB’s activity report for 2015. They also cited low interest rates, low inflation and weak demand as priority issues that should be tackled.For more information read: Monetary policy not enough, structural reforms needed, MEPs tell Mario Draghi
The inquiry committee into emission measurements in the car industry (EMIS) continued its work on Monday afternoon by hearing Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Chief Technical Officer Harald Wester, who was quizzed mainly on possible “defeat devices” in Fiat diesel engines and gap between emission values in laboratory testing and real driving conditions. On Thursday morning, the Committee will hear Alexander Dobrindt, the German Federal Minister of Transport and Olaf Lies, Lower Saxony’s State Minister for the Economy.For more information read press release
The UNFCCC Paris Agreement on fighting climate change, the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal, will come into force next month, having met the necessary conditions much earlier than predicted, as the European Parliament agreed to its ratification by the European Union in a historic vote. The EU will join the US, China and India, other global players and major greenhouse gas emitters, at a November meeting of Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA) in Marrakesh. For more information read press release
The inquiry committee investigating the car emissions testing scandal held a hearing during which members questioned Janez Potočnik, who was environment commissioner from 2010 to 2014 and Parliament Vice President Antonio Tajani, who was the commissioner responsible for industry and entrepreneurship during the same period.
The EU has experienced an unprecedented influx of migrants over the last few years. 74% of Europeans want the EU to do more to manage the situation, according to the latest Eurobarometer poll commissioned by the European Parliament. In addition two thirds of respondents said EU action on migration was insufficient.
See our audiovisual material on migration here.Read more to discover what measures the European Parliament is working on.
Exactly 60 years ago, on the 8th of August 1956, in the mines of Marcinelle in Belgium, a fire resulted in 262 casualties. Many of the victims were immigrants, mostly Italians, but also Polish, Greek, German, French, Hungarian and more, in what was one of the biggest post WWII industrial accidents in Europe. Following this catastrophe, several decisions by the High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community led to significant headway in Europe regarding health and safety at work.
Members of the Foreign Affairs Committee discussed the motives and the possible consequences of Turkey's recent attempted coup, which claimed hundreds of lives and pushed the country in a turmoil, with Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn and representatives of the European External Action Service this morning.MEPs emphasized the need to protect democratic freedoms and assessed also the future of the EU-Turkey relations.
Committee members also elected the vice-chairs.
Click here for the mandate and here for the full list of 65 members.
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 carried out by the European Parliament. Those participating were asked if more or less common action is required on a range of different issues. Respondents believe that more common EU action is required in the vast majority of policy areas they were asked about. The fight against terrorism (82%) and the fight against unemployment (77%) were singled out as the main priorities by people.