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This is for people who want more information on actual reports/legislation going through the Parliament.

Summary of Strasbourg Session (10-13 February 2003)

Zimbabwe Resolution

EU Ambassadors recommended weaker sanctions against President Mugabe's regime and allowed Mugabe and his entourage to visit Paris for the Franco-African Summit on 19th February.

The package of sanctions against Mugabe has been weakened by ensuring that future exemptions to the travel ban can only be stopped by a qualified majority vote.

Geoffrey Van Orden MEP said: "The EU is being pathetic and sending entirely the wrong message both to Mugabe and the suffering millions in Zimbabwe. It is not weak political compromises that are needed from the EU, but stronger measures to bring about urgent change for the better in Zimbabwe.

I find it extraordinary that, at the very moment when yet another Zimbabwean opposition MP has been arrested and the opposition leader is on trial facing the most dubious of treason charges, EU Permanent Representatives have had to spend time finding a way of allowing avoidance of their own sanctions.

France is again out of step with most other European countries but has been allowed to get her own way. What we now have is sanctions à la carte, with an exemption for Mugabe, the prime instigator of the oppression and misery of the Zimbabwean people and the supposed main target of EU action".

Issue Of Visas At The Border - Karamanou Report

The European Parliament agreed with the Spanish initiative that tries to tidy up disparate legislation governing the issue of visas at borders and introduces a group visa for groups of seafarers (5 to 50 persons). Conservatives abstained on the vote as the UK is not a member of Schengen.

Freedom Of Movement Of People - Santini Report

MEPs supported controversial proposals to slacken controls on the free movement of people within the EU. Conservatives voted against the proposals which include rules which extend the right of residence from 3 to 6 months for any resident within the EU before they are required to inform the authorities. They also allow the right of permanent residence at the end of a four-year period for any person and their family.

These proposals come at a time of increased terror risk in the EU when Member States are already struggling to cope with the weight of movement of people across the Continent.

Timothy Kirkhope MEP said: "Once again the EU has shown itself to be naive in times of uncertainty. Just a few days ago the US Government put America on the second-highest level of security alert because of an increased risk of terror attacks, meanwhile, the EU is considering slackening rules on the movement of people.

The failure of Labour and Liberal MEPs to help us block these proposals shows once again that they are prepared to put out-dated dogma before concerns for security interests. It is only the Conservatives who are vigilant in their approach to security and protection of citizens from present international threats."

Visa Requirements For 3rd Country Nationals - Hernández Mollar Report

The European Parliament approved Commission proposals to amend the list of third country nationals who must be in possession of visas when they enter the EU. Conservatives voted against the proposals.

Food Additive E 425 konjac - Paulsen Report

The European Parliament supported Commission proposals for a permanent ban on the use of the food additive E 425 konjac in jelly confectionery, in response to reports that jelly mini-cups - bite-sized cakes containing a small piece of fruit - containing the additive pose a risk of death by choking.

EU-Belarus relations - Marset Campos Report

The European Parliament issued an appeal to the authorities of Belarus to make economic and political reforms so that a partnership and co-operation agreement can be finalised with the EU.

EC-Chile Association Agreement - Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra Report

The European Parliament supported the proposed association agreement between the EU and Chile

Transport White Paper - Izquierdo Collado Report

Plans for massive new road tolls were given the go ahead by the European Parliament.

The vote backed Commission proposals requiring new EU-wide transport infrastructure charges. Labour MEPs, who supported the measures, have now given the UK Government a green light to introduce tolls, taxes and other charges on motorways, trunk and urban roads. Any new taxes could have a disproportionate impact on the road haulage industry and could increase business distribution costs.

The Commission's White Paper states that "Community action should therefore be gradually to replace existing transport system taxes (with) charging for infrastructure use."

Jacqueline Foster MEP said: "This vote is a major blow to motorists in the UK and not only gives Ken Livingstone the green light for his proposals, but will result in similar schemes across the country. After today, motorists can say goodbye to fair taxes for car use.

No doubt this tax-obsessed government will use today's vote as another opportunity to tax motorists off the road. It seems that while the Prime Minister and Labour MPs are reluctant to discuss Ken Livingstone's forthcoming road charging scheme in London, Labour MEPs are more than happy to publicly throw their weight behind such plans."

Public Sector Documents - van Velzen Report

The European Parliament voted to extend Commission proposals for a directive on the re-use and commercial exploitation of public sector documents to cover all information in all formats held by public sector bodies. The Commission proposal simply refers to "documents" held by public sector bodies.

Third Generation Mobile Communications - Auroi Report

The European Parliament recommended that a clear direction be set with a view to the introduction of 3G mobile communications in Europe.

e-Economy and European enterprises - Khanbhai Report

The European Parliament supported a report by Bashir Khanbhai which identifies a number of obstacles to the development of e-commerce in the EU and suggests ways of addressing these issues. The resolution pointed out that the EU is lagging behind the US with regard to ICT investment and access to risk capital for enterprises and says that tax incentives are needed to encourage investment by the private sector and venture capitalists.

Forest Focus - Redondo Jiménez Report

The European Parliament supported a proposal for a European Parliament and Council regulation concerning monitoring of forests.

Internal Market - Harbour Report

The need to complete the Internal Market to secure jobs and future economic growth was supported by MEPs.

A report by Conservative MEP Malcolm Harbour, which was endorsed by the European Parliament, also called on EU Governments to agree to open new markets, to bring an end to "gold plating" of EU laws and for quicker and more effective enforcement where the rules are broken. Member States must make this a top priority at next month's EU economic summit.

Malcolm Harbour MEP said: "Completing the Internal Market is crucial to future jobs and economic growth in Europe.

It needs a high-level political initiative, endorsed by EU Prime Ministers, to clear the backlog of Internal Market rules, and to encourage simpler and cheaper new business start-ups. Governments need to establish proper ´hit squads' to clear the blockages. At the same time, business needs to be much more active in bringing problems forward. We want much more ammunition from business to help us pursue the Internal Market laggards.

European governments must also agree to open new markets, especially in the service sector, where there is huge potential for increased cross border marketing and new jobs."

Bluefin Tuna, Swordfish And Bigeye Tuna - Miguélez Ramos Report

The European Parliament approved a Commission proposal on the statistical monitoring of trade in bluefin tuna, swordfish and bigeye tuna within the EU.

Aid For Sexual Health In Developing Countries - Sandbæk Report

MEPS supported a proposal on aid for policies on reproductive and sexual health and rights in developing countries. The most sensitive point is abortion. MEPs underlined the need to reduce the number of abortions carried out in dangerous conditions by cutting unwanted pregnancies through better family planning.

Drug Dependence - Malliori Report

Better measures to prevent the spread of drug dependency related diseases were supported by the European Parliament.

A package of measures, promoted by Conservative MEPs, highlighted the UK experience of good practice schemes for extension across the EU, including needle exchange and information and counselling on less harmful drug use. Many of the measures were introduced by the last Conservative Government and are still available in the UK, including guidelines for clubs and other places where young people congregate. However, access to these schemes varies greatly between countries.

The latest figures show that while the numbers of HIV-related deaths among drug users in the UK has declined since its peak in 1995, it still remains a serious problem. An increasing area of concern is the potential increase in drug-related deaths posed by Hepatitis C. The Annual Report on the UK Drug Situation 2001 states that "a significant proportion of known cases of this infection has arisen through intravenous drug use."

John Bowis MEP said: "The UK gets this right in so many ways, other countries should take a look and adopt some of our ideas. Prevention of drug-related diseases can be controlled if handled correctly. The advantages of schemes such as needle exchange not only protect the addicts, but the community at large.

While we must continue to pursue measures to track down and subsequently stop drug trafficking and drug-related crime, it is clear that there is a role for Member States in the prevention of the spread of drug-related illnesses such as HIV and Hepatitis.

UK reports show that 14% of 14-15 year olds take drugs. They also show 1,200 drug-related deaths per year. We must dissuade children and young people from stepping onto the slippery slope of drugs: but if they have taken the step, we cannot abandon them. We must try both to persuade them to stop and to reduce the harm to themselves and to other young people."

Breast Implants - Stihler Report

The European Parliament passed a resolution taking the view that there is a EU-wide lack of information on the potential risks of breast implants.

Plenary Highlights 13-16 January 2003
Plenary Highlights 17-20 December 2002
Plenary Highlights 18-21 November 2002
"Mini" Plenary Highlights 6-7 November 2002
Plenary Highlights 21-24 October 2002
Plenary Highlights 23-26 September 2002
Plenary Highlights 2-7 September 2002