Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 32 n° 338

Posts Tagged ‘parliament’

European Parliament: The week ahead 30 November – 06 December 2020

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 30 novembre 2020

Bruxelles. Legislative and budget negotiations. MEPs from several committees will continue negotiating with the EU Council Presidency on a number of legislative files, including MFF-related programmes and the 2021 EU budget. The reform of EU cohesion policy, the Maritime and Fisheries Fund, Defence Fund as well as new rules on nitrogen oxides (NOx) emitted by cars are among the files that look close to a deal. Water. MEPs in the Environment, Public Health and Food Security Committee are expected to approve the deal with member states on the Drinking Water Directive. They are also set to call for the Water Framework Directive (WFD) to be implemented more quickly, as its objectives have not yet been reached due to inadequate funding, insufficient enforcement and broad use of exemptions. Concerns over new chemicals and pollutants, reporting methodologies, water pricing policies, hydropower and urban wastewater treatment may also be highlighted (Tuesday). EU Strategy on adapting to Climate Change. The Environment, Public Health and Food Security Committee will vote on an EU strategy to minimise the impact of irreversible climate change and extreme weather events. The right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, stress tests for high-emitting industry sectors to assess whether they are eligible for EU funds, and national adaptation strategies monitored by the Commission should be among the adopted plans (Tuesday). Rule of Law/Hungary and Poland. The Civil Liberties Committee will discuss the latest developments on procedures linked to Article 7.1 of the Treaty on EU and the state of LGBTI rights in Hungary and Poland. Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders, Equality Commissioner Helena Dalli, representatives of the German Presidency of the Council as well as of Hungarian and Polish national authorities have been invited to the debate (Tuesday). Migration/Alleged pushbacks during Frontex operations. MEPs in the Civil Liberties Committee will quiz Frontex director Fabrice Leggeri over allegations that the agency’s staff were involved in pushbacks of asylum-seekers by Greek border guards. Media revelations about the pushbacks led to a Frontex internal inquiry (Tuesday). Implementation of the Dublin III Regulation. The Civil Liberties Committee is set to identify the key shortcomings of the current EU rules on asylum, paying particular attention to the situation of the member states at the external borders. MEPs are likely to propose possible ways forward to improve responsibility sharing in the management of asylum requests (Tuesday). The right to disconnect. The Employment and Social Affairs Committee will put forward proposals on workers’ right to disconnect digitally from work outside of working hours and during holidays. MEPs are likely to stress that legislation and provisions on working time must be respected, even more so in COVID-19 times when so many are working from home. They are likely to underline that fair working conditions and employers’ duties and obligations are particularly important (Tuesday). Conference of Presidents/Portuguese Presidency. EP President Sassoli and political group leaders will meet with Portugal’s Prime Minister António Costa to discuss the priorities of the Portuguese EU Council Presidency starting on 1 January 2021. After the meeting, President Sassoli and Prime Minister Costa will hold a press conference at 12.45 (Wednesday). President’s diary. EP President David Sassoli will meet with European Economic and Social Committee President Christa Schweng and European Commission Vice-President and High-Representative Josep Borrell, on Tuesday. On Wednesday, President Sassoli will join a video meeting on the follow-up to the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee hearing on sexual harassment in the EP. Finally, the EP President will have a video meeting with the Portuguese Parliament’s President, Ferro Rodrigues, also in the run-up to the next Presidency.

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Deal on lobsters gets go-ahead from Parliament

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 29 novembre 2020

Bruxelles. Parliament agreed to eliminate EU tariffs on lobsters in return for lower US tariffs on a range of EU exports.In exchange for the elimination of duties on live or frozen lobster imported from the US, the EU will get duty relief of a comparable economic value on its own products, such as prepared meals, certain crystal glassware and cigarette lighters. This is the first EU-US negotiated tariff-reduction in over 20 years, and is applicable for all WTO trading partners. Parliament supported the agreement with 638 votes for, 45 against and 11 abstentions “as a basis for renewed constructive transatlantic engagement”.The resolution notes that the EU and the US have been engaged in a dispute over US tariffs levied in June 2018 on European steel and aluminium and agricultural products.“Over the last few years, trade relations between the EU and the US have been marked by tension. This deal on lobsters clearly shows that the EU prefers cooperation to confrontation. The US must stop slapping unilateral tariffs on our companies. We have to settle the Airbus-Boeing case and explore how we can act together, for example, on WTO reform. We must keep in mind that we have more in common than what divides us,” said the rapporteur who also chairs the Trade Committee.Council has already approved the regulation. Following the plenary vote, the regulation will enter into force on the day following its publication in the Official Journal, with retroactive effect from 1 August 2020.

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Deal on lobsters gets go-ahead from Parliament

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 29 novembre 2020

Bruxelles. In exchange for the elimination of duties on live or frozen lobster imported from the US, the EU will get duty relief of a comparable economic value on its own products, such as prepared meals, certain crystal glassware and cigarette lighters. This is the first EU-US negotiated tariff-reduction in over 20 years, and is applicable for all WTO trading partners. Parliament supported the agreement with 638 votes for, 45 against and 11 abstentions “as a basis for renewed constructive transatlantic engagement”.The resolution notes that the EU and the US have been engaged in a dispute over US tariffs levied in June 2018 on European steel and aluminium and agricultural products.“Over the last few years, trade relations between the EU and the US have been marked by tension. This deal on lobsters clearly shows that the EU prefers cooperation to confrontation. The US must stop slapping unilateral tariffs on our companies. We have to settle the Airbus-Boeing case and explore how we can act together, for example, on WTO reform. We must keep in mind that we have more in common than what divides us,” said the rapporteur who also chairs the Trade Committee.Council is expected to approve the regulation in December. Following the plenary vote and the Council approval, the regulation will enter into force on the day following its publication in the Official Journal, with retroactive effect from 1 August 2020.

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Parliament wants to better protect consumers from unsafe products

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 28 novembre 2020

The resolution on product safety in the Single Market was adopted on Wednesday with 688 in favour (eight against and one abstention). MEPs emphasise that all products circulating within the EU must comply with product safety rules – whether manufactured inside or outside the EU – in order to assure fairer competition between companies, guarantee traceability, and provide reliable product information to consumers. They urge online platforms and marketplaces to take proactive measures to tackle misleading practices.MEPs insist that if EU rules are not respected, products that pose a safety hazard, contain dangerous chemicals, or have unsafe software must be effectively recalled from the EU market and that the market surveillance system has to be improved. They also stress that it is key to adapt product safety rules to the digital transition. Emerging technologies must be safe and secure. To guarantee this, effective checks must be developed to test high-risk products that use Artificial Intelligence, they say.The resolution refers also to the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, underlining that it is of paramount importance that products used in emergencies, especially medical and protective equipment, are safe.“Existing product safety rules have to be made fit for the digital age, since products with emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence embedded in them challenge these rules. All products sold in the EU must be safe, regardless of if they are sold online or offline, produced in or outside the EU, or include emerging technologies or not. However, innovation should not be held back by red tape. We have to concentrate on closing these existing legal gaps,” said Rapporteur Marion Walsmann (EPP, DE).

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Dual use goods: Parliament and EU ministers agree on new EU export rules

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 12 novembre 2020

Bruxelles. A new set of rules for exporting dual use products and technologies, including cyber-surveillance tools, were agreed on Monday.The reviewed rules, agreed by Parliament and Council negotiators, govern the export of so-called dual use goods, software and technology – for example, high-performance computers, drones and certain chemicals – with civilian applications that might be repurposed to be used in ways which violate human rights.The current update, made necessary by technological developments and growing security risks, includes new criteria to grant or reject export licenses for certain items. Parliament negotiators, mandated by a 2018 report, have succeeded in substantially strengthening human rights considerations among those new criteria to avoid that certain surveillance and intrusion technologies exported from the EU contribute to human rights abuses. • got agreement on setting up an EU-wide regime to control cyber-surveillance items that are not listed as dual-use items in international regimes, in the interest of protecting human rights and political freedoms; • strengthened member states’ public reporting obligations on export controls, so far patchy, to make the cyber-surveillance sector in particular more transparent; • increased the importance of human rights as licensing criterion; and • agreed on rules to swiftly include emerging technologies in the regulation. The informal political agreement now needs to be formally endorsed by the International Trade Committee and Parliament as a whole, as well as the Council, before it can enter into effect.

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Scrutiny of any EU-UK deal is a democratic responsibility, says European Parliament

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 7 novembre 2020

The Chair of Parliament’s UK Coordination Group, David McAllister (EPP, DE) made the following statement after Wednesday’s briefing with the chief EU negotiator.“Today, we met Michel Barnier and noted with deep concern that the list of fundamental divergences remains long. While the EU chief negotiator clearly stated that the EU wants to conclude an agreement, Parliament underlines that we will not give up its position on key issues in the area of level playing field, governance and fisheries. The EU needs to protect its long-term political interests.As negotiations enter their final stage, we want to point out that giving the European Parliament sufficient time to scrutinize any agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom before giving its consent is of utmost importance. This is not merely a procedural matter, but, above all, a democratic responsibility.We are well aware that the negotiations have reached a critical juncture. A completion of a deal clearly requires additional time. We will take our democratic responsibility seriously.We have been in permanent contact with Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier and his team, as well as with our Council counterparts. We are all keenly aware that completing a consent procedure requires time, and would like to urge all parties to allow for a thorough democratic scrutiny of the future agreement.” eszter.balazs@europarl.europa.eu, agnese.krivade@europarl.europa.eu, budg-press@europarl.europa.eu,

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EU farm policy reform: Statements by Parliament’s chief negotiators

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 24 ottobre 2020

Statement by Norbert Lins (EPP, DE), Chair of the Agriculture Committee: “A large majority in the European Parliament has adopted the key points of the parliamentary position on the future Common Agricultural Policy this week. I would like to thank all rapporteurs and their teams for their hard work and dedication.” “As agriculture ministers also reached their agreement after two and a half years on Tuesday night, negotiations between the Council and Parliament can begin shortly. It was about time; European agriculture needs clarity for the next few years.” Statement by Peter Jahr (EPP, DE), rapporteur on the Strategic plans regulation:“Parliament has recognised an explicit link between the farm sector and the Paris Agreement and combines current direct payments with new eco-schemes and a dedicated green budget.” “We want a fairer distribution of subsidies, greater support for small and family farms, fair working conditions, and direct payments to be capped at €100 000 minus half of labour costs.” “We are more ambitious than the Council, but we are all committed to a policy shift that will focus on achieving concrete results. This is the biggest paradigm shift in the CAP since 1992.” Statement by Eric Andrieu (S&D, FR), rapporteur on the Common Market Organisation regulation:“Too many farmers lose their money, their jobs, sometimes even their lives in agricultural crises. I am glad that Parliament backed my efforts to create an effective mechanism to prevent and better manage such crises.”“We should not believe anymore that the market can regulate itself. Agricultural markets are structurally unstable, but we can do something about it.”“The Commission should have more powers and play a more active role in regulating the sector. We must ensure fair and stable income for farmers to support their green transition.” Statement by Ulrike Müller (RE, DE), rapporteur on the Financing, management and monitoring regulation:“The EU farm policy must stimulate farmers in their transition towards a modern economy and reward them for achievements in the areas of environment, climate, and animal welfare.” “By putting targeted eco-schemes, programmes and also investments at the centre of this reform, we have assured a step towards a more sustainable and competitive agricultural sector.” “We have also managed to integrate innovative ideas for generational renewal in the new CAP rules, and increased funds aimed at supporting young farmers.”

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Parliament to finalise its position on CAP reform proposal

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 23 ottobre 2020

Bruxelles. Parliament will vote from 13.15 to 14.30 on the three legislative proposals to reform the Common Agricultural Policy as amended by MEPs in votes held throughout the current plenary week. The results of the final votes will be announced at 17.00.The then adopted texts will serve as the basis for EP negotiations with the Council to ensure 2023-2027 EU funding for agriculture stimulates sustainable farming and accessibility of affordable quality food throughout the EU.Women in foreign policy. At 9.00 MEPs will vote on a resolution proposing ways to improve gender equality in the EU’s foreign and security policy. Results will be announced at 12.45.The first voting session lasts from 09.00 until 1015; results will be announced at 12.45. MEPs will vote on further amendments tabled to the legislative proposals on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform and on the above-mentioned resolution on Foreign Affairs.The second voting session lasts from 13.15 until 14.30, on the CAP reform; results will be announced at 17.00.The outcome of votes are published shortly after having been announced in plenary, on Parliament´s plenary homepage, under the column “Priority information and documents”

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European parliament: Plenary session

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 22 ottobre 2020

Parliament President David Sassoli will announce this year’s winner of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought at 12.00. Three finalists have been shortlisted by the Foreign Affairs and Development committees for the Conference of Presidents to decide on the winner. Golden Passports no more. Serious security threats through the sale of EU passports and visas to criminals and the recent launch of infringement procedures by the Commission against “Golden Passport” schemes in Malta and Cyprus will be discussed in a debate with Commissioner Didier Reynders at 10.00. Energy and Green Deal. MEPs will discuss with Commissioner Kadri Simson the current state of the Energy Union and how to align the EU energy policy with the European Green Deal, at around 11.00. Women under-represented in foreign policy. Starting at 9.15, MEPs will discuss with Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen how to improve gender equality in the EU´s foreign and security policy. A resolution will be put to the final vote on Friday morning. Votes: The first voting session lasts from 09.15 until 10.30; results will be announced at 13.00. MEPs will vote on further amendments tabled to the legislative proposals on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform. The second voting session lasts from 14.30 until 15.45, for the final vote on a resolution to fight global deforestation, and votes on amendments to the resolution on gender equality in EU foreign policy, and to the CAP reform; results will be announced at 18.15. The third voting session will last from 20.00 to 21.15, with votes on further amendments to the CAP. The results are scheduled to be announced on Friday at 8.45.

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Parliament leads the way on first set of EU rules for Artificial Intelligence

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 21 ottobre 2020

Bruxelles. On Tuesday, MEPs adopted proposals on how the EU can best regulate Artificial Intelligence (AI) in order to boost innovation, ethical standards and trust in technology. The European Parliament is among the first institutions to put forward recommendations on what AI rules should include with regards to ethics, liability and intellectual property rights. These recommendations will pave the way for the EU to become a global leader in the development of AI. The Commission legislative proposal is expected early next year. The legislative initiative by Iban García del Blanco (S&D, ES) urges the EU Commission to present a new legal framework outlining the ethical principles and legal obligations to be followed when developing, deploying and using artificial intelligence, robotics and related technologies in the EU including software, algorithms and data. It was adopted with 559 votes in favour, 44 against, and 88 abstentions.Future laws should be made in accordance with several guiding principles, including: a human-centric and human-made AI; safety, transparency and accountability; safeguards against bias and discrimination; right to redress; social and environmental responsibility; and respect for privacy and data protection.High-risk AI technologies, such as those with self-learning capacities, should be designed to allow for human oversight at any time. If a functionality is used that would result in a serious breach of ethical principles and could be dangerous, the self-learning capacities should be disabled and full human control should be restored.The legislative initiative by Axel Voss (EPP, DE) calls for a future-oriented civil liability framework, making those operating high-risk AI strictly liable for any resulting damage. A clear legal framework would stimulate innovation by providing businesses with legal certainty, whilst protecting citizens and promoting their trust in AI technologies by deterring activities that might be dangerous.The rules should apply to physical or virtual AI activity that harms or damages life, health, physical integrity, property, or that causes significant immaterial harm if it results in “verifiable economic loss”. While high-risk AI technologies are still rare, MEPs believe that their operators should hold insurance similar to that used for motor vehicles.The legislative initiative was adopted with 626 votes in favour, 25 against, and 40 abstentions.

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Parliament objects to legislation on food products that might be harmful to kids

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 12 ottobre 2020

Parliament calls on the Commission to apply the precautionary principle and to remove E171 from the EU list of permitted food additives that are currently used mainly to colour confectionery, bakery and pastry products as well as chewing gum, candies, chocolates, and ice cream. As these products are very popular with children, MEPs are particularly concerned about them being potentially very exposed to the additive. They underline that France banned sales of food products containing titanium dioxide as of 1 January 2020 and that 85 000 citizens across Europe have signed a petition to support the French ban.The second objection concerning the Commission’s proposal to amend the rules setting maximum levels of acrylamide in certain foodstuffs for infants and young children was also approved with 469 votes to 137 and 90 abstentions. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) previously confirmed that acrylamide, which is a processing contaminant that occurs naturally when some foods are heated, potentially increases the risk of developing cancer in all age groups. In the resolution, MEPs request that the Commission lower the proposed maximum level allowed for two food products often given to infants and young children, as they are the most exposed, based on their body weight. They also underline that biscuits and rusks that are not specifically produced for infants and young children, but are often given to or even marketed to them, should face the same, more stringent demands. As Parliament has adopted these two objections, the Commission cannot approve the proposed actions and is now obliged to amend or withdraw them.

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Parliament calls on member states to fully exploit the European Youth Guarantee

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 12 ottobre 2020

Bruxelles. In a resolution adopted on Thursday with 574 votes to 77 and 43 abstentions, the European Parliament urges member states to ensure that young people who register for the Youth Guarantee schemes are offered “good-quality, varied and tailored jobs, training or internships”. With the youth unemployment rate at 17.6% in the EU in August 2020 (up from 14.9% before the COVID-19 crisis) and expected to continue rising, Parliament calls for more funds to strengthen the Youth Guarantee scheme for 2021-2027. MEPs deplore that in July the European Council significantly reduced, from 15 to 10%, ESF+ resources under shared management earmarked to support action to boost youth employment, which is “contradictory to the Union’s ambition to invest in young people”.Parliament condemns the practice of unpaid internships, traineeships and apprenticeships, which exploit young people’s work and violate their rights. It calls on the Commission to table a legal framework for an effective and enforceable ban on these practices. MEPs stress that the Youth Guarantee should be embedded in a coherent set of social and welfare policies to ensure that the various subgroups of young people who are not in employment, education or training (NEETs) have access to it. “Any discrimination experienced by young people on any grounds must be actively combatted in Youth Guarantee schemes”, they say.

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Parliament says shipping industry must contribute to climate neutrality

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 23 settembre 2020

To decarbonise maritime transport, Parliament voted to include CO2 emissions from the sector in the EU Emissions Trading System.On Wednesday, Parliament adopted its position on the Commission’s proposal to revise the EU system for monitoring, reporting and verifying CO2 emissions from maritime transport (the “EU MRV Regulation”) with 520 votes to 94 and 77 abstentions.MEPs largely agree that reporting obligations by the EU and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) should be aligned, as proposed by the Commission. They note, however, that the IMO has made insufficient progress in reaching an ambitious global agreement on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. They ask the Commission to examine the overall environmental integrity of the measures decided by the IMO, including the targets under the Paris Agreement. A global ambitious agreement on GHG emissions from shipping is urgently needed, they add.
Parliament wants maritime transport to be more ambitious and believes ships of 5000 gross tonnage and above should be included in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS).However, MEPs say that market-based emissions reduction policies are not enough and request that shipping companies reduce their annual average CO2 emissions per transport unit for all their ships by at least 40% by 2030.MEPs call for an “Ocean Fund” for the period from 2022 to 2030, financed by revenues from auctioning allowances under the ETS, to make ships more energy-efficient and to support investment in innovative technologies and infrastructure, such as alternative fuel and green ports. 20 % of the revenues under the Fund should be used to contribute to protecting, restoring and efficiently managing marine ecosystems impacted by global warming.
Rapporteur Jutta Paulus (Greens/EFA) said: “Today, we are sending a strong signal in line with the European Green Deal and the climate emergency: Monitoring and reporting CO2 emissions is important, but statistics alone do not save a single gram of greenhouse gas! That’s why we are going further than the Commission proposal and demanding tougher measures to reduce emissions from maritime shipping”.

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Parliament wants the EU to tackle pharmaceutical pollution

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 23 settembre 2020

The EU must take measures towards more sensible use and disposal of pharmaceuticals to prevent risks to the environment and public health, says Parliament.
Parliament on Thursday approved a resolution with 671 votes to 15 and 10 abstentions calling for new measures to tackle pharmaceutical pollution, which causes long-term damage to ecosystems, reduces drug efficiency and increases resistance to antibiotics.While MEPs welcome the Commission’s communication from March 2019, they regret the serious delay in presenting a strategic approach and concrete actions. They call for more careful use of medicines, the development of greener manufacturing and better waste management in the EU.MEPs stress that pharmaceutical products both harm ecosystems and reduce their future effectiveness, e.g. by causing antibiotic resistance. Medicines can affect water bodies, as they cannot be effectively filtered by wastewater treatment plants. In spite of often-low concentrations, there is a risk that patient health can be affected in the long-term. MEPs are particularly concerned that the endocrine-disrupting properties of many medicines end up in the environment.
MEPs are worried by the ever-growing overall consumption of medication per capita in the EU and call for member states to share best practices in limiting preventive use of antibiotics and in disposing of unused medicines. They encourage doctors and veterinarians to provide information on how to properly dispose of unused medicines.According to MEPs, measures to reduce the pollution should not only include end-of-pipe controls (e.g. improved wastewater treatment), but encompass the entire life cycle of drugs, from design and production to disposal.The resolution also underlines the need for further development of “greener pharmaceuticals”, which are as effective for patients, but less harmful to the environment. In this context, it is important to make them more biodegradable whilst not impairing their efficacy.

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Parliament requests more support for regions to make energy transition a success

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 23 settembre 2020

MEPs adopted Parliament’s position on the Commission proposal on the JTF with 417 votes in favour, 141 against and 138 abstentions.Parliament insisted on a substantial increase in JTF resources from the EU budget for 2021-2027 (EUR 25 billion in 2018 prices compared to EUR 11 billion proposed by the Commission and the decrease to EUR 7,5 billion agreed by the European Council). This amount should be supplemented by EUR 32 billion in current prices, as proposed under the EU Recovery Instrument.Moreover, MEPs confirmed key provisions outlined in the draft recommendations by the Regional Development Committee: Providing support to people, the economy and the environment, Creation of a “Green Rewarding Mechanism”, allowing 18% of the total JTF resources to be allocated to member states that reduce their greenhouse gas emissions more quickly than others

    • A share of 1% of the total amount will be allocated for islands, and 1% for the outermost regions,
    • A co-financing rate of up to 85% of costs for eligible projects across the EU,
    • Possibility to transfer resources from other cohesion funds on a voluntary basis,
    • Broadening the scope to include microenterprises, sustainable tourism, social infrastructure, universities and public research institutions, energy storage technologies, low-emission district heating, smart and sustainable mobility, digital innovation, including digital and precision farming, projects fighting energy poverty, as well as culture, education and community building,
    • A derogation for investments in activities related to natural gas, for regions heavily reliant on the extraction and combustion of coal, lignite, oil shale or peat, if they qualify as “environmentally sustainable” in accordance with the Taxonomy Regulation and comply with six additional cumulative conditions.
      In addition, only 50% of the national allocation will be available for countries which have not yet committed to a 2050 national target for climate neutrality, until such a target is adopted.

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Appeal A New Start for Europe addressed to the European Parliament

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 20 luglio 2020

The President of the UEF, Sandro Gozi, MEP of Renew Europe, handed over to President David Sassoli the almost 1200 signatures collected by the Italian section of the UEF, the Movimento Federalista Europeo, together with the Gioventù Federalista Europea, on the Appeal A New Start for Europe addressed to the European Parliament. The initiative involved in Italy, between the beginning of June and the beginning of July, exponents at all levels of the political world, academics, representatives of the world of business and labour.”The Appeal and its signatories are calling for a federal Europe: they are asking the European Parliament to maintain its ambitious position on the new multi-annual budget and the Next Generation EU Fund, they are calling for new own resources in the new Multiannual Financial Framework to develop the creation of a fiscal autonomy of the EU and they are calling for a federal reform of the European Union” explained Sandro Gozi in handing over to President Sassoli the dossier of the Appeal with the list of signatories. “We have an historic opportunity and responsibility. We must look to the future and to the well-being of European citizens and the next generations by launching a major new plan for economic, digital and ecological recovery and transition, managed by the EU, charging the giants of digital, finance and polluters. The Federalists and the European Parliament are engaged together in this battle”.

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Deal on digitalisation of access to justice will benefit citizens

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 3 luglio 2020

Parliament and Council negotiators reached an agreement to make access to justice faster, cheaper and more user-friendly for EU citizens and businesses.The two pieces of legislation under negotiation between the two EU legislators, respectively on taking evidence and on service of documents, aim to make judicial cross-border cooperation between national courts more efficient through digitalisation in civil and commercial matters.Main elements of the agreement:
• Courts will be able to exchange documents electronically: changes in both regulations establish a decentralised IT system that will allow for faster, more secure and effective exchange of documents between member states;
• The decentralised IT system will be composed of national, interoperable IT systems, without involving any EU institutions;
• Data protection: information will be kept strictly confidential and personal data and privacy will be protected when documents are transmitted and evidence is being taken; personal data which is deemed irrelevant for a specific case will be deleted immediately;
• Increased use of distance communication: modern communication technologies, such as videoconferencing, that can lower costs and help evidence to be taken more quickly, will be used appropriately and with the consent of the person to be heard.
Greater legal certainty, combined with simple and digitalised procedures, will encourage individuals and businesses to engage in cross-border transactions, thereby boosting trade within the EU, and hence the functioning of the internal market.Parliament and Council now need to endorse the final version of the agreement before it is published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The two regulations will enter into force 20 days following their publication.

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Parliament condemns all forms of racism, hate and violence and calls for action

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 24 giugno 2020

There is no place for racism and discrimination in our societies, say MEPs, asking the EU to take a strong and decisive stand against racism, violence and injustice.In a resolution adopted on Friday with 493 votes to 104 and 67 abstentions, the Parliament “strongly condemns the appalling death of George Floyd” in the US, as well as similar killings elsewhere in the world. MEPs call on the US authorities to address structural racism and inequalities, criticise the police crackdowns on peaceful protesters and journalists and President Trump’s threat to deploy the army as well as his “inflammatory rhetoric”.
The Chamber supports the recent massive protests around the world against racism and discrimination and condemns “white supremacism in all its forms”. MEPs denounce the “episodes of looting, arson, vandalism and destruction of public and private property caused by some violent demonstrators” demanding at the same time that “the disproportionate use of force and racist tendencies in law enforcement” be publicly denounced whenever and wherever they occur.Use of force by law enforcement authorities should always be “lawful, proportionate, necessary and the last resort”, MEPs stress, insisting that “excessive use of force against crowds contravenes the principle of proportionality”. The EP underlines that cases of police brutality and abuse should not go unpunished and that citizens have the right to record scenes of police violence to use as evidence.
The text calls for the EU and its member states to end racial and ethnic profiling in criminal law enforcement, counter-terrorism measures and immigration controls. New technologies in this field must not discriminate against racial and ethnic minorities, it adds.Police and law enforcement authorities must have “an exemplary record on anti-racism and anti-discrimination” and should strengthen training in this regard, MEPs say, calling also for more diversity within police forces.The EU institutions and the member states should officially acknowledge past injustices and crimes against humanity committed against black people, people of colour and Roma, according to Parliament, which declares slavery a crime against humanity.Combating discrimination in all areas must be an EU priority, say MEPs, who urge the Council to “immediately conclude the negotiations on the Horizontal Directive on non-discrimination”, blocked by EU countries since the Commission proposed it in 2008.Freedom of speech does not protect racism and xenophobia. The resolution underlines that racist and xenophobic speech is not covered by freedom of expression. MEPs regret that extremist and xenophobic political forces worldwide increasingly resort to the “distortion of historical, statistical and scientific facts and employ symbolism and rhetoric that echo aspects of totalitarian propaganda, including racism, anti-Semitism and hatred towards minorities”.

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Green finance: Parliament adopts criteria for sustainable investments

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 22 giugno 2020

Parliament has adopted new legislation on sustainable investments. It lays down six environmental objectives and allows economic activity to be labelled as environmentally sustainable if it contributes to at least one of the objectives without significantly harming any of the others.Establishing clear European “green” criteria for investors is key to raising more public and private funding so that the EU can become carbon neutral by 2050 as set out in the European Green Deal as well as to prevent ‘greenwashing’.The Commission estimates that Europe needs around €260 billion per year in extra investment to achieve its 2030 climate and energy targets. In a resolution (15.05.2020), MEPs also called for investments under the COVID-19 recovery plan to be prioritised as part of the Green Deal.“The taxonomy for sustainable investment is probably the most important development for finance since accounting. It will be a game changer in the fight against climate change”, said lead negotiator for the Environment Committee, Sirpa Pietikainen (EPP, FI). “Greening the financial sector is a first step towards making investments serve the transition to a carbon-neutral economy”, she added.“All financial products that claim to be sustainable will have to prove it following strict and ambitious EU criteria. The legislation also includes a clear mandate for the Commission to start defining environmentally harmful activities. Phasing out those activities and investments is as important to achieving climate neutrality as supporting decarbonised activities”, said Economic Affairs Committee rapporteur Bas Eickhout (Greens/EFA, NL).Activities that are incompatible with climate neutrality but considered necessary in the transition to a climate-neutral economy are labelled transition or enabling activities. They must have greenhouse gas emissions levels corresponding to the best performance in the sector.Solid fossil fuels, such as coal or lignite, are excluded, but gas and nuclear energy could potentially be labelled as an enabling or transitional activity in full respect of the “do no significant harm” principle.

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Parliament sets up Tax subcommittee and three special committees

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 22 giugno 2020

Following a proposal by the Conference of Presidents (president and chairs of political groups), plenary set out the responsibilities, numerical strength and term of office of three special committees and the tax subcommittee. The lists of members of each committee will be announced in a subsequent plenary session.After a series of special committees and a committee of inquiry, created to delve into the various tax leaks and scandals of recent years, Parliament today established a more permanent setup to shed light on the matter.The subcommittee on tax matters will be composed of 30 members. It will deal particularly with the fight against tax fraud, tax evasion and tax avoidance, as well as financial transparency for taxation purposes.
The subcommittee’s composition will be decided during the July plenary session and the Chair of the committee during the subcommittee’s constitutive meeting.Parliament began delving deeply into the tax scandals emerging over the last years in February 2015 as a result of the Luxembourg Leaks. It set up a special committee on tax rulings and other similar measures due to their nature or their effect (TAXE). This was followed up in December 2015 with the creation of TAXE2. In June 2016, as a result of the Panama Leaks, the EP created a committee of inquiry on money laundering, tax avoidance and tax fraud (PANA). Finally, with the Paradise Papers Leaks, in March 2018 a special committee on financial crime, tax fraud and tax evasion (TAX3) was set up.
There are currently two other subcommittees, that of Human Rights and that of Security and Defence, both under the EP’s Foreign Affairs Committee.

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