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Parliamentary Highlights

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

Summary of Strasbourg Session (12-15 May 2003)

Combined production of Heat and Power (CHP) - Glante Report

The European Parliament supported this report on the promotion of "cogeneration" (the combined production of heat and power, or CHP), which forms part of efforts to complete the single market in electricity and gas.

World Shipbuilding - Valdivielso de Cué Report

The European Parliament attacked the subsidies handed out to South Korean shipyards which, according to MEPs, have resulted in unfair competition and a decline in the European shipbuilding industry.

MEPs point to the fact that the EU's share of the shipbuilding market has declined from 19% in 2000 to only 10% in the first half of 2002. MEPs also draw attention to reports which show that South Korea has continued to offer prices below cost, with negative margins varying between 20% and 40%, and has also maintained bankrupt shipyards in full operation.

Simplification of the Regulatory Environment - Sacconi Report

The European Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution on 'Simplifying and Improving the Regulatory Environment'.

Economic Policy Guidelines for 2003 - Manuel García-Margallo y Marfil Report

In assessing the Commission's Broad Economic Policy Guidelines for Europe's economy, the European Parliament called for more progress in structural reforms and called on the Commission to come up with a new Structural Reform Action Plan with specific goals to be completed by 2010.

Insurance for Aircraft - Nicholson Report

Despite resistance by the Commission, the European Parliament adopted this report demanding smaller insurance categories for smaller aircraft. This was good news for the operators in this sector, who claimed they would face bankruptcy if the Commission's proposals for much higher insurance cover requirements had been adopted.

ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly 2002 - Miranda Report

In adopting this resolution which covers the work of the JPA in 2002, MEPs focused on the decision to cancel the November 2002 meeting, following the deteriorating political situation in Zimbabwe and the decision to send two Zimbabwe ministers despite being subject to EU sanctions.

To avoid the recurrence of such a situation in the future, Parliament called for sanctions to be imposed only following a joint decision by the representatives of the EU and ACP countries.

EU Statistics on Income and Living Conditions - Bouwman Report

The European Parliament adopted a legislative resolution on statistics relating to the labour force sample survey.

Environmental Liability - Manders Report

The introduction of compulsory environmental liability insurance, supported on Wednesday in the European Parliament, will mean huge costs to British industry. The Government estimates that this could be as high as £1.8bn per annum.

The environmental insurance market is undeveloped, with uncertain risks. Compulsory financial security is opposed by the insurance industry and the British Government. The vote today was passed thanks to the support of Labour MEPs.

Lord Inglewood MEP said: "What a shambles. This will do little to help the environment but will force huge costs on industry. It is now down to the Government in the Council of Ministers to sort out this self-inflicted muddle. The Government must remove compulsory insurance and persuade its own MEPs that this is detrimental to British business."

Recreational Crafts - Callanan Report

The European Parliament supported the agreement reached with the European Council on recreational crafts. Key elements in the agreement are:

•   replica diesel engines installed in craft built for own use will be exempt from the exhaust and emission requirements
•   the Council accepted a minimum 3dB noise allowance for all engine types
•   Parliament dropped its demand for a specific provision in favour of a system of non-compliance

Parliament's Estimates for 2004 - Gill Report

With the number of MEPs set to increase from 626 members to 732 after enlargement and next year's June European elections, the European Parliament approved estimates for Parliament's 2004 budget amounting to some €1.2bn.

The resolution draws attention to a number of outstanding issues such as a common salary or statute for MEPs and coming to terms with the use of nine new languages.

Involvement of Employees - De Rossa Report

The European Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution on the involvement of employees in the European co-operative society. The resolution reiterates Parliament's previously-stated priorities regarding employee involvement in the context of the European Company Statute.

Non Commercial Movement of Pets - Evans Report

The European Parliament supported the agreement reached with the European Council on the non-commercial movement of pets.

The main purpose of the regulation is to facilitate the free movement of pet animals while guaranteeing a high level of protection for human and animal health. To that end, it seeks to harmonise animal health measures and the controls on non-commercial movements of pet animals within the Community and from non-member countries.

Iraq - Commission Statement

Jonathan Evans MEP spoke in the debate on Iraq on Wednesday, paying tribute to the 172 soldiers who lost their lives during the conflict as well as all the military forces. He said that: "Now that the conflict is over, the emphasis is rightly on the stabilisation of Iraq, the building of civil society, on creating the conditions for a democratic state that can live in peace with its neighbours, and on restoring the Iraqi economy in the interests of the Iraqi people. Of course, there are great hurdles to overcome - that is not in dispute. However, we should be in no doubt that only the removal of Saddam has made these things possible.

If Europe is serious about defence and security, then it needs to provide the financial resources. New and divisive structures are not needed. We need increased capability. I hope that Europe has learned a lesson from this crisis. NATO and the transatlantic alliance must remain the bedrock of Europe's defence."

Foot and Mouth - Kreissl-Dörfler Report

The European Parliament supported a Commission proposal to tackle future animal disease outbreaks like the devastating foot and mouth disease (FMD) epidemic which hit Europe over a year ago.

The Parliament endorsed the Commission proposal since it largely takes on board the recommendations of the parliament's temporary committee on foot-and-mouth disease issued in December last year.

Taiwan, China and SARS - Resolution

MEPs adopted a joint resolution calling on the World Health Organisation in Geneva to accept observer status for Taiwan. The Taiwan authorities sought advice and assistance from the WHO at a very early stage to combat Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) because of the lack of information from the competent authorities in China.

Charles Tannock MEP said: "Beijing could learn a lot from Taiwan's reaction to the outbreak. It remains to be seen how serious the growing threat of SARS will become, but it is clear that co-operation with the WHO is a far more sensible reaction than the denial, misinformation and obfuscation demonstrated by the Chinese in the early days of the outbreak.

Conservatives will continue to support Taiwan's very reasonable and justly deserved bid for Observer Status at the WHO, despite China's churlish attempts to block it."

Capacity Building in Developing Countries - Ferrer Report

The European Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution on capacity-building in the developing countries.

Nirj Deva MEP said: "I welcome this report whose aim it is to provide a more specific definition of the concept of capacity building in international development co-operation. Capacity building must be accompanied by transfers of technology, investment as well as the establishment of national policies in favour of the poor, i.e. basic education and healthcare, creation of jobs, emancipation of women etc. However, all this must be underpinned by accelerating the creation of wealth through SMEs, by facilitating the process of company formation, and by creating an 'enterprise culture' thereby releasing the natural, entrepreneurial energies of the people in the developing countries."

Combating Money Laundering - Schmitt Report

The European Parliament supported this Report which proposes measures to tackle money laundering.

The European Commission presented a proposal for a regulation on the prevention of money laundering by means of customs co-operation. According to the proposal, every person who enters or leaves the customs area of the EU and carries more than €15,000 cash would be required to provide information at the request of a customs official. Parliament doubts whether this is a sound system. It would still be possible simply to make no declaration, to give false information when making a declaration or to carry cash in amounts that fall below the threshold triggering the requirement to make a declaration.

Timothy Kirkhope MEP said: "Although we are in favour of measures to combat money laundering, the proposal that cash movements as small as €15,000 should be declared or disclosed on Community borders is unworkable. If it were to be enforced, this directive would be a bureaucratic nightmare, targeting innocent travellers instead of organised criminals. This really is taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut."

Poverty Reduction in Developing Countries - van den Berg Report

Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution on education and training programme in the context of poverty reduction in developing countries.

Nirj Deva MEP said: "I very much welcome this report given that education is essential with regard to the eradication of poverty. However, in my opinion, the promotion of education in developing countries also calls for a stronger involvement of the private sector. Multinational companies should be more engaged, through international Corporate Social Responsibility schemes, in education and training programmes in developing countries, especially with regard to relevant subjects, such as business administration, information technologies and engineering, where they have got a vital role to play in the free transfer of knowledge and expertise."

Plenary Highlights 7-10 April 2003
"Mini" Plenary Highlights 26-27 March 2003
Plenary Highlights 10-13 March 2003
Plenary Highlights 10-13 February 2003
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