09 Oct 2015
EP PLENARY SESSION THIS WEEK – 09 OCTBrussels Daily
Things we learnt in plenary: Hollande and Merkel, Volkswagen scandal and Kunduz bombing
French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel debated with MEPs the challenges facing Europe, from the refugee crisis to the situation in Syria, during October’s first plenary session. MEPs also discussed the Volkswagen scandal with the European Commission, which is preparing new legislation to tighten vehicle testing. In addition the refugee crisis was discussed with European Council President Donald Tusk, following September’s extraordinary EU summit.
Hollande and Merkel came to plenary to debated Europe, the refugee crisis and the Syrian war with MEPs on Wednesday. To find out more watch the video of the debate, check out the photos, and read our overview.
In a formal address on Wednesday, King Felipe of Spain called on the EU to do more to help refugees: “We cannot let them down”.
Also on Wednesday, MEPs debated the bombing of the Medicins Sans Frontières hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, by US forces with Christos Stylianides, commissioner for humanitarian aid. They also called for an independent investigation.
The Vokswagen scandal was discussed on Tuesday with Elżbieta Bieńkowska, commissioner for the single market. MEPs asked her about potential fraud in Europe and called for improved rules on emissions testing.
MEPs debated the refugee crisis on Tuesday morning with Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission. For regular updates, check out our top story on migration.
Traditional products such as Scottish tartan and Donegal tweed should be given added protection in the form of geographical indications, said MEPs in a non-binding resolution adopted on Tuesday. This already exists for food products, but MEPs feel it should be extended to locally manufactured products. Not only would it support local economies, but it would also help preserve traditional know-how.
MEPs voted on Tuesday in favour of fast-tracking €35 billion worth of EU funds for investment in Greece to help kick-start the country’s economy.
Modern mobile and online payment methods are set to become safer and cheaper thanks to updated rules backed by Parliament on Thursday. It would also open up the markets to third-party providers.
The EU and Turkey should cooperate on Syria, MEPs said in a debate on Wednesday, but they also called on Ankara to respect human rights and media freedom as well as stop attacks on the Kurdish minority.
Small claims of up to €5,000 will be easier to settle across EU borders under plans adopted by Parliament on Wednesday. It is now up to national governments to approve to measures to sped up court proceedings, including hearings via videoconference.