European Union

Strasbourg Flash - Plenary session 11-14 December 2017

A look ahead to next week's session in the European Parliament in Strasbourg and the Greens/EFA priority issues on the agenda

Ulrike Lunacek meets Azeri political prisoners

Ulrike Lunacek met today with Rasul Jafarov and Anar Mamadli, two of the Azeri political prisoners recently released from jail.

ALL OF US – Mobilising for rainbow families

Joint declaration of Members of the European Parliament

LGBTI rights are human rights. Lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, trans and intersex persons should enjoy the same rights, duties and opportunities as well as the same level of protection as any other person within the EU. However, discrimination against LGBTI persons in the EU persists. ALL OF US want this discrimination to end.

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EU Food Safety Authority proposes “secure reading room” for access to controversial glyphosate studies

The EU's Food Safety Authority, in charge of reviewing whether or not to approve glyphosate – a herbicide used for example in Monsanto's Roundup products – has responded to a freedom of information request made by 4 Greens/EFA MEPs by proposing that access to the controversial studies may be provided via a secure “reading room”, a set-up now being used for Members' access to TTIP and Tax-justice related documents.

European Commission reforms Expert Groups

But transparency remains optional

The European Commission adopted new rules to increase the transparency of its expert groups, which give expert advice that shapes the very first drafts of EU laws. This follows a high-level political commitment made by Juncker to improve the transparency of the EU institutions when he first took office.

Join the Food Revolution Newsletter

Issue n°20 May 2016

  GREEN INSIGHT INTO EU FOOD POLICY     Good for business, bad for us - Why Bayer buying Monsanto is more than just another merger No privatisation of life - No patent on our tomatoes! W...

Lost in Translation

Back-room debates about the impact of trade secrets on whistle-blowers shows urgent need for EU wide whistle-blower protection

Today, unfortunately, the controversial Trade Secrets directive was formally adopted by the Council, but only after several delays due to disagreements over how specifically to translate a key provision in the text: the word "wrongdoing".

Has the G7 learned its lesson?

Not at all!

The G7 club of industrialised nations met this week in Japan against a backdrop of economic gloom, geopolitical tension and rising concerns on climate change. Despite being viewed by many as remote and undemocratic, th...

Palestinian flag

Demolishing Palestine - Israel's demolition policies

Greens/EFA MEP Jordi Sebastià together with colleagues from the GUE/NGL group organised a hearing at the European Parliament in Brussels to consider the impact of Israel's demolition policies in East Jerusalem and the W...

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No privatisation of life

No patent on our tomatoes!

A few weeks ago a European-wide coalition of NGOs launched a mass opposition against a patent held by the Swiss agrochemical company Syngenta on tomatoes produced by conventional breeding.

Greens/EFA Round up

Debriefing of the Strasbourg plenary week 9-13 May 2016

Greens/EFA priorities for the Strasbourg plenary included improving transparency of foreign direct investment; Greek bailout and Euro crisis in the spotlight again; Situation in Turkey and visa liberalisation; Reforming EU asylum policy; Saving the Schengen free movement system; Small step towards corporate tax transparency; Panama Papers: EP inquiry into tax evasion and money laundering in the EU.

We are pissed off!

MEPs test positive for glyphosate

Last month, the Green group in the European Parliament took the initiative of inviting colleague MEPs to have their urine tested for residues of the herbicide glyphosate. The results of this symbolic action demonstrate just how omnipresent this suspected carcinogenic substance is in our lives.

New GMOs

GMOs by the back door

The biotech industry and the US government are lobbying hard to have a whole new generation of genetic engineering techniques excluded from European regulations. A pending decision of the European Commission could open...

The role of the United States as a tax haven

New Greens/EFA research looks at implications for Europe

On the same week of the publication of the Panama Papers’ database by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, providing a useful resource to track shell companies often created with the objective to evade taxes or launder dirty money, the Greens launch a new report on why the United States are becoming the biggest tax haven on the planet.

The clock is ticking - it's time for aviation to take action on emissions

The International Civil Aviation Organisation meets this week in Montreal to discuss how the sector will respond to climate change. But will their deal be sufficient to meet the requirements of the Paris Agreement?

Luxleaks case

Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament expresses outrage at prosecutor's demand

The Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament today expressed its concern and shock at the decision of the Luxleaks prosecutor to demand an 18 month suspended jail sentence and fine for the two whistle-blowers who uncovered the details of "sweetheart" tax deals in Luxembourg, as well as a fine for the journalist that initially reported on the scandal.

What the Panama Papers tell us about today's world

Even if tax scandals have been in the European media for years now, the Panama Papers revelations take the problem to a whole new level. This Panama Papers leak is an unprecedented event, by the size of the consortium of journalists coordinating the investigation (376 journalists from 109 media outlets) but also by the scope of the revelations, involving politicians, stars and many other celebrities.

Whistle-blowers Directive

Time to prioritise the protection of whistle-blowers instead of attempting to silence them!

Whistleblowing is not just about freedom of speech. It's not just about protecting working conditions, and it's not just about protecting the internal market. It's about all those things and more. It's the only way in which a lot of otherwise secret information can be brought to light, and hence it's often the best way, at least for now, to uncover wrong-doing, corruption, and downright immoral behaviour.

Make the digital single market inclusive!

The Juncker Commission placed the completion of the Digital Single Market (DSM) as one of its ten priorities. However, the current approach of the European Commission is way too narrow.

Financial benchmarks

EP adopts a much too timid response to recent Libor, Forex and commodity index rigging scandals

The Greens/EFA group today voted against the proposed Regulation of financial benchmarks, which was adopted by a large majority of MEPs.

Greens push the European Investment Bank to clean up its act!

Blog post by Benedek Jávor, Bart Staes and Ernest Urtasun

Citizens and activists working on transparency and accountability issues tend to follow one simple rule: "Follow the Money"! However, this is not just because we want to know how public money is being spent; i...

General Expenditure Allowance

European Parliament demands full transparency over how MEPs spend public funds

Today the plenary of the European Parliament adopted a demand for full transparency of the General Expenditure Allowance - the 4,320 EUR that Members of the European Parliament receive each month to cover their office c...

Join the Food Revolution Newsletter

Issue n°19 April 2016

  GREEN INSIGHT INTO EU FOOD POLICY     Glyphosate: Will the Commission finally listen to the call to end glyphosate use? Unfair trading practices in food supply chain: The "New Allia...

Glyphosat

Europäische Kommission und Bundesregierung wollen Glyphosat-Verlängerung mit laxen Gesetzesänderungen zustimmen

Voraussichtlich am 18./19.5. werden die EU-Mitgliedsländer darüber abstimmen, ob und unter welchen Bedingungen sie einer Neuzulassung von Glyphosat zustimmen. Die Europäische Kommission hatte die ursprünglich für A...

IKEA flat pack tax avoidance

new episode

You may remember that in February, the Greens published a report demonstrating how IKEA companies were avoiding €1 billion across Europe over the last six years. Six weeks later, we finally got a reply from Inter-IKEA Group - one of the 2 IKEA companies.

From seed to store, clothes production should be safe and sustainable

How many different stages do you think it takes to produce your clothes? Two? Twenty? In fact, the average number is closer to six, from planting the cotton seed to distribution on the shop floor. Six is not a big number. So why it is that retailers often don't know the conditions under which the clothes they sell were made?

EU needs to take action to clean up clothes industry

  A blog by MEP Davor Skrlec The clothing industry is arguably second only to oil as the world's most polluting industry[1]. From the many dyes and chemicals used which pollute the soil and water, to the pesticides ...

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The "New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition"

A threat to local populations in Africa

Family farmers and small-holders are the main investors in African agriculture, collectively producing about 70% of the food in Africa and providing about 60% of employment in rural Africa. They need to be at the core of...

Unfair trading practices in food supply chain

Unfair Trading Practices (UTPs) in the food supply chain is a major problem, particularly for farmers, producers and SMEs. In addition, farmers are already currently suffering from chronically low prices and high input...

Three years after Rana Plaza

The fight continues for workers' rights

As a consumer, even the smallest choices have a massive impact across the world. The choice of your clothes can have a global positive change. Every year we buy 73 million tonnes of clothing. And each of these garments has most likely traversed multiple continents before reaching your local shop.

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Greens/EFA Round up

Debriefing of the Strasbourg plenary week 11-15 April 2016

Greens/EFA priorities for the Strasbourg plenary included air passenger data retention (PNR); strengthening data protection in the EU; Erasmus+ scheme; ensuring sustainable fisheries beyond EU waters; the refugee crisis and the EU-Turkey agreement; Panama Leaks: tax evasion and money laundering in the EU; the vote on the possible reapproval of glyphosate; Poland and the rule of law; EU trade secrets rules and the implications of whistleblowers; energy poverty: tackling poverty in the face of increasing household costs.

Eastern Partnership

EU must engage for peaceful solution in Nagorno Karabakh

The European Parliament debated the current crisis in Nagorno Karabakh on Tuesday evening (12 April). In the context of the debate Green MEPs called for a renewed push to ensure a peaceful solution of the issue in the co...

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EFA Group Statement on EU-Turkey agreement & the refugee crisis

The European Free Alliance (EFA) Group in the European Parliament is critical of the agreement reached between the EU and Turkey at the recent meeting of EU heads of state and government. The agreement paves the way f...

No REFIT on consumers' right to know!

Today the European Parliament voted on Kaufmann (S&D) report on the Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT). According to the Commission the purpose of REFIT is to ensure that the EU legislation remains fit for purpose and delivers the results intended by EU law-makers. It is supposed to remove red tape and lower costs without compromising policy objectives.

Glyphosate

extending its authorisation is anti-democratic and goes against the common interest

The European Parliament will tomorrow vote a non-binding resolution opposing the renewal of the license for the controversial weedkiller glyphosate.

External fisheries

Ensuring sustainable fisheries beyond EU waters

The EU must continue to control its fishing outside the Union and open the door for transparency, according to Green MEP Linnea Engström. Linnea Engström's report on external dimension of fisheries was adopted by the E...

Making oversight work

The European Parliament may refuse to rubber stamp appointments to the European Court of Auditors

On Wednesday this week, the European Parliament will vote on 6 new candidates for the European Court of Auditors. Traditionally this has always been a rubber-stamping exercise, with Member States selecting candidates that the European Parliament has generally approved of.

Panama Papers

Greens call for an inquiry committee and present a draft mandate

In response to the Panama papers revelations, which showed criminals, wealthy individuals and firms channel funds through offshore firms to avoid paying taxes or hide illegal money, the Greens have called for an immediate response at EU level.

Trade Secrets

Must not outweigh the public interest

In many of the biggest political scandals of the past months – Luxleaks, Dieselgate and now the Panama Papers – we saw trade secret laws abused as a shield against investigation and exposure of how corporations are harming the public good, avoiding taxes and endangering public safety. Whistleblowers find themselves fighting for their freedom in court – or in hiding. And yet, the European Parliament is about to expand corporate secrecy and deter whistleblowing by adopting the Trade Secrets Directive.

Tax transparency

Big companies will have to disclose more tax details, but limited to Europe

This may look like a bad April Fools' Day joke, but it's not. According to a leaked document obtained by Politico on 21st of March, the European Commission plans to (finally) launch an initiative for greater corporate tax transparency... except it contains many loopholes that risk undermining the whole project.

Brussels attacks

Our thoughts are with all those affected by the senseless attacks in Brussels. We must defend our values, whilst confronting this terrorism

We need to see the evidence on glyphosate

Greens/EFA demand to see the secret studies used to justifty glyphosate's safety

We've been campaigning for a ban on the toxic herbicide glyphosate. While the World Health Organisation says it is "probably carcinogenic", the European Food and Safety Authority says it is safe - so why won't they release the release the studies behind their claim?

European Commission says "sorry, but no" to European Parliament's call for stronger rights for citizens

As we reported back in October 2015, the European Parliament has called on the European Commission  to improve the European Citizens' Initiative whose dismal success rate in its first three years has  clearly d...

Greens reject Commission's "rosy" vision of nuclear power

In spite of mounting evidence to the contrary, the European Commission is still dreaming of a nuclear Europe.

Time to change the record on corporate tax-dodging

A blog by MEP Molly Scott-Cato

"We follow the rules"..."We follow the rules"..."We follow the rules". Anyone listening to a recording of yesterday's hearings on tax havens in the European Parliament could be forgiven for...

Due diligence needed to protect human rights

A blog from Heidi Hautala

In the beginning of March I received sad and worrying news from Honduras. Berta Cáceres, an internationally acknowledged human rights activist, co-founder of the Council of Indigenous Peoples of Honduras (COPINH), ...

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Greens/EFA Round up

Debriefing of the Strasbourg plenary week 7-11 March 2016

Greens/EFA priorities for the Strasbourg plenary included EU summit on the refugee crisis and Schengen, the possible re-approval of glyphosate, the report on tackling fraud with EU funds, women refugees and asylum seekers in focus on Women's Day, the controversial EU deal with tobacco industry, the report on children's rights in criminal proceedings

Tax transparency

we are getting tired of waiting!

Several tax matters have been discussed this week in the Brussels bubble and ‘spoiler alert’, you haven’t missed much of the last episode. Last Tuesday (08.03.2016), Finance Ministers from all over Europe gathered...

Remembering Fukushima and Chernobyl

Time for a rethink on nuclear

Over the next few weeks the world will commemorate the anniversary of two catastrophes: the fifth anniversary of Fukushima on Friday 11 March and the 30th of Chernobyl on Tuesday 26 April. The world is still struggling to recover from the significant impact of these two accidents, as shown by many studies. Nuclear energy will always be a very high risk technology – an issue that is becoming increasingly pressing in Europe, given its ageing nuclear infrastructure

Women refugees urgently in need

International women's day

According to UNHCR, women and children account for 55% of those reaching Greece to seek asylum in the EU since the beginning of 2016. On this year´s International Women´s Day, we lay a symbolic flower on the unnamed a...

Anti-corruption report led by Greens gains overwhelming majority in the European Parliament

Greens/EFA Member Benedek Javor has achieved a broad coalition within the European Parliament on a report to safeguard the EU’s financial interests (the PIF report) and increase the confidence of citizens by ensuring ...