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Parliament in Session. Minute’s silence for victims of forest fires in Portugal and Spain

Top Story - 23-10-2017
Opening remarks by Antonio TAJANI, EP President: minute of silence for the victims of the forest fires in Portugal and Northern Spain and for the Irish victims of the hurricane Ophelia
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EP President Antonio Tajani commemorated those who died in recent forest fires in Portugal and Spain and Hurricane Ophelia in Ireland, at the opening of the session in Strasbourg. 

The fires are very worrying, said President Tajani, with 750 000 hectares burnt across Europe this year; more than 100 people have lost their lives in Portugal alone. An EU civil protection service must be urgently put in place to help communities in the event of an emergency.

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EU security policies were debated by Civil Liberties Committee MEPs with Security Union Commissioner Sir Julian King.

Comprehensive Security Assessment reviews the Union’s policies and instruments in the area of internal security over the last 15 years to see whether the activities are appropriate and effective and to identify any gaps requiring further action.

Innovative fertilisers produced from organic or recycled materials will have easier access to the EU single market, under draft rules put to the vote on Thursday. Existing EU rules on fertilisers cover mainly conventional fertilisers, typically extracted from mines or produced chemically, with high energy-consumption and CO2 production. Diverging national rules make it difficult for producers of organic fertilisers to sell and use them across the EU single market.

In a debate organised by the Constitutional Affairs Committee,  Parliament’s chief Brexit Coordinator Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE, BE) criticised the UK government for not ending the uncertainty created for EU citizens living in the UK since last year’s referendum.

He said that the British government’s recent offer to give EU citizens in the country “settled status” after Brexit is not what the EU needs at the end of withdrawal negotiations, stressing that the proposal risks downgrading the rights of EU citizens and creating a lot of administrative burden.

MEPs debate the outcome of the last European Council, which approved guidelines for the negotiations with the UK on the terms of its withdrawal from the EU, with European Council President Donald Tusk and the Commission, on Wednesday morning. The European Parliament had already adopted its key principles and conditions for the UK's withdrawal agreement on 5 April. In their resolution, MEPs gave priority to securing equal and fair treatment for EU citizens living in the UK and British citizens living in the EU. Any agreement at the end of UK-EU negotiations will need to win the approval of the European Parliament.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres delivered a formal speech to MEPs on Wednesday at noon. The UN Secretary-General addressed the situation in Syria, the refugee crisis and the EU’s key role in implementing the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. António Guterres was UN High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015 and Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002. He succeeded Ban Ki-moon as UN Secretary-General on 1 January 2017.

Press release:
António Guterres: "A strong and united EU is fundamental to a strong UN"

António Guterres was UN High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015 and Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002. He succeeded Ban Ki-moon as UN Secretary-General on 1 January 2017.

New rules enabling EU citizens with subscriptions for online films and TV series to access this content while temporarily in another EU country, were debated today and will be voted on Thursday. EU citizens visiting another EU country are often prevented from accessing online content services, such as films, TV series, music, games, or sporting events, for which they have paid subscriptions for in their home country. The new rules, informally agreed by Parliament and Council negotiators in February 2017, will remove these restrictions so that EU citizens can also watch, listen or play when abroad in another EU country for holidays, studies or business.

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