The EU should freeze accession negotiations with Turkey in light of the country’s vast crackdown that followed the failed July coup, said MEPs in a resolution adopted this week. Also during this week’s plenary session MEPs called on EU countries to step up cooperation on defence. On Wednesday Parliament awarded its annual Lux Film Prize to dark comedy Toni Erdmann by German director Maren Ade.
The European Commission and member states should temporarily freeze EU accession talks with Turkey, but not abandon them completely, said MEPs in a resolution adopted on Thursday. During the debate on Tuesday MEPs referred to the disproportionate repressesive measures that followed the failed coup on 15 July, but stressed that the door should remain open for further dialogue, unless Turkey reintroduced capital punishment.
EU countries need to work more closely together on defence in this age of terror, cyber-warfare and growing global insecurity, MEPs said in a resolution adopted on Tuesday, adding that multinational forces and infrastructures should be set up. MEPs also reiterated the longstanding goal of member states devoting 2% of their gross domestic product to spending on defence.
To help tackle tax evasion as well as terrorism threats MEPs backed new rules obliging national authorities to automatically exchange information regarding suspects, such as bank account balances, interest income and dividens.
The EU should focus on growth and avoiding or cushioning austerity, said MEPs in a debate on Tuesday on the EU’s economic priorities for next year as presented by the Commission.
Europe should play a key role in combating wildlife trafficking that puts many species at risk of extinction, said MEPs in a resolution adopted on Thursday. Find out more in our interview with Catherine Bearder, the MEP in charge of steering the proposal through Parliament.
Hostile propaganda emanating from Islamic State and Russia should be strongly countered by EU countries working together to address what is proving to be a very serious threat to Europe, MEPs said in a resolution adopted on Wednesday. Report author Anna Fotyga called the situation a continuation of Cold War methods and tools in an interview with us.
MEPs approved on Wednesday tougher emissions limits for airbone pollutants, which will gradually enter force by 2030. Every year nearly half a million people die in Europe due to air pollution.
Toni Erdmann was hailed as this year’s Lux Prize winner. Parliament awards it every year to films exploring European themes. Receving the Lux Prize on Wednesday, director Maren Ade said: “I am happy that I am a European film maker because I can be German and part of something bigger at the same time.”
A majority of MEPs rejected a request to refer Ceta to the European Court of Justice for an opinion, paving the way for a Parliament vote on the EU-Canada trade deal during next month’s plenary session.
MEPs approved on Thursday an action plan to help tackle VAT fraud involving goods exported to other member states that costs EU tax payers an estimated €50 billion a year. Left unchanged since 1993, VAT rules are in great need of updating.
North Sea cod fishermen will be able to land every catch more easily after MEPs approved on Tuesday an update of existing rules in order to remove limits on the number of days a vessel can spend in a fishing area and thus remove all obstacles to complying with the landing obligation in full. It applies to fishing in the Kattegat, the North Sea, the Skagerrak and the eastern Channel, the west of Scotland and the Irish Sea, and fisheries exploiting those stocks.