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Panama Papers

The Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament is calling on the European Commission and European Council to take immediate steps to turn the recommendations of the Panama Papers inquiry into action.

Car emissions scandal

Widening of car emissions scandal throws spotlight on failures of regulators

Commenting on the latest revelation by car manufacturer Volkswagen that many of its cars on the market are also not in line with EU norms on CO2 emissions, in addition to the ongoing scandal relating to air pollutant emissions, Greens/EFA co-president Rebecca Harms said:"This latest revelation ...


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Turkish election

Fundamental principles of democratic elections undermined

Commenting on the outcome of the election in Turkey, Greens/EFA co-presidents Rebecca Harms and Philippe Lamberts said: "Fundamental principles of democratic elections have been undermined in this election. While Erdogan has succeeded in his strategy, the AKP victory was not achieved via a fair...


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Saudi Arabia/human rights

Raif Badawi awarded Sakharov Prize

The 2015 Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought has been awarded to Saudi Arabian online activist Raif Badawi, who was nominated by the Greens/EFA group for this year's prize. The decision was taken in today's Conference of Presidents of the political groups in the European Parliament, based on a sho...


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GMO authorisation

EU Parliament rejects flawed GMO food and feed opt-outs proposal

The European Parliament today voted to reject a proposal by the European Commission for a new scheme under which EU member states could opt out of EU authorisations for genetically-modified food and feed (1). After the vote, Green food safety spokesperson Bart Staes said: “The European Parliament...


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Air quality

EU Parliament gives shot in the arm to draft air pollution law

The European Parliament today voted on a proposal to revise EU air quality legislation, setting out national limits on a range of air pollutants. The proposal strengthens the existing rules and extends the limits until 2030. Commenting after the vote, Green environment spokesperson Bas Eickhout said...


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European Citizens' Initiative

EU Parliament votes for stronger voice for EU citizens

The European Parliament today adopted a report setting out its opinion on the European Citizens' Initiative and how it can be improved. Commenting after the vote, Greens/EFA vice-president Josep Maria Terricabras said: "The European Parliament has today voted to strengthen the European Citizens...


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Structural and cohesion policy

EU's cohesion policy goals must not become a hostage of economic cycles

The European Parliament today adopted a report on EU structural and investment funds (1). The report sets out the EP's position on a proposal by the European Commission to directly link EU member states' macroeconomic stability with the payment of EU Cohesion Funds. Commenting on the outcome of vote...


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Car pollution

Cars allowed to exceed EU pollution limits under scandalous decision by EU governments

EU governments today approved a new testing procedure for car pollutant emissions under the EU's so-called 'comitology' regulatory process (1). While the test is being described as a 'real driving emissions' test, it would include loopholes allowing cars which exceed the pollutan...


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EFA logo

EU must act on Saharawi floods

Press release from EFA MEP Jordi Sebastià (Compromís)

In an initiative led by Greens/EFA MEP Jordi Sebastià, 62 MEPs from six different political groups are calling on the European Commission to act to help Saharawi refugees affected by devastating flooding in the Tindouf region of Algeria. MEP Jordi Sebastià The MEPs have co-signed an open letter to...


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EP tax investigation

Special committee must be extended to allow more complete investigation

The European Parliament's special committee investigating tax issues yesterday evening voted on a report, summarising the findings of the investigation so far. While the Greens voted in favour of the report, which contains some ambitious proposals, the group has argued that the investigation is ...


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Trade and human rights

EP votes to close loopholes in rules allowing trade of torture equipment

The European Parliament today voted on proposals to revise EU trade rules, focusing on provisions to prevent the trade in goods which could be used for torture or capital punishment. The vote will set out the parliament's position ahead of negotiations with EU governments on finalising the legislati...


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EU e-comms rules

Net neutrality threatened under hollow promise of roaming charge end

The European Parliament today voted to adopt a legislative agreement on EU electronic communications rules. Commenting after the vote, Green internet and telecoms spokesperson Michel Reimon said: "The new e-communications rules adopted today are being sold as a victory for consumers but this is...


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Car pollution scandal

European Parliament calls for EU to step up its response to 'dieselgate'

The European Parliament today adopted a resolution setting out its main demands in response to the scandal regarding car pollutant emissions from Volkswagen and other car manufacturers. Commenting after the vote, Greens/EFA co-president Rebecca Harms said: "The European Parliament has today ...


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EFA logo

SNP MEPs vote to protect free and open internet

Press release from SNP MEPs Ian Hudghton & Alyn Smith (EFA)

Today SNP Members of the European Parliament Alyn Smith and Ian Hudghton voted to protect the freedom of Internet users. MEPs Alyn Smith & Ian Hudghton Unfortunately the Parliament voted against various amendments to the flawed European Telecom Single Market (TSM) Package. As passed this comprom...


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EFA logo

Welcoming migrants will help Europe lead in the world

Press release from EFA MEP Ernest Maragall (Catalonia)

Responding to today's debate on migration in the European Parliament, Catalan MEP Ernest Maragall said that welcoming migrants could help Europe lead in the world. MEP Ernest Maragall The MEP pointed out that nations such as the USA, Canada and Australia, which have welcomed migrants are leaders in ...


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EFA logo

EU must be more than a cartel on tax competition

Press release from EFA MEP Ernest Maragall (Catalonia)

One year on from the Luxleaks revelations which prompted an investigation into 'tax ruling' deals granted to multinational companies in EU member states, the European Parliament has today finally voted on a series of recommendations. Catalan MEP Ernest Maragall is a member of the European Parliament...


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Car pollution scandal

Latest case shows systemic failure in regulation must be urgently addressed

Commenting on the latest allegations in Germany that a new car manufacturer, Opel, may have also falsified pollutant emissions data, according to research by a Swiss institute (1), Greens/EFA co-president Rebecca Harms said: "This latest scandal underlines that this is a sector-wide problem ...


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State aid/Fiat-Starbucks

EU Commission decision strikes important blow against sweetheart tax avoidance deals

The European Commission today presented its findings of investigations into illegal state aid regarding special tax agreements benefitting Fiat (in Luxembourg) and Starbucks (in the Netherlands) (1). The Commission found that the 'tax rulings', which enabled the companies to relocate their profits ...


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EU summit

Erdogan as EU’s border guard-in-chief

At the EU summit last night, EU heads of state and government committed to an agreement with Turkey on the response to the refugee crisis. The agreement would include €3bn in funding for Turkey, a simplified visa procedure and the opening of further chapters in Turkey's EU accession negotiations. ...


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Saudi Arabia/human rights

Raif Badawi chosen on shortlist for Sakharov Prize 2015

The shortlist for the 2015 Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought was today selected by the European Parliament's foreign affairs, development and human rights committees (1). The shortlist includes Saudi Arabian online activist Raif Badawi, who was nominated by the Greens/EFA group for this year's p...


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Turkey attack

MEPs call for impartial investigation in cross-political letter to Turkish PM

Over 50 MEPs from different political groups have co-signed a letter to Turkish Prime Minister Davutoğlu calling for a 'full and impartial investigation' of the recent Ankara bombings. The letter expresses concern for the escalation of violence in Turkey and condemns attacks on innocent civilian p...


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GMO authorisation

Syngenta GMO scandal underlines need to overhaul EU authorisation system

According to revelations published today, 6 genetically modified maize varieties that have been authorised for import into the EU carry genetic modifications that were not included in the assessment when the crops were authorised (1). The additional GM traits were only notified to the European Food ...


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UN climate change talks

EU must push for UN deal to avoid dangerous climate change say MEPs

The European Parliament today adopted a resolution, setting out its position on the UN climate change negotiations ahead of the forthcoming UN climate summit in Paris (COP21). Commenting after the vote, Green MEP Benedek Javor said: "The European Parliament has today underlined the need for the...


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GMO authorisations

MEPs vote to send Commission back to drawing board on GMO food and feed opt-outs proposal

The European Parliament's environment committee today voted to reject a proposal by the European Commission for a new scheme under which EU member states could opt out of EU authorisations for genetically-modified food and feed (1). After the vote, Green food safety spokesperson Bart Staes said: ...


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Organic farming rules

MEPs vote to boost sustainability and credibility of organic farming

The European Parliament's agriculture committee today voted on draft new EU rules on organic farming. The vote sets out parliament's position and paves the way for trilogue negotiations with EU governments, with a view to finalising the legislation. Commenting after the vote, Green agriculture spoke...


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Car pollution scandal

EU Commission must stop being passive and deliver a coherent EU response

The Greens/EFA group has written to the European Commission setting out necessary action to be taken in response to the scandal regarding the compliance of Volkswagen and other manufacturers with EU law on pollutant emissions from cars (1). The group took the initiative following a European Parliame...


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Railway policy

Technical harmonisation can save millions

EU transport ministers today agreed their position on the 4th Railway Package, setting out rules governing the rail sector in Europe. This paves the way for negotiations with the European Parliament to finalising the legislation. Commenting on the Council agreement, Green transport spokesperson Kari...


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EU payment service rules

Scrapping payment card surcharges a major boost for consumers

The European Parliament today voted to adopt new EU legislation on payment services within the EU. The new rules include provisions scrapping surcharges on credit and debit cards, which should come into force within two years. Commenting after the vote, Green finance spokesperson Eva Joly said: &quo...


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Data protection

EU governments undermining common data protection standards

EU justice ministers are expected to agree on a common position on the data protection directive at the Justice and Home Affairs Council tomorrow (Friday). Commenting on the expected agreement, Green home affairs spokesperson Jan Philipp Albrecht, who is the European Parliament's rapporteur/draftspe...


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Syria

Greens call on EU to engage for peaceful solution

The European Parliament today debated the crisis in Syria. Commenting in the context of the debate, Green foreign affairs spokespersons Barbara Lochbihler and Tamas Meszerics stated: "The year-long air strikes by the US-led coalition against the Islamic State (IS) and the current Russian attack...


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Refugee crisis/home affairs council

Returns proposals risk dismantling EU asylum law

EU home affairs ministers will meet tomorrow (Thursday) to discuss a number of further measures in response to the refugee crisis, including on a proposal on returns of failed asylum seekers and refugees. Ahead of the Council, Green migration spokesperson Ska Keller stated: "It seems EU gover...


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Merkel-Hollande debate

Internal stability of the EU a prerequisite for solving other crises

Commenting in the context of the European Parliament debate with French President Hollande and German Chancellor Merkel, Greens/EFA president Rebecca Harms said: "Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande have stumbled from one crisis to the next without properly solving the underlying problems ...


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Data protection/Facebook

EU court safeguards fundamental right to data protection

The European Court of Justice today issued its judgement on a case concerning the transfer by Facebook of the data of EU citizens to the US under the 'Safe Harbor'. The court found that the transfer of private data to the US by Facebook is at odds with EU data protection rules. Commenting on the ru...


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EU tax rules

Full transparency on controversial corporate 'tax rulings' remains elusive

EU finance ministers today adopted new EU rules on information exchange between member states on taxation and, notably, the tax rulings agreed with corporations, which were the subject of the Luxembourg leaks revelations. The final legislation agreed by finance ministers is weaker than what had been...


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GMO authorisation

Majority of EU member states opt to ban GMO cultivation; Commission must give full support

Tomorrow is the deadline for EU member states to opt-out of EU authorisations for the cultivation of genetically-modified organisms under new EU rules. Ahead of the deadline, the Commission has confirmed that 15 of 28 member states have indicated they will opt-out and more are expected to do so befo...


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Capital Markets Union

Crucial project cannot be smokescreen for financial deregulation

The European Commission today presented an action plan on creating the much-anticipated Capital Markets Union, setting out measures it intends to propose to this end. Commenting on the action plan, Green economic and finance spokesperson Sven Giegold said: "Creating a Capital Markets Union is a...


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EFA logo

MEPs welcome Juncker's reply on Catalan independence

Press release from EFA MEPs Josep-Maria Terricabras & Ernest Maragall

- 'it is not for the Commission to express a position on questions of internal organisation related to the constitutional arrangements of a particular Member State' - Juncker MEPs Terricabras and Maragall EFA MEPs Josep-Maria Terricabras and Ernest Maragall have welcomed a clarification from Europea...


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EU summit/refugee crisis

Small pieces of the puzzle agreed for EU asylum policy but comprehensive solution must follow

Commenting on the outcome of the EU summit on the refugee crisis, Greens/EFA co-president Rebecca Harms said: "EU governments are slowly moving towards a more common response to the refugee crisis. Following Tuesday's agreement on the emergency relocation system for refugees, last night's agre...


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Data protection/Facebook

'Safe Harbor' must be immediately suspended by EU Commission

The advocate general of the European Court of Justice today issued his legal opinion on a case concerning the transfer by Facebook of the data of EU citizens to the US under 'Safe Harbor'. The advocate general found that the transfer of private data to the US by Facebook is at odds with EU data prot...


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Car pollution rules

EU must fix testing loopholes to stop carmakers gaming the system

The European Parliament's environment committee will tomorrow vote on a draft law, updating the EU's Euro 5/6 regulation limiting pollution from road vehicles. The vote takes place amidst revelations that the US Environmental Protection Agency is fining German car manufacturer Volkswagen for...


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Refugee crisis

EU governments must break the impasse

Commenting ahead of today's council of EU home affairs ministers on the refugee crisis, Green asylum and migration spokesperson Ska Keller, who was the European Parliament's rapporteur/draftsperson on the original redistribution scheme, said: "The persistent prevarication and squabbling between...


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Hungary/refugee crisis

Commission must investigate if Hungary has breached EU law

The Greens/EFA group has called on the European Commission to investigate the package of new laws on asylum, which were adopted in Hungary over the past week. In a letter to Commission president Juncker, the group has highlighted concerns that the laws are in conflict with EU law and has called on ...


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Climate change policy

EU must up ambition to have credibility in UN climate summit in Paris

EU environment ministers are expected to agree on the EU's negotiating position for the forthcoming UN climate summit in Paris (COP21) at their council meeting tomorrow. Commenting ahead of the council, Green climate change spokesperson Yannick Jadot said: "It is disheartening to hear that EU g...


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EU trade policy

Cosmetic investment court proposal fails to address core problems with ISDS

EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström today presented a proposal for reforming the controversial investor-state dispute settlement mechanism (ISDS) in the context of trade agreements. The Greens criticised the new 'Investment Court System', which would maintain the fundamental problem...


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EFA logo

Spain's 'Gag law' is a 'direct attack on any public display of dissent'

Press release from EFA MEP Josep-Maria Terricabras (Catalonia)

The European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee has discussed Spain's controversial Citizens' Security Law, colloquially known as the Gag Law. The law restricts the right to demonstrate near the Spanish Congress, Senate and regional parliaments, which could lead to fines of up to €600,000, an...


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EU Commission work programme

MEPs criticise deregulation drive under commissioner Timmermans

The European Parliament today adopted a resolution on the draft work programme of the European Commission for 2016. Commenting after the vote Greens/EFA vice-president Bas Eickhout said: "MEPs have today again issued a rebuke to the drive by EU Commission vice-president Timmermans to cut back E...


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Turkey

Appeal for peace from the chairs of the European Parliament's political groups

An appeal for peace in Turkey was today launched by the chairs of the EPP, S&D, Liberal, GUE/NGL and Greens/EFA groups in the European Parliament, following an initiative of the Greens. The appeal calls for the peace process to restart and for all sides to return to the negotiating table.The tex...


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Refugee crisis

Internal squabbling prolonged as EU rights and freedoms under threat

Commenting on the outcome of today's meeting of EU home affairs ministers on the refugee crisis, Greens/EFA co-president Philippe Lamberts said: "It is disheartening that, despite the ever more dramatic humanitarian crisis on the EU's southern borders, EU governments could only agree to prolong...


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Turkey

EU must exert pressure to end conflict

Commenting on the developing situation in Turkey, with a wave of attacks on the pro-Kurdish HDP party and a clampdown on the press, Greens/EFA president Rebecca Harms said: "The growing violence in Turkey is alarming and threatens the stability of the country, with civil war a real prospect. EU...


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