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European Commission

The next European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, unveiled the proposed candidates for Commissioners and their portfolios. The nominees will face hearings in the European Parliament in the coming weeks.

@Erich Westendarp

Environment Committee wants significantly greener agriculture policy

CAP reform

Today, the Environment Committee (ENVI) of the European Parliament voted on the reform of the Common Agriculture Policy. MEPs favour a much greener CAP reform than proposed by the European Commission, says ENVI committee member Bas Eickhout, leading candidate of the European Greens for the European elections:


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Women working in textile factory

A big step towards a more social Europe

European Labour Authority

Negotiations on the European Labour Authority have just been concluded with stronger protections for cross-border workers. The European Labour Agency will strengthen the functioning of the Internal Market and will help better detect mailbox companies, bogus self-employment and other fraudulent business models across all EU Member States and mediate between national authorities in labour disputes. It will also cooperate with trade unions and social partners in EU Member States. The Greens/EFA group have long argued for a more social Europe that protects workers' rights.


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EU deal on copyright a blow to the free internet

Copyright

"This deal is a threat to small publishers, authors and internet users alike and risks putting the internet as we know it solely in the hands of the tech and media giants. Upload filters do not work as algorithms simply cannot tell the difference between copyright infringements and legal parodies. Even the most sophisticated upload filters routinely block perfectly legal content." Julia Reda, Greens/EFA Vice President and shadow rapporteur on the Copyright Directive


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Trial of Catalan political prisoners

Press release from EFA MEPs J-M Terricabras & Jordi Solé

EFA MEPs from Catalonia have spoken out in the European Parliament this week as the trial gets underway in Madrid of the Catalan political prisoners - government ministers, civil society leaders and former Speaker of the Catalan parliament - for seeking to assert Catalonia's right to self-determ...


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©axel-ahoi

Deal against a sustainable and fair international trade policy

EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement

The European Union's trade agreement with Singapore and the accompanying investment protection agreement have just been adopted by the majority of Members of the European Parliament. The Greens/EFA voted against.


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New EU blacklist successful tool to combat money laundering

Anti-Money Laundering

The European Commission has unveiled its 'blacklist' of 23 jurisdictions where there is a significant risk of money laundering. The list contains 'third country' jurisdictions and includes places such as the Bahamas, the US Virgin Islands, Panama and Saudi Arabia. The list will require all traders in the EU doing business in goods or services worth more than €10,000 in jurisdictions on the blacklist to undertake enhanced due diligence on transactions. The blacklist comes as a result of the EU's Anti-Money Laundering Directive, which is currently being ratified by Member States, and will see the Commission undertake enhanced assessments of the jurisdictions on the list.


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shannonpatrick17 (CC BY 2.0)

Revisions to Gas Directive will limit power of monopolies to threaten energy supply

Energy

Late last night, trilogue negotiations were concluded on revisions to the Gas Directive, which strengthens EU market rules around gas pipelines entering the EU from third countries. The revisions will make it harder for Member States and third countries, such as Russia, to pursue pipeline projects which that undermine European solidarity and pose a security risk, such as Nord Stream 2.


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Italian PM Conte to address European Parliament

Future of Europe

The Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will address the European Parliament in the "Future of Europe" debate. The President of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament, Philippe Lamberts, criticizes the Italian government for its short-sighted economic and social policies.


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CC BY-NC 2.0 Rainforest Action Network/ Flickr

Palm oil

Quote Bas Eickhout

"The battle is not over, the proposal is under consultation for the next four weeks so we, along with civil society and the public, still have time to close these loopholes and clamp down on destructive palm oil entering the EU. Green victories never come without a fight." Bas Eickhout, Greens/EFA rapporteur on the file and leading candidate of the European Green Party in the European elections


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©jorge-gonzalez

EU-Morocco fisheries agreement violates international humanitarian law

Fisheries

Today, Members of the European Parliament voted in favour of the planned fisheries agreement between the European Union and Morocco. The vast majority of the catches under this agreement are however to take place to the waters of Western Sahara, occupied by Morocco.


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Expansion of Frontex should only happen with stronger fundamental rights

Frontex

The members of the Committee on Justice and Home Affairs have just voted on their position on the mandate for the negotiations on the European Border Management Agency, Frontex. The Greens/EFA were able to assert their demands to hold Frontex accountable for possible violations of fundamental rights, to strengthen the role of the Officer for Fundamental Rights and not to allow the European Border Management Agency to deport people from third countries to other third countries.


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©ben-rosett

Corporate Europe Observatory report on Council lobbying

Quote from Benedek Jávor MEP

A new report from Corporate Europe Observatory: "Captured states: when EU governments are a channel for corporate interests” reveals that the complex and opaque nature of decisions made in the Council of Ministers often benefits corporate interests over those of citizens.


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© ktsimage

EU countries must develop counter strategy on nukes

Crisis on INF

The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, announced that the United States will formally withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), which was signed between the US and the Soviet Union and successfully led to the disarmament of around 2,700 short and intermediate range missiles primarily from European soil during the 1990s. The end of the INF Treaty could result in a new global arms race for short and intermediate range nuclear weapons and pose a severe risk to global security.  This development comes after the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in 2017, of which 70 states have so far signed, and 20 have ratified. So far the only EU country which has ratified the ban treaty is Austria.


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MEPs vote for new rules on lobbying in major victory for transparency

Transparency

The European Parliament has just voted for binding rules for more transparency around MEPs' meetings with lobbyists. The report calls for stricter rules around rapporteurs and other MEPs in other official positions to disclose their meetings with interest representatives on the Transparency Register. In an extremely unusual steps the EPP group had pushed through a secret ballot on the new transparency rules.


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© European Union 2015 - Source EP

Future of Europe debate: Prime Minister of Finland, Mr Juha Sipilä

Quote from Ska Keller

The Prime Minister of Finland, Mr Juha Sipilä addresses the European Parliament on the Future of Europe. Ska Keller, President of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament and lead candidate, takes part in the debate.


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Council must act on Hungary

Rule of law

We cannot foster autocracy within our Union, which is supposed to be based on democracy and the rule of law. So long as other EU governments stay quiet on the dire situation in Hungary, they are encouraging Orbán to continue on his anti-democratic path.


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Non-compliance with EU rules on railway safety

Press release from EFA MEP Ana Miranda (Galicia)

Galician MEP Ana Miranda has insisted that the opening of infringement procedures against the Spanish state for non-compliance with EU rules on rail safety, announced last Thursday by the European Commission, should have political consequences for former Spanish ministers José Blanco and Ana ...


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Transparency International Corruption Index

Quote from Benedek Jávor MEP

Transparency International released their annual Corruption Perceptions Index, which showed that among others Hungary has slid in score considerably over the five years. Malta, Romania and Bulgaria have all slipped significantly in TI's rankings in the last year.


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Macedonia Map © mjbs

Historic name deal between Greece and North Macedonia a victory for peace

Prespes Agreement

This historic agreement is a victory for peace in the region. Having overcome huge obstacles, the Prespes name deal opens the door to a European future for North Macedonia and cements peace between the two countries. Both Prime Ministers Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev must be commended for their pragmatic and courageous efforts to resolve the name dispute


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Government plans to legalise corruption

Romania

The Romanian government is planning to use emergency ordinance measures to allow officials convicted of corruption to escape their sentences. Romania, which holds the rotating presidency of the EU Council, must immediately halt any attempts to provide amnesty for corruption offences, according to the Group/EFA group.


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Child & dad playing in the grass©ZoneCreative

Work life Balance Directive

Statement by Ernest Urtasun

The European Parliament, the European Council and the European Commission have reached an agreement on the Directive on work-life balance. In the future, the right to ten days of paid paternity leave will apply to all EU countries, as well as the right to five days/year of carers leave and the right to four months of parental leave per parent (two of which will be non-transferable and paid). In the European Union, women take almost three times more unpaid leave than men do to care for their children or parents.


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David Sedlecký CC BY-SA 4.0

New conflict of interest ruling on Czech PM Andrej Babis

Quote from Bart Staes MEP

A Czech municipal authority in Černošice has ruled that Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has a conflict of interest around his media organisations that are controlled by the Agrofert group. Under Czech law it is illegal for a Prime Minister to control media organisations.


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Leaving the EU will devastate regional development

Press release from EFA MEP Jill Evans (Plaid Cymru)

The worst regional inequality in Europe is between London and Wales, new research has found. The research from the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) also found that the UK would be entitled to €13 billion (in excess of £11 billion) of regional development funding for the...


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ggia (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The European Greens: "We need a rescue programme for the Mediterranean and not remnants"

Mission Sophia

The German government has announced that it will not extend the Sophia mission because of the dispute with the Italian government over the reception of refugees. The mission has so far saved 45,000 people from drowning during their journey to the European Union. Last weekend, more than 100 people drowned.


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Golden visa schemes pose serious risks

Quote from Sven Giegold MEP

Today, the European Commission warned EU Member States of controversial "golden visas" programmes that sell residence permits and even citizenship to non-EU citizens in exchange for money and investment. The European Commission's report is a result of a long running Greens/EFA push for more transparency around golden visa schemes.


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Jigsaw and money © alexsl

Vast differences in corporate tax rates across EU shows urgent need for transparency – new report

Tax

Today, a new report by the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament shows the privileges given to multinationals through low corporate tax rates across Europe. The report 'Effective Tax Rates of Multinational Enterprises in the EU' quantifies the difference between nominal and effective tax rates for multinationals in the EU. Effective tax rates in the European Union (15% on average) are well below nominal tax rates (23%). Multinationals may have an effective tax rate as low as 2% and as high as 30% across the EU.


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European day of action against TTIP

The EU must not bow to Trump's delusional trade tariffs

TTIP reloaded

The Commission is breaking its promise not to negotiate trade deals at gunpoint. The Trump Administration has its finger on the trigger, threatening to increase steel tariffs further if negotiations do not move fast enough. The EU must maintain its position as the world's leading trading bloc and not bow to the whims of Donald Trump's delusional approach to trade.


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Calls for swift action on citizens' rights in event of Brexit no-deal

Press release from EFA MEP Alyn Smith (SNP)

As the deadline to reach a Brexit agreement approaches, and with no obvious way forward to reach a deal, Alyn Smith MEP has authored a joint letter to EU leaders calling for swift action to protect the rights of citizens in the event of a chaotic no-deal. The letter, cosigned by twenty-four other...


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Camilo Rueda López (CC BY-ND 2.0)

European Parliament supports greater cross-border cooperation between tax authorities

Fiscalis programme

The European Parliament has voted with a broad pro-European majority in favour of the Fiscalis programme for improving cross-border cooperation between tax authorities, which is part of the Multi-Financial-Framework (MFF) programmes currently being negotiated between the Parliament, Council and Commission.


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©-Tobias-Keckel

The EU needs new tools to protect and support the rule of law

European Values

Today, the European Parliament voted in favour of a support scheme for civil society organisations working to promote human rights and democracy in the EU. Almost €1 billion will be allocated to the scheme, and it will also become easier for smaller organisations to apply for EU funds. The report authored by Greens/EFA MEP Bodil Valero also contains special emergency measures to support civil society organisations in Member States where there is a rapid and serious deterioration of the rule of law.


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©jakob-madsen

EU must remain a reliable partner in decommissioning nuclear power plant

Nuclear power/Lithuania

The European Parliament is sending a signal of reliability in assisting the people of Lithuania in the decommissioning of the outdated Ignalina nuclear power plant


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Parliament approves Terricabras report on Fundamental Rights

Press release from EFA MEP J-M Terricabras

The European Parliament has today voted to approve a report prepared by MEP Josep-Maria Terricabras which analyses the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union (in 2017). The report, approved by MEPs, calls for "impartial" investigations into the excessive use of police for...


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Pgiam istock

EU Parliament adopts strong recommendations to better protect health and the environment

Final Report Special Committee on Pesticides

The European Parliament has just called on EU governments and the European Commission to make the authorisation procedure for pesticides more transparent, to take decisions based on independent scientific evidence, to test pesticides and pesticide active substances more rigorously for health and environmental risks, and to re-asses the product glyphosate for its cancer risks


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Call for unilateral action to guarantee citizens' rights in Brexit

Press release from EFA MEP Alyn Smith (SNP)

Greens/EFA MEP Alyn Smith (SNP) has today urged the EU to act unilaterally to guarantee the rights of citizens who have been left in limbo following the UK Government’s botched handling of the Brexit negotiations. Speaking in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the SNP MEP said: &ldqu...


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Spanish government must push for social and green Europe

Future of Europe

The Spanish government shows in many areas that a greener and a more social Europe is possible. We welcome the Spanish government's very concrete measures to help families in need and to bring forward the energy transition.


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UK Parliament(CC BY 3.0)

The time for games is over

Brexit

This devastating defeat for Theresa May cannot be seen as a crisis but as an opportunity to break the deadlock in the UK Parliament and take the question of Brexit back to the people. The time for political games is over, the solution to this crisis must be put to the British public


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Gender equality and taxation policies in the EU

Quotes from Ernest Urtasun and Molly Scott Cato

Today, the European Parliament has voted for a raft of actions aimed at supporting gender equality in taxation policies. The report gender equality and taxation policies in the EU, which was co-authored by Greens/EFA MEP Ernest Urtasun, calls on the European Commission to end gender-discrimination in taxation policies through the individualisation of tax systems and for VAT exemptions for essential basic goods such as sanitary products.


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Glyphosate renewal rife with chemical industry influence - new findings

Public health/Glyphosate

Today, Bart Staes, Greens/EFA MEP and co-rapporteur for the PEST Committee on the EU pesticide authorisation procedure, together with colleagues from other groups, present damning new evidence on the chemical industry's involvement in the procedure for renewing the authorisation of the dangerous substance glyphosate.


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Symbolic gestures on tax not enough

Tax

The European Commission will unveil plans to move decisions on tax issues under Qualified Majority Voting (QMV) in the Council. However, Member States will still retain a veto over tax issues under the current unanimity rule. Following on from major tax scandals, as well as an urgent need to introduce new legislation on key tax issues, core files have been stuck for months or years in the Council.


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Creative Commons CC0

EU governments must abolish modern slavery on Europe's roads

Mobility Package/Transport

"It is a victory for trade unions and all those working towards fairer working conditions that the European Commission and a cross-party group of MEPs were unable to pursue their anti-social aims in the Transport Committee. " said Keith Taylor


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European Parliament to debate situation in Hungary on Greens/EFA request

Hungary

Following the mass protests in Hungary around the so-called "slave law" and opposition to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's autocratic rule, the European Parliament on the request of the Greens/EFA group, has tabled a plenary debate on the situation in Hungary for the end of January in Brussels (30th or 31st).


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JLogan (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Romania has a lot of work to do at home and in Brussels

EU Council Presidency

On the start of the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council, Philippe Lamberts, President of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament comments.


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main-charbon - pixnio.jpg

Last call for coal

Electricity Market Design

After lengthy negotiations, the EU agreed on the directive and regulation on electricity market design, which will see an end to subsidies for coal power by mid-2025. The agreement, while still insufficient to reach the Climate Paris Goals is still a step in the right direction towards ending coal subsidies and increasing the role of renewables in the energy market.


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Image by Hans

EU bans single use plastics in an early Christmas present for the planet

Plastic

Today's agreement to ban certain single use plastics is an early Christmas present for the planet and our future on it. With every plastic bottle that washes up on a beach and each bird that chokes to death on our plastic waste, the need to act on plastic pollution is ever more pertinent.


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Ruben de Rijcke (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Parliament is the driving force behind stronger reductions on CO2 emissions for cars

CO2 emissions

"The kind of effort showed by EU governments is the equivalent of switching from fifth to fourth gear while keeping your foot on the accelerator; it'll slow you down a little but it won't stop the car from crashing. Yet, despite reluctance from the capitals, the European Parliament has proven that it is the only institution in the driving seat on the road to reaching the Paris climate goals.", said Bas Eickhout


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© Martin-Pluimers

Hungary protests

Quote from Judith Sargentini

Following protests this weekend in Hungary around the so-called new "slave law", which allows employers to increase the amount of overtime for employees without financial compensation, and after the governing Fidesz party tightened control over the courts, the media and forced the closure of the Central European University, the European Council must initiate Article 7 proceedings against the Hungarian government, according to the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament. Read the declaration of Judith Sargentini, Greens/EFA rapporteur on the rule of law in Hungary report.


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©des

Major gap between expectations of citizens and decisions of governments

UN climate negotiations (COP24)

This COP was a big disappointment. It showed that there is a major gap between the expectations of the citizens and the analysis of the scientists on one hand and the decisions of the governments on the other hand.


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Tax avoidance

Parliament slams inaction on tech tax

Proposal to tax tech giants

It's time that the tech giants paid their fair share. These companies, which are increasingly part of our everyday lives, from how we consume content and goods to how we communicate, and they should be treated as equal contributors to society


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David Sedlecký CC BY-SA 4.0

Czech PM's conflict of interest must end

Andrej Babiš

"Today's vote could not be any clearer: the European Commission must ensure that the conflict of interest around Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš is resolved. There's no doubt that Mr Babiš is seriously violating EU financial regulation", said Greens/EFA Co-President, Ska Keller.


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European flags © Xavier Häpe

EU Summit - 13 and 14 December

Quote from Greens/EFA Co-President Ska Keller

The European Council must break its current cycle of deadlock and postponement. We urgently need progress on a common European asylum system as well as on the Eurozone reform. On Brexit, it is clear that there cannot be a change in the withdrawal agreement.


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