Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 32 n° 250

Posts Tagged ‘parliament’

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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Parliament requests further action to save EU tourism

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 20 giugno 2020

MEPs call for additional measures to save the EU’s tourism and travel sector and make it future-proof after COVID-19 crisis. The resolution on transport and tourism in 2020 and beyond was adopted on Friday by 587 votes in favour, 32 against and 46 abstentions. It identifies areas where actions taken so far remain insufficient to support a sector that employs 22.6 million people (11.2% of the total EU employment) and that contributed 9.5% to EU GDP in 2019.Giving tourism businesses a chance of survival
• Short-term financing to avoid businesses going bankrupt and to support workers, including self-employed workers, in the transport, culture and tourism sector.
• Support long-term recovery and modernise the sector: Parliament asks the Commission to issue guidance to ensure available funding can be accessed swiftly. MEPs call for a dedicated budget line for sustainable tourism in the 2021-2027 long-term EU budget.Guarantee safety and fairness by
• establishing common standards and detailed protocols for hygiene and health screening measures;
• developing an early alert system that warns tourists about any potential health threat at their destination;
• creating an EU safety certificate for establishments and operators that meet the highest hygiene and safety standards;
• launching a dedicated information campaign on travel and tourism, aiming at promoting intra-EU travel, re-establishing confidence in travel and tourism during COVID-19, and educating tourists on the health and safety measures in place;
• ensuring safe transit and country-to-country movement is not hampered by unilateral measures and agreements between individual member states.
The Parliament encourages the Commission to explore the idea of a crisis-management mechanism for EU tourism, in order to respond adequately and swiftly to any future challenge of similar magnitude. MEPs see the crisis also as an historic opportunity to modernise tourism in the EU and make it more sustainable, e.g. local and rural tourism initiatives, or out-of-season travel. The EU should promote and certify environmentally friendly, socially responsible and economically sound travel and tourism. The Parliament wants EU support to serve as a tool to guide infrastructure and transport development and tourism towards more sustainable, innovative, resilient and high-quality products and services. The Parliament supports the concept of ‘safe and smart destinations’ to ensure the development of sustainable, responsible and accessible tourism.

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COVID-19 and European Citizens’ Initiatives: MEPs vote for deadline extensions

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 20 giugno 2020

Parliament approved the proposal to extend retroactively time limits for the collection, verification and examination phases of ECIs affected by COVID-19 restrictions.With a majority close to unanimity (653 votes for, 10 against and two abstentions), Parliament approved on Friday the Commission’s proposal to extend retroactively the limits for collecting, verifying and examining European Citizens’ Initiatives (ECIs) that are being impeded by the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposed changes are as follows:
• Six-month extensions will be given for the collection of statements of support for initiatives whose signature collection was ongoing on 11 March 2020. Where the collection of statements of support started between 11 March and 11 September 2020, the maximum collection period will run until 11 September 2021.
• Member states can request an extension of the verification period (by one to three months) in case they cannot complete the process in time.
• EU institutions can defer the organisation of meetings with ECI organisers (a Commission obligation, normally within one month after submission of a successful initiative) and public hearings (organised by the Parliament within three months after submission) for as soon as the public health situation allows.
The approved text gives the Commission the capacity to prolong further the applicable collection periods if the situation continues to be difficult after 11 September 2020, or if lockdown measures are reintroduced in the future. Each such extension will be for three months, with a maximum total collection period of 24 months.Parliament has improved the original proposal by lowering the thresholds required for the Commission to act in this way, from a majority of member states (or states representing more than 35% of the Union), to a quarter of EU countries. MEPs also voted to allow for the remote participation of ECI organisers in hearings or meetings.Rapporteur Loránt Vincze (EPP, RO) said: “The pandemic had a serious impact on the ongoing ECIs. Organisers were not able to lead effective signature collection campaigns. We must make sure that the EU’s main instrument for participative democracy gets back on track as quickly as possible, with full legal clarity and effectiveness. Citizen engagement is essential to strengthen our Union.”This proposal was approved using the Parliament’s urgent procedure under Rule 163.5. Parliament will now negotiate with the Council its proposed improvements, with the intention to finalise the process swiftly so that the extension can be formally adopted in July. These temporary measures, once adopted, will stay in force until the end of 2022.

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European Parliament: EU27 need €2 trillion recovery package to tackle COVID-19 fallout

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 20 maggio 2020

The resolution was adopted on Friday by 505 votes in favour, 119 against and 69 abstentions.“European citizens must be at the heart of the recovery strategy”, MEPs stress, adding that Parliament will stand firm in defending citizens’ interests. The recovery efforts must have a strong social dimension, addressing social and economic inequalities and the needs of those hardest hit by the crisis. Parliament insists that the new “recovery and transformation fund” must be of €2 trillion in size, be financed “through the issuance of long-dated recovery bonds” and be “disbursed through loans and, mostly, through grants, direct payments for investment and equity.” They urge the Commission not to use “dubious multipliers to advertise ambitious figures”, and not resort to “financial wizardry”, as the EU’s credibility is at stake.The recovery plan must be provided on top of the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), which is the EU’s long-term budget, not to the detriment of existing and upcoming EU programmes, MEPs warn. In addition, they insist that the MFF must be increased and underline that Parliament will use its veto powers if EP demands are not met.The recovery money “should go to programmes within the EU budget”, to guarantee parliamentary oversight and participation. Parliament must also be fully involved “in the shaping, adoption and implementation of the recovery fund”. They warn the Commission to refrain from “any attempt to design a European recovery strategy that is outside the community method and resorts to intergovernmental means.”The “massive recovery package”, which MEPs demanded already in their recent April resolution, must last long enough to tackle the “expected deep and long-lasting impact of the current crisis”. It must “transform our economies” by supporting SMEs, and “increase job opportunities and skills to mitigate the impact of the crisis on workers, consumers and families”. They call for investments to be prioritised according to the Green Deal and the digital agenda and insist on the creation of a new standalone European health programme. MEPs reiterate their call for the introduction of a basket of new “own resources” (sources of EU revenue), so as to prevent a further increase of member states’ direct contributions to the EU budget to meet the needs of the MFF and the Recovery and Transformation Fund. As the ceiling for the EU revenue is expressed in GNI, which is expected to drop significantly due to the crisis, MEPs also call “for an immediate and permanent increase of the Own Resources ceiling.”

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Long-term EU budget: Parliament wants safety net for beneficiaries

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 18 maggio 2020

MEPs adopted a legislative resolution by 616 votes in favour, 29 against and 46 abstentions, requesting that the European Commission submit a proposal for an MFF (Multiannual Financial Framework) contingency plan by 15 June 2020.While current budgetary ceilings would be automatically extended if no new MFF is in place next year, nonetheless many programmes will expire at the end of 2020, like cohesion, Erasmus or research programmes. The aim is to provide a safety net for citizens, regions, cities, farmers, universities or businesses who benefit from EU programmes, and rule out any risk of the current MFF and programmes being discontinued or extended in a disorderly way.MEPs say the plan should refocus the budget temporarily on addressing and mitigating the immediate economic and social consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak and on helping in the recovery by adding flexibility and funding, as was already done under this year’s budget.On 17 April, the EP called for a massive recovery and reconstruction package that involves increasing the MFF. According to today’s resolution, the contingency plan would provide a better basis than a late or inadequate MFF for the European Union’s recovery and political priorities.
Jan Olbrycht (EPP, PL), co-rapporteur: “The current situation needs extraordinary solutions. We are afraid that the new MFF 2021-2027 will not be ready on time due to accumulated, severe delays. Therefore, we urge the European Commission to propose a contingency plan for next year’s budget. In times of crises and instability, beneficiaries of the EU budget should have a clear vision of the next year. Members of the European Parliament are searching for all possible solutions to secure the stability of the EU budget.”Margarida Marques (S&D, PT), co-rapporteur: “Citizens, businesses and civil society would not understand why on 1 January 2021, we don’t have an EU Budget in place. If it was already difficult to accept this before this pandemic, it is much more difficult now with the severe impact of COVID-19 on families, schools, businesses and economies.
We call on the European Commission to present an ambitious EU budget proposal on time for the next seven years, with an anchored Recovery Fund that meets citizens’ expectations. The Commission is already delayed in presenting its new proposal; the European Council must reach an agreement and the European Parliament must give its consent. But we cannot take any further risks. We call once more on the European Commission to present a Contingency Plan. This plan must be effective and provide a safety net for beneficiaries of EU programmes.”

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EP calendar revised to ensure Parliament can exercise its core functions

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 13 marzo 2020

Group leaders adopted a revised calendar of parliamentary activities on Tuesday, following the precautionary measures taken to contain the spread of COVID-19.Due to the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Conference of Presidents (EP President and political leaders) modified the European Parliament’s calendar of activities for the next weeks due to force majeure. The aim is to enable Parliament to exercise its core functions (legislative and budgetary powers, as well as plenary sessions and meetings of governing bodies of the institution), while complying with the duty of care for its Members and staff and with a view to protect public health.
The April part-session initially scheduled from Monday 30 March until Thursday 2 April will take place in Brussels on Wednesday 1 April in the afternoon and Thursday 2 April in the morning.All activities scheduled for the week starting on 16 March will be postponed or cancelled. The week starting with 23 March stays unchanged.

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Artificial intelligence: EU must ensure a fair and safe use for consumers

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 25 gennaio 2020

Bruxelles. Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee approved on Thursday a resolution addressing several challenges arising from the rapid development of artificial intelligence (AI) and automated decision-making (ADM) technologies.
When consumers interact with an ADM system, they should be “properly informed about how it functions, about how to reach a human with decision-making powers, and about how the system’s decisions can be checked and corrected”, says the committee.
Those systems should only use high-quality and unbiased data sets and “explainable and unbiased algorithms” in order to boost consumer trust and acceptance, states the resolution. Review structures should be set up to remedy possible mistakes in automated decisions. It should also be possible for consumers to seek human review of, and redress for, automated decisions that are final and permanent.“Humans must always be ultimately responsible for, and able to overrule, decisions” that are taken via ADM processes, especially in relation to the medical, legal and accounting professions and the banking sector, MEPs underline.
AI-enabled products may evolve and act in ways not envisaged when they were first placed on the market. MEPs urge the Commission to table proposals adapting the EU’s safety rules for products (e.g. directives on machinery and toy safety) to ensure that consumers are protected from harm, manufacturers are clear on their obligations and users are informed about how to use those products.The Product Liability Directive, adopted over 30 years ago, would also need to be updated to adapt concepts such as ‘product’ ‘damage’ and ‘defect’ as well as rules governing the burden of proof, says the committee.MEPs call for a risk-assessment scheme for AI and ADM and for a common EU approach to help secure the benefits of those processes and mitigate the risks across the EU.Under EU law, traders must inform consumers when the price of goods or services has been personalised on the basis of ADM, MEPs recall, asking the Commission to closely monitor the implementation of those rules. It must also check how the EU regulation banning unjustified geo-blocking is applied to ensure that ADM is not being used to discriminate against consumers based on their nationality, place of residence or temporary location.

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The European Committee of the Regions calls on the European Parliament to secure a fair agricultural policy that can offer practical solutions to the environmental challenges

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 8 dicembre 2019

At a hearing held at the European Parliament on reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), Guillaume Cros (FR/PES), Vice-President of the Occitan Region and European Committee of the Regions rapporteur on the CAP, pointed out that according to the Court of Auditors report of 20 November, environmental aspects are not given sufficient weight among the many challenges to the future CAP that have been identified. The Committee of the Regions’ recommendations also match the aims of the Green Deal announced by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.The CoR rapporteur on Reform of the CAP emphasised that “we must radically change the way the next Common Agricultural Policy is implemented in order to meet the social, environmental and climate-related challenges and also build a Green Deal commensurate with the current challenges, in the interests of a fair, sustainable and solidarity-based CAP”. The CoR is calling for a minimum of 30% of first pillar funds to go to eco-schemes and proposes quantified, measurable and results-oriented European objectives by 2027 for the national Strategic Plans, as follows:
· a 30% reduction compared with 2017 in greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture in the Member State;
· a doubling compared with 2017 of the land area used for organic farming in the Member State, or at least 30% of the utilised agricultural area of the Member State;
· a minimum 30% reduction compared with 2017 in the use of pesticides in the Member State;
· lastly, compliance with the Nitrates Directive for 100% of surface water and groundwater, without exemptions.
The CoR also calls for a gradual and planned end to cage rearing throughout the European Union. Guillaume Cros stressed that “we (the CoR) support the proposal by the European Parliament’s ENVI Committee aimed at establishing farm livestock density limits and limiting payments to farms that exceed such limits”.He also highlighted that the key role played by Europe’s regions in managing and implementing the CAP must be preserved and stepped up. The legislative proposal on the future CAP, in its current form, actually has the effect of marginalising, or even jeopardising, the role and autonomy of Europe’s regions in managing the CAP, simply allotting them the task of implementing measures laid down at national level.

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Why to join for the opening of the new European Parliament?

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 1 luglio 2019

Strasbourg. Tuesday 2nd of July 08:00 – 10:00: Rally in front of the European Parliament: Citizens gathering for the new European Parliament.
The European Union has been “at a critical junction” time and again since its inception. Calls for a renewed commitment to the European project have taken almost a life of their own. Back in 2014, after the Parliament had managed to elect him at the helm of the European Commission by establishing no less than a constitutional precedent, President Juncker declared his would be “the Commission of the last chance”: if it did not deliver, citizens would lose their trust in the EU. After the dismal outcome of the Brexit referendum, EU leaders convened in Bratislava to agree on a supposedly ambitious roadmap “to make a success of the EU with 27 Member States”. Three years on – Leaders’ summit after Leaders’ summit – Brexit still hasn’t happened (thankfully!) and resources, time and energy have been wasted on European Heads of State and Government unable to unite around anything more than generic commitments to the EU.That there would even be a need to reaffirm European unity is proof that the time of national leaders is far gone. We need European solutions urgently, not least to stop more far-right and illiberal forces from rising to power. The alarms bells have been ringing for years now, but these leaders are too comfortable sitting in their own echo chamber to hear them.EU national leaders have failed us. European integration by intergovernmental cooperation has the EU stuck in a status quo that could well be its downfall. But the history of the European Union is not only one of disappointing meetings of European leaders. The history of Europe is also one of citizens gathering, demonstrating and protesting; citizens calling on elected leaders for more decisive steps towards the political unity of the European people.The history of the European Union is one of citizens gathering and calling on elected leaders for more decisive steps towards political unity for the European people: in 1975 in Rome claiming for the direct elections of the European Parliament; in 1979 in Strasbourg asking for a European currency; in 1985 in Milano defending The Spinelli Treaty, in 1991 in Maastricht for European democracy, in 2000 in Nice asking for a European Convention, on 25 March 2017 in Rome calling for a relaunch of political integration.Today, simply celebrating the EU and its achievements is not enough anymore. Our continent is in dire need of common solutions underpinned by genuine European democracy. This July 1-2 in Strasbourg, at the opening plenary session of the European Parliament, we will again call on our elected representatives to choose Europe, wholeheartedly and without reservations. This July, we must take up the challenge of creating a genuine, European democracy – or risk having no democracy at all.

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Parliament adopts new rules for short-stay visas

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 19 aprile 2019

Positive incentives for non-EU countries cooperating on readmitting irregular migrants.
The EU will simplify procedures for requesting and issuing short-stay visas and will use its visa policy to encourage non-EU countries to cooperate on migration.
Parliament approved on Wednesday the new EU Visa Code, already informally agreed with the Council of Ministers. The law establishes the procedures and conditions for issuing visas to nationals of more than one hundred non-EU countries travelling to the EU for short periods (up to 90 days in any 180-day period).Procedures for bona fide travellers will be simpler, and there will be a direct link between visa and migration policy.
Visa applications will have to be submitted between six months (instead of the current three months) and 15 days ahead of the intended trip, except for seafarers, who will be allowed to submit applications nine months in advance.Among other changes:
the general visa fee will increase from 60 to 80 euros -with a possible reduction for people under 18 years old-, and children under six, students and researchers will continue to be exempt from paying the visa fee;
the new prerequisite to buy travel health insurance will be assessed by the European Commission 15 months after being introduced, taking into account the actual medical costs incurred by visa-holders;
EU member states will have to work with external service providers to manage visa requests in non-EU countries where they are neither present nor represented; and
frequent travellers might be eligible for multiple entry visas.
Cooperation on readmission by non-EU countries
Some provisions, such as the visa fees, the time taken to issue decisions on applications, and the length of time for which multiple entry visas are valid, may be adapted depending on whether a given non-EU country cooperates “sufficiently”, or alternatively “insufficiently” on readmitting irregular migrants, following a full and objective assessment carried out by the European Commission every year.

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Parliament reiterates its support to Laura Codruţa Kövesi to become EU Chief Prosecutor

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 7 aprile 2019

The Parliament reaffirmed that Laura Codruţa Kövesi remains its top candidate to become the first head of the new EU Public Prosecutor’s Office.
Following to President Tajani’s announcement yesterday in plenary supporting Ms Kövesi’s candidacy and after three rounds of negotiations with the Council, the Parliament’s negotiating team reiterated its continued support to Ms Kövesi, a former Romanian anti-corruption watchdog whose candidacy is opposed by the Romanian government. The team also called on the Council to reconsider its position. European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) Chief Prosecutor has to be selected by joint accord between the Parliament and the EU Council.“After the third negotiation meeting with the Council delegation, we deeply regret the current deadlock situation, which prevents the two institutions from appointing the European Chief Prosecutor”, said Claude Moraes (S&D, UK), Chair of the Civil Liberties Committee. “The European Chief Prosecutor will play a key role in the implementation of the EPPO, an office that will be instrumental in combatting crimes against EU budget”, he concluded.Civil Liberties Committee Vice Chair Judith Sargentini (Greens/EFA, NL) said: “The obstruction Ms Kövesi is currently facing from the Romanian authorities highlights her courage and her independence, which both are crucial requirements for the efficient functioning of the EPPO. The harassment of the Romanian government has resulted in completely discrediting the Council’s candidate as well.” “Unlike the Council, the Parliament has held hearings of all three shortlisted candidates. Ms Kövesi is by far the strongest and most promising candidate for the post. We cannot accept the fact that the Council cedes to the pressure of the Romanian government to support a much weaker candidate. Since the EPPO regulation has been watered down during negotiations, it is crucial for the Parliament to select a candidate who would make the institution strong and credible,” Ingeborg Gräßle (EPP, DE), head of the Parliament’s Budgetary Control Committee, told after the third round of negotiations on Thursday. “She is a woman, and the Parliament has just recently called on the Council to respect the principle of gender balance. Moreover, Romania currently does not hold a single EU key post,” she added.Following a pre-selection by a board of experts, EU legislators now have to pick from Ms Kövesi and Jean-François Bohnert from France. The parliament’s negotiating team consists of Mr Moraes, Ms Gräßle and Ms Sargentini.

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Parliament’s leading MEPs back Laura Codruţa Kövesi for EU Chief Prosecutor

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 11 marzo 2019

Negotiations with EU Ministers can start on the European Chief Prosecutor following to the leading MEPs’ endorsement of Laura Codruţa Kövesi for the position.
The Conference of Presidents (EP President and the leaders of the political groups) confirmed on Thursday the ranking of the candidates for European Chief Prosecutor as proposed by the Civil Liberties and Budgetary Control Committees with Laura Codruţa Kövesi as their first choice, Jean-François Bohnert second and Andres Ritter third.The European Chief Prosecutor, who will head the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), will be jointly appointed by common accord, by the European Parliament and the Council. Parliament’s negotiation team will consist of the Civil Liberties Committee Chair Claude Moraes (S&D, UK) who will lead the team, Budget Control Committee Chair Ingeborg Grässle (EPP, DE) and Civil Liberties Committee Vice Chair Judith Sargentini (Greens/EFA, NL). The negotiations are expected to start as soon as possible.

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Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte: “Europe must listen to the people”

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 12 febbraio 2019

giuseppe conte.jpgIn a plenary debate on the future of Europe, the Italian Prime Minister said: “This is a valuable opportunity to reverse the process of detachment between rulers and governed, which if fed could lead to the European project imploding”. The prerequisite for relaunching it, are “solidarity and cohesion between the member states”.
Foreign policy
Among the challenges to be tackled to galvanise the European integration process, Conte mentioned the need for a common EU seat in the UN Security Council, strengthening relations with the USA, a strong dialogue with Russia and China and the creation of a true European common defence.
Migration
Conte stressed the need for a stable solution to manage migration flows, including so-called secondary movements, based on real solidarity between member states. He also asked for a new approach to Africa’s problems, through a partnership of equals.
Economy and growth
Overcoming austerity means “balancing growth and stability” and committing to the values of social solidarity and sustainable development, said Conte. He then called for more investment in youth, education and innovation, and for priority to be given to employment and the creation of tools for growth.
More powers to the EP
He concluded by saying that the European Parliament should have more powers, including the right of inquiry and the right to initiate legislation, in order to restore Europe’s credibility in the eyes of its citizens. (photo copyright: European Union 2019 – Source: EP)

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Parliament as a global actor for children’s rights

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 7 febbraio 2019

Children´s rights coordinator Ms Corazza-Bildt will go to the USA to meet key stakeholders, including the UN and UNICEF, to step up children’s rights globally.The main objective of this mission to New York City and Washington DC is to establish official partnerships and structural dialogues between the UN, and particularly UNICEF, and the European Parliament.EP’s coordinator for children’s rights Anna Maria Corazza-Bildt said: “The European Parliament is committed to put children’s rights at the heart of our policies and legislation. It is important to build institutional partnerships with the UN family and develop a structural dialogue to strengthen our cooperation globally. In the European Parliament, we strongly stand for multilateralism to address global challenges. Together, we must put an end to all forms of violence against children, increase child safety online and protect the most vulnerable children – such as migrant children – across Europe and globally. Together, we want to give a voice to children and make sure their voice is heard in all decision that concern them”.From Monday to Thursday, she will meet UN special representatives on violence against children and children in armed conflicts, UN Global Compact programme chief, UN General Assembly president as well as UNICEF deputy executive director, Congressional Children’s Rights Caucus co-chairs and World Bank vice-presidents.The mandate of the coordinator for children´s rights covers both the internal and external dimension of the EU policy and aims also at positioning the European Parliament as a global actor to advance children’s rights globally.

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New EU short-stay visas: Parliament ready to begin talks

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 13 dicembre 2018

MEPs set the Parliament’s position ahead of the negotiation with the Council for an update of the EU Visa Code, which establishes the procedures and conditions for issuing visas to nationals of more than one hundred non-EU countries travelling to the EU for short periods (up to 90 days in any 180-day period). The text was approved with 401 votes to 222 and 40 abstentions,
MEPs want to facilitate legitimate travel for tourism, trade and business, whilst preventing irregular immigration and contributing to internal security. Among other changes, the Parliament proposes that:
some applicants may not need to present their applications in person and processing periods will be reduced;
travellers will be able to hand in applications at the consulate of another EU member state if the one responsible is neither present nor represented in a given third country or if the competent one is more than 500 km away from their place of residence;
travel health insurance will not be a prerequisite for requesting a visa;
the general visa fee will increase from 60 to 80 euros, with exceptions for some travellers, while children under 12, family members of EU nationals, students and researchers will have the fee waived;
it will be possible to apply for a visa up to nine months before the intended journey (instead of six months proposed by the Commission), and
additional facilities for artists and sports professionals touring in the EU and multiple entry visas for frequent travellers.Cooperation on readmission by third countries
Some provisions, such as the visa fees, the time taken to issue decisions on applications, and the period of validity of multiple entry visas, may be adapted depending on whether a given non-EU country shows “sufficient”, or alternatively “insufficient”, cooperation on readmitting irregular migrants, following a full and objective assessment by the European Commission.The EU ministers agreed their negotiating position last June. Talks between the colegislators are expected to begin before the Christmas break.

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Children must not be detained for immigration purposes, Parliament says

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 5 maggio 2018

Bruxelles. All unaccompanied children should get guardians upon their arrival Enhanced cooperation to find missing children and identify victims of trafficking and abuse.  Full access to education under the same conditions as local children All migrant children and families with children should be housed in non-custodial facilities while their immigration status is processed, MEPs insisted on Thursday. “Children shall not be detained for immigration purposes” and the EU Commission should act against EU member states “in instances of protracted and systematic immigration detention of children and their families”, Parliament stated in a non-legislative resolution passed by show of hands.According to the latest data from the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), in September 2016, Bulgaria was the country with the most migrant children in detention, while there were also high numbers of detained children in Greece, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. No children were detained on the days when on-the-spot checks were carried out in Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Spain or the United Kingdom.
The resolution notes that there are an estimated 5.4 million migrant children living in Europe, making it home to 1 out of 6 of the world’s child migrants (UNICEF data). Almost half of those who arrived in recent years were unaccompanied or separated children. MEPs underline that the lack of reliable information, and lengthy family reunification and guardian appointment procedures, together with the fear of being detained, sent back or transferred, is resulting in children absconding, leaving them exposed to trafficking, violence and exploitation.Parliament urges national authorities to speed up procedures for appointing guardians for unaccompanied children, who should also be hosted in separate facilities from adults in order to avoid any risk of violence and sexual abuse.MEPs call for the relocation of the remaining unaccompanied children from Greece and Italy to be prioritised and ask that all pending family reunification procedures proceed without delay.
The Chamber underlines the importance of establishing a robust identification and registration system to make sure that children enter and stay in national protection systems. It also demands enhanced cooperation among law-enforcement and child-protection authorities to find and protect missing children.MEPs are particularly worried about the exploitation of girls for prostitution and ask member states to step up efforts and cross-border cooperation to identify child victims of trafficking, abuse and all forms of exploitation.Regarding age assessment procedures, the resolution stresses that medical examinations of children should always be carried out “in a manner that is not intrusive and respects children’s dignity”. Parliament also rejects the use of coercion for taking children’s biometric data.

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Our digital future: high-level conference in the European Parliament on 25 April

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 23 aprile 2018

Bruxelles. A high-level conference on “Shaping our digital future: the challenge of the digital revolution” will be held in the European Parliament, in Brussels, on 25 April from 14.30 to 19.00.Lawmakers will discuss with experts, political leaders, representatives from industry, tech giants, including Google and Facebook, and other stakeholders the challenges and opportunities for Europeans in a digital society and how to mobilise investments, foster innovation and ensure an online platform economy that benefits business and consumers.Ahead of the conference, organised in close cooperation with the European Commission, European Parliament President Antonio Tajani said: “The Digital Single Market creates real opportunities, but it comes with real risks. The EU should lead the way in shaping a level playing field for the benefit of our citizens. Opportunity comes with responsibility and fair rules must be established. The digital world cannot be a lawless jungle, freedom and responsibility must be the law of the land”.
After the opening session, hosted by EP President Antonio Tajani and the European Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel, the conference will be structured around four themes:
· Investing to unlock digitalisation, boost competitiveness and avoiding a digital divide: How to target and mobilise investments in connectivity and the data economy infrastructure (5G, High-Performance Computing, Artificial Intelligence) to unlock cutting-edge digital innovations across sectors in the EU?
· Innovation, research and the use of data in the digital age: How best to capitalise on the EU’s research and scientific excellence to generate digital innovations and facilitate the digitisation of the European industry? How do we foster innovation based on better access, use and re-use of data?
· Opportunities and risks, including trust, security and privacy, in a digital society: What are the advantages, challenges and opportunities for the users of digital services in the advent of new digital realities? How to best maintain trust online and guarantee security and respect for privacy for European citizens and consumers?
· How to ensure an online platform economy that benefits businesses and consumers, supported by fair taxation: How can businesses maximise the benefits of the Digital Single Market and operate cross-border in a fair business environment? How do we ensure an online platform economy that benefits businesses and consumers, supported by fair taxation?

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