Key issues over the past few weeks included:
- E-coli outbreak
- S4C future raised with European Commission
- EU calls for a new era of social justice
- Scots political bloggers
- EFA Group visit to Limburg
- Food security and price volatility
- Independence for South Sudan
- Plight of the Tuareg in the Libyan Conflict
- Junqueras elected mayor of large Catalan town
- N-VA launches new international website
Junqueras added: "Aid to farmers should take account of the diversity of European agriculture. That's why the Commission's proposal is unacceptable - to channel aid through vegetable producer organisations won't work as, for example, in Catalonia, our agricultural sector isn't set up that way. We need to see that adequate compensation gets to those farmers who've been affected by this."
Frieda Brepoels was also critical of the German response, commenting: "The amateurish approach of the German government has been amazing: by prematurely rushing to conclusions they have caused serious damage. European agencies have also been slow to respond, waiting too long to send in experts. All in all there has been a total lack of co-ordination."
S4C future raised with European Commission
The meeting was an opportunity to brief the European Commission on the threat to S4C's future posed by the ninety-four per cent cut to the channel's funding, and to highlight the UK Government's obligations to Welsh language broadcasting under the European Charter on Minority Languages. Mrs Vassiliou expressed her interest in the campaign.
"I'd like to see responsibilities over broadcasting devolved to the Welsh Assembly, as it clearly lacks the respect it should have equality with other from the Westminster Government. Minority languages should have equality with other European languages with regards to broadcasting, which means sufficient funding and no interference by politicians."
EU calls for a new era of social justice
Speaking in the debate Tatjana Zdanoka MEP, who sits on the Parliament's Employment Committee said: "The role of the International Labour Organisation should be strengthened. Voluntary corporate social responsibility is a good thing, but the primary role in promoting and protecting human rights belongs to states and international organisations. It would be wrong to avoid having legally binding standards in the field of corporate responsibility.
"In Europe we should establish new standards in the field of company reporting, and we should insist in our bilateral and multilateral relations with our partners that decent work and standards are properly complied with. Europe should promote its social model and improve rather than diminish social standards both within its borders and without."
Scots political bloggers
The SNP's Ian Hudghton invited them to meet EFA MEPs and staff for a working lunch which one of them later wrote was 'a real highlight' of their visit to the Parliament.
EFA Group visit to Limburg
MEPs and staff visited a number of projects which have benefitted from European funding, helping transform the fortunes of this former coal mining area. In the space of two decades, with European help, GDP has risen substantially and is now much closer to the EU average.
Food security and price volatility
The European Commission is talking about a data collection system at EU level for short term market projections on cereals, oilseeds, milk and milk products, and meat, with member states informing the Commission on the state of all private and public stocks, including the EU's own intervention stocks.
Alyn commented: "Securing adequate food production, and accessibility to food supplies for all, is one the major challenges of the coming century. We need look no further than this year's disastrous drought across much of Europe: Germany is expecting a drop in 7% of wheat production and France 11%. In a worst case scenario the UK's exportable surplus could be wiped out, and we would be reliant on increased imports from Australia and the Ukraine. Farm-gate prices might be rising, but rocketing input costs mean that the farmer does not necessarily see much benefit.
"That's why action is needed on an international scale. Europe should be leading and I'm glad that our Commissioner is voicing his concerns over these dangers. Transparent information on production and stocks is an absolute necessity for efficient food distribution and future production planning. Given that global stocks are building up in countries like China, which we may well not always have access to, it's essential to ensure we have adequate reserves in Europe."
Independence for South Sudan
The European Parliament approved a resolution setting out its expectations for independence by a large majority. N-VA MEP Frieda Brepoels welcomed the move, commenting: "This resolution clearly recognises the right of the Sudanese people to set their own course. The European Union has a duty not only to recognise that right, but to actively support it."
Plight of the Tuareg in the Libyan Conflict
There are two Berber communities in Libya: the Tuareg people and the regions of Zwara and Adrar Nefussa which along with Misrata are putting up fierce resistance to troops who are encircling and bombarding them.
The Tuareg are indigenous habitants of the central Sahara and northern Sahel regions estimated to number some 6 million across five countries, namely southern Libya and Algeria, northern Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.
Speakers included Belkacem Lounes, President of the Amazigh World Congress, Moussa El Kony, former Libyan Consul General in Mali, and Abo Sata Shaban Ali Issa, Member of the Transitional National Council of Libya.
Junqueras elected mayor of large Catalan town
The town of 28,000 people in the Barcelona metropolitan area is symbolically important as it is the largest town to be taken control of by Esquerra at local level for over seventy years.
N-VA launches new international website
The website includes a Who's Who, a set of FAQs, background information relating to N-VA's structure and history as well as an A-Z of Belgian politics.