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					     Press kit: European elections 4-7 June 2009
     The European elections press kit contains five main sections:

     1.      Background information on the European Parliament and the European elections
     2.      Overview of the legislature June 2004-June 2009
     3       The Review of the Legislature in detail including European Parliament hitting the UK
             headlines
     4.      Looking Ahead to the rest of the legislature and a factsheet examining the impact of the
             Treaty of Lisbon
     5.      Top Stories from the European Parliament.

     1. "Background information" on the European Parliament and elections. This section contains
     information on the EP's powers, MEPs and elections, the history of European Parliament elections,
     multilingualism and electoral law.

     2-3. "The Review of the Legislature", introduced by an "Overview" (2), puts emphasis on key legislation
     adopted by the European Parliament over the five-year mandate divided into thematic topics ranging from
     employment and social affairs, security and civil liberties to health, industry and transport to name just a
     few. There is also a section called the 3. European Parliament hitting the UK headlines – People,
     policies and petitions which highlights the biggest stories taken up by British media over the last five
     years.

     4. "Looking Ahead" takes a look at some of the key dossiers to be tackled by MEPs before the European
     elections in June. From liberalising EU gas and electricity markets, to facilitating patients' access to
     healthcare anywhere in the EU, the last few months of the legislature promise to be extremely packed for
     MEPs. Other highlights for the Parliament include legislation on cheaper roaming costs for SMS and data
     messages, a conciliation on the working time directive, and a series of reports to combat the economic
     crisis: Parliament will deal with rules on credit rating agencies, supervision of the banking sector and the
     way in which capital requirements are calculated.

     5. "Top Stories" are the highest-profile debates and votes of 2004-2009. Each item traces a decision
     taken in Parliament and explains its implications. Where appropriate, the articles set out some of the
     political views expressed on the different sides of each argument.

     1.      BACKGROUND INFORMATION − EP AND ELECTIONS
             An introduction to the European elections
             The political groups
             Some facts on previous European elections
             Electoral Law
             The European Parliament: a wide range of powers at the service of the European citizen
             Multilingualism at the European Parliament
             Women in the European Parliament



     Press Service
     Directorate for the Media
EN   Director - Spokesperson -: Jaume DUCH GUILLOT
     Press switchboard number: (32-2) 28 33000
                                                                                     www.elections2009.eu
     2.     GENERAL OVERVIEW OF THE LEGISLATURE
            Summary of the legislature June 2004-June 2009

     3.     REVIEW OF THE LEGISLATURE
            EP acting for the environment
            EP seals climate change package
            Transport policy in the European Parliament
            Products and services markets
            Stability in financial services with safeguards for customers
            European Parliament and the protection of consumers
            EP working for a healthier Europe
            Employment and social affairs a key concern for the European Parliament
            Immigration and free movement
            Security, terrorism and civil liberties
            MEPs active on culture, education and sport
            Money for policies: political priorities backed up by financial means
            The EP active on the world stage
            Institutional decisions and enlargement
            The European Parliament hitting the UK headlines − people, policies and petitions

     4.     LOOKING AHEAD
            This factsheet takes a look at some of the key dossiers to be tackled by MEPs before the
            European elections in June.
            Lisbon Treaty: more powers for the European Parliament

     5.     TOP STORIES FROM THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
            REACH: reducing chemical risks without penalising industry
            CIA activities in Europe: European Parliament denounces secretiveness of some Member States
            Liberalising services without touching the European social model: mission accomplished for the EP
            EU-wide rail services: more choice and clearer rights for passengers
            When European Parliament rejects...
            Roaming: Parliament cuts cost of using mobile phones abroad
            All inclusive air fares
            Illegal immigration: European Parliament lays down common standards on expulsion
            Towards more transparency: a reformed Parliament from 2009
            Climate change: wide-ranging EU measures to fight global warming
            Working time: 48 hours a week maximum

     Further information:

     Richard FREEDMAN, Press Officer - European Parliament
       : press-EN@europarl.europa.eu
       : (+32-2) 28 41448 (Brussels)
       : (+33-3) 881 73785 (Strasbourg)
       : (+32) 498 98 32 39

     Simon DUFFIN, Head of Press - European Parliament Information Office in the UK
       : eplondon@europarl.europa.eu
       : (+44) 207 227 4335   : (+44) 7786 060 531




EN   Press Service                                      2

                                                                                   www.elections2009.eu
     An introduction to the European elections

     The 2009 European elections will take place on 4-7 June, 2009, in each of the 27 Member States of
     the European Union. More than 375 million EU citizens will be able to vote for their chosen
     representative for a five-year period: 736 MEPs from 27 Member States.

     The European Parliament represents the citizens of the Member States at EU level. It is the only European
     institution to be directly elected - a procedure established in June 1979 - and the only multinational
     parliament in the world to be voted in through universal suffrage. From 1958 to 1979, MEPs were
     appointed by their national governments, and all had dual mandates.

     The elections are held every five years. This seventh round of European elections coincides with the 30th
     anniversary of the first European elections held by universal suffrage.

     Since 1958, the European Parliament has changed considerably, in part due to the progressive expansion
     of the EU. The number of Member States has climbed from six to 27; the number of MEPs has jumped
     from 142 to 736, and the official languages of the EU have risen from four to 23. Furthermore, successive
     revisions of the Treaties have given the EP increased power, and it has moved from a mere consultative
     role in 1958, to co-decision with representatives of national governments on the majority of EU legislation.

     When will Europeans go to the polling stations?

     The 2009 elections will take place between 4 and 7 June, 2009. The actual polling days will vary from
     country to country according to local custom, and the results from each of the 27 Member States will not be
     made known until the evening of 7 June.

     Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland,
     Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden will hold the elections on Sunday, 7 June. The Latvians,
     Cypriots, Maltese and Slovakians will go to the polling stations on 6 June. The UK and Netherlands will
     vote on 4 June. Ireland will vote on 5 June. In certain Member States, the voting period will be spread
     over two days: 5 and 6 June for the Czech Republic, 6 and 7 June for Italy. Bulgaria and Hungary do not
     have official dates yet. However, elections are normally held on Sundays in both countries.

     How many MEPs are there?

     The number of MEPs has increased in line with the successive enlargements of the EU.
     Currently there are 736 MEPs from 27 Member States.




EN   Press Service


                                                                                      www.elections2009.eu
Since 2007, the EP has had 785 MEPs originating from 27 countries. However, the Treaty of Nice, which
was modified after the admission of Bulgaria and Romania, states that the total number of MEPs will
decrease to 736 after the 2009 elections.




                                                              SE: 18

                                                                                 FI: 13




                                                                                      EE: 6

                                                                                       LV: 8

                                          DK: 13                                 LT: 12

              IE: 12                NL: 25
                           UK: 72                                           PL: 50
                                                     DE: 99
                                    BE: 22
                                                               CZ : 22
                                        LU: 6                                 SK: 13

                               FR: 72                         AT: 17         HU: 22
                                                                                               RO: 33

                                                   IT: 72           SI: 7
                                                                                                  BG: 17
 PT: 22
                  ES: 50

                                                                                        EL : 22



                                                            MT: 5                                           CY: 6




                                                                                     www.elections2009.eu
      MEPs by country indicating number of seats allocated to each Member State after 2009 elections and
                                            after Treaty of Lisbon


     Member State         Current number            Number of MEPs                 Number of MEPs
                          of MEPs                   after the 2009 elections       after the Treaty of Lisbon
     Germany              99                        99                             96
     France               78                        72                             74
     United Kingdom       78                        72                             73
     Italy                78                        72                             73
     Spain                54                        50                             54
     Poland               54                        50                             51
     Romania              35                        33                             33
     Netherlands          27                        25                             26
     Belgium              24                        22                             22
     Greece               24                        22                             22
     Hungary              24                        22                             22
     Czech Republic       24                        22                             22
     Portugal             24                        22                             22
     Sweden               19                        18                             20
     Bulgaria             18                        17                             18
     Austria              18                        17                             19
     Denmark              14                        13                             13
     Slovakia             14                        13                             13
     Finland              14                        13                             13
     Lithuania            13                        12                             12
     Ireland              13                        12                             12
     Latvia               9                         8                              9
     Slovenia             7                         7                              8
     Estonia              6                         6                              6
     Cyprus               6                         6                              6
     Luxembourg           6                         6                              6
     Malta                5                         5                              6
     Total                785                       736                            751


     If the Treaty of Lisbon enters into force after the 2009 elections, the total number of MEPs will temporarily
     rise to 754, as decided by the European Council in December 2008. Germany would be the only country
     to "lose" MEPs under the Lisbon Treaty, although it would be allowed to keep its 99 MEPs until the next
     round of European elections. This accounts for the 754 MEPs voted in for a transitory 5-year period.




EN   Press Service


                                                                                        www.elections2009.eu
www.elections2009.eu
     The political groups

     MEPs are grouped according to their political alliance and not their nationality. Each political
     group is currently composed of a minimum of 20 elected members from at least six Member
     States (a fifth of all EU countries). However, after the 2009 elections all this will change. The
     European Parliament recently decided to raise the minimum to 25 MEPs representing at least
     seven Member States.

     There are currently seven political groups in the European Parliament. None of them has an overall
     majority:



                                       Breakdown of MEPs by political group
                                                (February 2009)
                                      GUE/NGL   IND/DEM   Non-attached
                                       5,2%       2,8%        3,8%
                                                                         EPP-ED
                        Greens/EFA
                                                                          36,7%
                           5,5%


                               UEN
                               5,6%


                                      ALDE
                                                              PES
                                      12,7%
                                                             27,6%



               February 2009

               EPP-ED: European People's Party and European Democrats (288)
               PES: Party of European Socialists (217)
               ALDE: Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (100)
               UEN: Union for Europe of Nations (44)
               Greens/EFA: Greens/European Free Alliance (43)
               GUE/NGL: European United Left/Nordic Green Left (41)
               INDEM: Independence/Democracy (22)
               Non-attached: MEPs not belonging to any political group (30)




EN   Press Service


                                                                                  www.elections2009.eu
Distribution of seats by political group and Member State, under the sixth parliamentary term (2004-2009)

                                                          GREENS/          GUE/    IND/
                  EPP-ED     PES     ALDE        UEN          EFA          NGL     DEM       NA    Total
Austria                  6      7         1                        2                           2      18
Belgium                  6      7         6                        2                           3      24
Bulgaria                 5      5         5                                                    3      18
Cyprus                   3                1                                    2                       6
Czech Rep               14      2                                              6       1       1      24
Denmark                  1      5         4          1             1           1       1              14
Estonia                  1      3         2                                                            6
Finland                  4      3         5                        1           1                      14
France                  18     31        10                        6           3       3       7      78
Germany                 49     23         7                       13           7                      99
Greece                  11      8                                              4       1              24
Hungary                 13      9         2                                                           24
Ireland                  5      1         1         4                          1       1              13
Italy                   24     17        12        13              2           7               3      78
Latvia                   3                1          4             1                                   9
Lithuania                2      2         7          2                                                13
Luxembourg               3      1         1                        1                                   6
Malta                    2      3                                                                      5
Netherlands              7      7         5                        4           2       2              27
Poland                  15      9         6        20                                  3       1      54
Portugal                 9     12                                              3                      24
Romania                 18     10         6                        1                                  35
Spain                   24     24         2                        3           1                      54
Sweden                   6      5         3                        1           2       2              19
Slovenia                 4      1         2                                                            7
Slovakia                 8      3                                                              3      14
UK                      27     19        11                        5           1       8       7      78
Total                  288    217       100        44             43          41      22      30     785

Statute for Members of the European Parliament

After the European elections in 2009, a new single Statute for Members of the European Parliament will
be applicable, covering salaries, health insurance, pensions, allowances etc. The new statute does away
with differences in remuneration between MEPs, meaning that all MEPs will earn around €7,665 gross a
month and this will be covered by the EU budget. Currently there is no common remuneration: MEPs
salaries are paid for by national budgets and in most cases they earn the same as national MPs
(Hungary, Slovakia and The Netherlands being exceptions). During the transitory period, each Member
State may decide to apply the current system. Re-elected MEPs may also opt for the current system.




                                                                 www.elections2009.eu
     Some facts on previous European elections

     The first direct elections for the European parliament were held exactly 30 years ago - in 1979, and
     since then another five European elections have taken place. Before that, from 1958 to 1979,
     MEPs were appointed by the national parliaments of the Member States, all Members having a
     dual mandate. Turnout in 2004 was 45.5%.

     The Decision and Act on European elections by direct universal suffrage were signed in Brussels on 20
     September 1976. After ratification by all the Member States, the first elections took place on 7 and 10
     June 1979. 410 Members were elected. Since then, another five European elections have taken place - in
     1984, 1989, 1994, 1999 and 2004.

     Elections were always organised in new member states after each enlargement in order to allow them to
     elect their own representatives to the European Parliament. This was the case for Greece in 1981, for
     Portugal and Spain in 1987, Sweden in 1995, Austria and Finland in 1996, and Bulgaria and Romania in
     2007.

     Turnout

     The turnout in the European elections since 1979 has varied significantly from one Member State to
     another (see Table 1 and 2). Any downward tendency in turnout reflects the general downward trend in
     local and general elections in most Member States. At the last elections, in 2004, there was an increase
     in turnout in five countries which do not have compulsory voting - Italy, Netherlands, Ireland, United
     Kingdom and Finland. In 2004, turnout was very low in most of the countries that had just acceded to the
     European Union.


                                           EP Elections Turnout

               100,00%


                80,00%


                60,00%
                          61,99%
                                       58,98%      58,41%        56,67%
                40,00%
                                                                             49,51%
                                                                                          45,47%
                20,00%


                 0,00%
                           1979         1984         1989         1994        1999         2004




EN   Press Service


                                                                                     www.elections2009.eu
  Evolution of turnout rates in the Member States, 1979-2007:

Member State           1979      1981      1984      1987       1989     1994    1995    1996     1999     2004    2007
Germany               65.73               56.76                62.28    60.02                    45.19        43
France                60.71               56.72                  48.8   52.71                    46.76    42.76
Belgium*              91.36               92.09                90.73    90.66                    91.05    90.81
Italy**               85.65               82.47                81.07      73.6                   69.76    71.72
Luxembourg*           88.91               88.79                87.39    88.55                    87.27    91.35
Netherlands           58.12               50.88                47.48    35.69                    30.02    39.26
United Kingdom        32.35               32.57                36.37    36.43                        24   38.52
Ireland               63.61               47.56                68.28    43.98                    50.21    58.58
Denmark               47.82               52.38                46.17    52.92                    50.46    47.89
Greece*                         81.48     80.59                80.03    73.18                    70.25    63.22
Spain                                               68.52      54.71    59.14                    63.05    45.14
Portugal                                            72.42        51.1   35.54                    39.93      38.6
Sweden                                                                           41.63           38.84    37.85
Austria                                                                                  67.73     49.4   42.43
Finland                                                                                   57.6   30.14    39.43
Czech Republic                                                                                              28.3
Estonia                                                                                                   26.83
Cyprus*                                                                                                     72.5
Latvia                                                                                                    41.34
Lithuania                                                                                                 48.38
Hungary                                                                                                     38.5
Malta                                                                                                     82.39
Poland                                                                                                    20.87
Slovenia                                                                                                  28.35
Slovakia                                                                                                  16.97
Romania                                                                                                            29.47
Bulgaria                                                                                                           29.22
Total EU              61.99           -   58.98           -    58.41    56.67        -       -   49.51    45.47        -
  * In Belgium, Luxembourg, Greece and Cyprus voting is compulsory.
  ** In Italy voting was compulsory until 1992.




                                                                             www.elections2009.eu
     Electoral law

     The elections to the European Parliament are still, to a large extent, organised according to
     national legislations and traditions. There are common EU rules which lay down that the elections
     must be by direct universal suffrage as well as free and confidential. Members of the European
     Parliament must be elected in the Member States on the basis of proportional representation. But
     it is up to each Member State whether they use an open or closed list system.

     When voting is based on an open list system, the voters can indicate a preference for one or more
     candidates on the list. This is done for instance in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Ireland,
     Italy, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden. When voting with a
     closed list system, the political parties establish the order of candidates and the voters only cast their vote
     on the party. This is done for instance in Estonia, France, Greece, Hungary, Spain and UK.

     Each Member State may establish constituencies for elections to the European Parliament or subdivide
     its electoral area in a different manner. Most Member States choose to consider the whole country as one
     constituency. Belgium, Ireland, Italy, France, Poland and the UK have several constituencies or electoral
     areas.

     The election period is determined at EU level but the exact polling date and opening hours for polling
     stations vary according to the national electoral laws.

     Voting is compulsory in Belgium, Cyprus, Greece and Luxemburg.

     There are differences among the Member States as to the minimum age for voting and the minimum age
     for standing in elections. In several Member States you can both vote and stand for elections at the age
     of 18 (Denmark, Finland, Germany, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden). But in
     Austria you can vote at the age of 16 and stand in elections at 18 while in Italy, you must be 18 and 25
     respectively.

     In some countries, for instance in France and the UK, pre-registration on an electoral roll is required. In
     many countries this is done automatically.

     EU-citizens living in another EU-country than their country of origin are entitled to vote and stand in
     European elections in the country of residence but national electoral law may lay down specific
     procedures for how to do this. Commonwealth citizens, for instance Canadians and Australians, whose
     names appear on the electoral roll in the UK are also entitled to vote. As for standing for elections in a
     country other than your country of origin, there are several examples of elected Members in the current
     Parliament who have done. EU-citizens living abroad, wishing to take part in the elections in their country
     of origin, are subject to national electoral law. Some Member States, but far from all, allow postal voting
     and/or provide for polling stations in their embassies or consulates.




EN   Press Service


                                                                                         www.elections2009.eu
According to EU electoral law, there are several positions that are incompatible with being a Member of
the European Parliament - MEP. An MEP can neither be a member of a Member State government or
national parliament, nor an active official of the European institutions. Some countries lay down further
incompatibilities to being an MEP, for instance being a bank director in Austria, a career member of the
police in Hungary, an agent paid by the national railway society in Ireland or a television director in Spain.




                                                                    www.elections2009.eu
     The European Parliament:
     A wide range of powers at the service of the European citizen


     In a wide range of policy areas, the European Parliament has equal decision-making power with
     the Council of Ministers from the 27 EU governments. Even in areas such as agriculture or foreign
     policy, where the Parliament is only consulted or informed, its debates and resolutions often lead
     the agenda at EU level and can influence the decisions of the Council. Parliament also has wide
     budgetary powers and exercises democratic control over all the European institutions.

     1. Legislative powers

     Codecision
     The European Parliament shares power equally with the Council of Ministers over about two-thirds of
     proposals for EU legislation. In the areas of environment policy, transport, consumer protection, illegal
     immigration and all matters regulating the internal market, the European Parliament has the power to
     accept, amend or reject proposals from the European Commission for European directives or regulations.
     During this legislature, the Parliament rejected outright proposed directives on liberalising port services
     and on computer patents. On major legislation such as the Services Directive and the REACH chemicals
     rules, on the other hand, EP amendments significantly changed the final text of the legislation.

     Consultation
     On some questions (e.g. taxation, industrial policy, agricultural policy, new eurozone members) the
     European Parliament gives only an advisory opinion (the ‘consultation procedure’). However, even here,
     the Parliament's amendments often influence the final outcome of discussions in Council, for example on
     issues such as sheep-tagging or voluntary modulation for farmers.

     Assent
     Some agreements require the green light of Parliament, who cannot modify the text, but can reject it.
     This is called assent procedure and it applies to the accession of new Member States and the conclusion
     of association agreements with non-EU countries. Thus, enlargement of the Union can only happen if
     Parliament agrees.

     2. Political influence

     Outside the legislative arena, Parliament makes its voice heard in European decisions. For instance,
     although Member States take the ultimate decisions on foreign, security and defence issues, the
     Commission and Council must inform the European Parliament beforehand and MEPs push for action by
     taking part in political and public debate. In their reports, recommendations and questions addressed to
     the EU's various actors, they exert influence, for example by pressing the Commission and Council to
     take measures on human rights.




EN   Press Service


                                                                                      www.elections2009.eu
Parliament also adopts "own-initiative" reports which may call on the Commission to bring forward
legislation in a specific area, or indicate, ahead of a concrete proposal, how legislation should be drafted.

3. Budgetary powers

The European Parliament is, together with Council, responsible for establishing the annual budget of the
Union. It has the last word on more than half of the EU budget and decides on spending in the fields of
social and regional funds, energy, research, transport, development aid, the environment, education and
culture. In the case of agriculture expenditure, the Council has the last word.

The EU also aims to set out longer-term financial budgeting, which indicates the maximum levels of
expenditure over a seven year period. No deal on these so-called financial perspectives can be reached
without Parliament's approval.

4. Democratic control and supervisory powers

Nomination powers
Parliament plays a key role in the investiture of the European Commission. Parliament must approve the
appointment of the Commission President. Then the other 26 Member States' Commissioners-designate
must face a hearing in front of MEPs before the EP's final vote on the whole Commission. Parliament
also holds hearings of the President and members of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank
and of nominations for the Court of Auditors.

Democratic accountability in monetary policy
The European Central Bank President presents its annual report to the European Parliament in plenary
session and reports to the responsible committee in Parliament every three months.

Budgetary control
Parliament is responsible for monitoring the Union’s expenditure on a permanent basis, and decides
whether to grant discharge to (or clear the accounts of) all EU institutions for the implementation of the
budget.

Committees of inquiry and temporary committees
Parliament has the power to set up a temporary committee either to investigate alleged contraventions or
maladministration in the implementation of Community law (committee of inquiry) or to deal with a specific
matter on a temporary basis.

Parliamentary questions, written or oral, are another form of supervising and checking the other EU
institutions. The questions may be tabled in plenary for a debate with representatives of the Commission
and Council who are required to reply.

5. Petitions

Every European citizen has the right to petition Parliament to ask for problems to be remedied in areas
within the sphere of activity of the European Union.

6. Looking ahead

With the Treaty of Lisbon, the European Parliament would see its powers enhanced. Co-decision would
be extended to include such areas as agriculture, fisheries, legal migration, space and sport. The
Parliament's budgetary powers would be extended to all Union expenditure, thus including agriculture.
Parliament would have more powers over the appointment of President of the Commission.




                                                                   www.elections2009.eu
     Multilingualism at the European Parliament

     Principle of multilingualism

     The European Parliament respects the principle of multilingualism regarding official languages.

     Rooted in the European treaties, multilingualism is a reflection of the cultural and linguistic diversity of the
     European Union:

            The Treaties state that all European citizens should be able to follow Parliament's work, to ask
             questions and to receive replies in their own language;

            MEPs are elected to represent their political constituencies, not on the basis of their language
             skills. MEPs have the right to read parliamentary documents, to follow debates and to speak in
             their own language, and this is expressly recognised in Parliament's Rules of Procedure;

            As legislator, the European Parliament is obliged to guarantee the linguistic quality of all the laws
             it adopts in all the official languages.

     23 official languages

     The EU has 23 official languages - Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French,
     German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Irish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian,
     Slovak, Slovene, Spanish and Swedish.

     Decisions on official languages are taken by unanimity of Member States.

     The EU uses three alphabets - Latin, Greek and Cyrillic.

     There are 506 possible bilateral language combinations (23x22), but as it is not always possible to have
     staff for all possible combinations, a relay system is often used both for translation and interpretation
     (thus documents are translated into a few languages, the so-called "relay" languages, and from the relay
     languages to the others; the same applies to speeches).

     Plenary session debates are interpreted in all languages.

     All official documents adopted by the EP are translated into all official languages.

     On a day-to-day level, translation and interpretation is governed by an internal code of conduct, the latest
     version of which was adopted in 2008. It guarantees "controlled full multilingualism" and requests users
     to communicate in advance their needs; it also establishes a priority order for types of users with a view
     to keeping costs within budgetary limits.




EN   Press Service


                                                                                            www.elections2009.eu
Staff

The EP is - with the Commission - the world's largest employer of interpreters and translators. In
Parliament, around 1,500 people (about one third of total staff) are dedicated to translation, interpretation
and linguistic verification of texts.

For translation the European Parliament maintains an in-house translation service of around 700
translators. It also has recourse to freelance professional translators for non-priority texts.

For interpretation, Parliament has 400 interpreters on a permanent basis. During plenary sittings in
particular, when the number of interpreters needed ranges between 800 and 1,000, freelancers are hired.

Costs

Translation and interpretation at all EU institutions costs around 1% of the EU budget, which is
approximately € 2.3 per citizen per year.

As for the European Parliament, multilingualism expenditure represents around one third of its total
expenditure, i.e. some € 484 million for 2008.




                                                                   www.elections2009.eu
     Women in the European Parliament

     More than half of European voters are female but women are still under-represented in positions
     of power throughout the European Union. The European Parliament has called in its resolutions
     for more women in political life and decision-making, most recently in September 2008. The first
     President of the directly elected EP was a woman: Simone Veil from France.

     Over the years the percentage of female MEPs has increased steadily - while in 1979 only 16.3% of the
     MEPs were women, this percentage rose to 26.1% in 1994, 30.19% in 1999 and 30.3% in 2004 (31.4%
     by October 2008 due to individuals leaving or taking up seats mid-term).

     In the run-up to the 2004 elections, MEPs called on political parties to put more women candidates on
                1
     their lists . More recently, the European Parliament has called for quotas, noting the "positive effects of
                                                                  2
     the use of electoral quotas on the representation of women ". Some countries use legislation to ensure
     more women are elected: in France, the Parity Law has led to the use of the so-called "zipper system",
     where every other candidate on the European elections list is a woman. In other countries, it is internal
     party rules which are leading to change, e.g. Sweden, parties have used the zipper method voluntarily.

     As a result, some countries have reached parity (Estonia and Luxembourg) or near parity (France,
     Netherlands, Slovenia and Sweden) when it comes to the percentage of female MEPs. Yet, in some
     cases, the share of women is much lower (Poland); in two countries (Cyprus, Malta) there are no women
     MEPs.
                                                   Women as % of MEP in EU countries (12. March 2009)


          60,0%
                                           50,0%                                        50,0%    48,1%
                                                    46,2%                                                                         47,4%
          50,0%            44,4%       42,9%   42,9%                                                                      42,9%
                                                                 41,7%
                                                                      38,5%        38,5%
          40,0%                                                                                                      35,7%
                                                        32,3%                                                                               31,1%
                  27,8%29,2%                                 29,2%                                               28,6%
          30,0%                                                                                             25,0%             25,9%    24,4%
                                   20,8%                                  21,8%22,2%
          20,0%                                                                                         14,8%

          10,0%
                               0,0%                                                          0,0%
           0,0%
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     1
         EP resolution "On Election 2004: How to ensure balanced representation of women and men" of 6 November 2003.
     2
         EP resolution "Equality between women and men - 2008" of 3 September 2008.




EN   Press Service


                                                                                                                  www.elections2009.eu
The representation of women in the European Parliament also varies by political groups.
                                                Women as % of MEPs in EP political groups (12. March 2009)

  50,0%                                                                     46,5%
  45,0%                            40,6%               40,0%
  40,0%
  35,0%                                                                                                                                                                         31,1%
                                                                                                                     29,3%
  30,0%
             24,7%
  25,0%
                                                                                                                                          18,2%
  20,0%
                                                                                                                                                             13,3%
  15,0%                                                                                          11,4%
  10,0%
   5,0%
   0,0%
             EPP-ED                    PSE                 ALDE        Greens/EFA                    UEN            GUE/NGL           IND/DEM                    NI            Average




Three out of the seven political groups have female co-presidents (Greens/EFA, UEN and IND/DEM); no
political group has a woman as their only president.

Since 1979, when the Members of the EP were elected by universal suffrage for the first time, 2 out of 26
(7.7%) Presidents have been women - Simone Veil in 1979-1982 and Nicole Fontaine in 1999-2002. 5
out of 14 current vice-presidents are women.

6 out of the 22 chairpersons of the parliamentary committees are currently women (27.3%) and 29 out of
the 86 vice-chairpersons are women (33.7%).

The representation of women in parliamentary committees varies. The Committee on Women's Rights
and Gender Equality and the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection have the highest
percentage of women, while in the Subcommittee on Security and Defence and the Committee on
Transport and Tourism it is the lowest.
                                                 Women as % of MEPs in parliamentary committees (12. March 2009)


  100,0% 92,5%
  90,0%
  80,0%
  70,0%
  60,0%          54,5%
                         48,5%
  50,0%                           43,2% 42,9% 42,6% 42,4% 41,7%
                                                                           36,5%
  40,0%                                                                            33,3% 32,4%
                                                                                                 28,9% 28,1% 27,3%
  30,0%                                                                                                                 24,1% 24,0% 23,5% 23,4% 21,4%
                                                                                                                                                                 21,1% 20,0% 19,8%
  20,0%                                                                                                                                                                                  14,3%
  10,0%
   0,0%
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The proportion of women in national parliaments averages around 23% across the EU. The figures are
highest in the Nordic countries, where equality policies (binding or voluntary) have been in place for
longer and are more proactive - in 2008 women made up 47% of the Swedish Parliament, 41.5% of the
Finnish Parliament and 38% of the Danish Parliament. At the opposite end of the scale, they made up
only 8.7% of the Maltese Parliament and 9.4% of the Romanian Parliament. Of the Cypriot MPs, 14.3%
are women.




                                                                                                                       www.elections2009.eu
     General overview of the legislature



     This overview sets out − in brief bullet-point format − some of the main issues dealt with by the
     European Parliament in this legislature. It focuses in particular on decisions affecting the daily
     lives of citizens and the day-to-day activities of businesses and public sector bodies.



     Consumers' rights

        o   Cheaper mobile phone roaming charges across the EU
        o   Advertisements and web booking systems must always indicate the final price of plane tickets, all
            charges included
        o   New rules on TV advertising: 12 minutes maximum per hour of advertising remains, but with
            more flexibility on breaks and product placement
        o   Ban on carcinogenic substances and limits to dangerous chemicals in toys, to make them safer


     Environment

        o   Reach: obligation to register all chemicals and replace most hazardous ones
        o   50% of paper, metal and glass from households and 70% of construction waste will have to be
            recycled by 2020
        o   45% of batteries to be collected by 2016
        o   Criminal sanctions to punish severe offences against the environment


     Climate change

        o   Car companies to improve vehicle motor technology so CO2 emissions of new passenger cars fall
            to 130 g/km by 2012. Other technical improvements should make this target go down to 120
            g/km. By 2020, the binding objective is 95 g/km
        o   Renewables must represent 20% of the energy mix and 10% of fuel consumption in transport by
            2020
        o   Revision of the emission trading system: from 2013 polluting rights will be auctioned with some
            exceptions for new Member States dependent on coal. Free allocation to end by 2020. Sectors
            covered are, among others, power stations, refineries, coke, ceramics, cement, glass, steel,
            paper.
        o   Aviation to be included in the emission trading system from January 2012

     Press Service



EN
                                                                                    www.elections2009.eu
Health

   o     More facilities for doctors and nurses to work in all EU countries, thanks to a new system for
         recognition of qualifications
   o     Incentives for drugs firms to invest in child medicines
   o     Cleaner bathing waters on beaches, rivers and lakes with less risk of bacterial infection and more
         information to users
   o     Prohibition to market new mercury thermometers and barometers
   o     Cities to install measurement systems to control levels of small particles in the air which are
         hazardous to human health
   o     Binding objectives for maximum level of pollutants in air


Services markets

   o     Services Directive: by end of 2009, Member States to remove obstacles to the free movement of
         services and to the establishment of service providers from other countries
   o     Full market opening of postal services between 2011 and 2013


Passengers' rights

   o     New rights for rail passengers, including compensation for delays. Trains must be adapted for
         disabled people
   o     Disabled persons may not be refused air transport and have to be assisted at airports without
         additional charges


Transport

   o     Rail international passengers' services will be open to competition from 2010
   o     Railways networks to be interoperable
   o     Single driving licence for train drivers
   o     Common standards to guarantee a higher level of aviation security
   o     One single EU-wide driving licence in credit card format from 2013
   o     A common blacklist for airlines that don't meet safety requirements
   o     Port services: EP rejected proposed common rules on self-handling and piloting services


Employment and social affairs

   o     Temporary agency workers to get the same pay and conditions as equivalent permanent staff
   o     Professionals such as doctors, nurses or architects should find it easier to practise abroad, as
         qualifications obtained in one Member State must be recognised in others
   o     Labour law and social security legislation not affected by new services directive
   o     Helping people back to work: 500 million Euros for EU Globalisation Fund




                                                                  www.elections2009.eu
     Fight against terrorism and financing of illegal activities

         o   Financial institutions will have to check customers' identity when they open an account or transfer
             sums above €15,000
         o   Casinos will have to check the identity of any customer gambling more than €2,000
         o   Telecommunications companies will be obliged to retain call data, but not the content, to facilitate
             the fight against terrorism
         o   Airports have adopted stricter measures of passenger screening and staff control access and
             selection, but rejection by MEPs of body scanners.


     Financial services

         o   Auditing firms to prove their independence from the companies they audit
         o   Banks to guarantee deposits of up to €100,000 from 2010


     Civil liberties

         o   CIA activities in Europe: MEPs criticised Member States for "turning a blind eye" to flights used
             for extraordinary rendition or illegal transportation of detainees
         o   MEPs warned that the fight against terrorism should not be at the expense of civil liberties


     Immigration and free movement

         o   Free movement area Schengen enlarged to new Member States. UK, Ireland, Cyprus, Romania
             and Bulgaria are the only EU members still outside
         o   Common rules and minimum standards for the return of illegal immigrants
         o   Sanctions against employers of illegally staying third-country nationals

     EP on the world stage
        o Call for a universal moratorium on the death penalty
        o Sakharov Prize, EP's human rights award for freedom of thought
        o Concerns about human rights situation in China and Russia
        o EP calls on the US to close down Guantánamo detention facility
        o Israel-Palestine: MEPs pushed for a two-state solution

     Institutional decisions and enlargement
         o Parliament approved an amended list for the new European Commission after Barroso took on
              board MEPs' concerns about some of the original nominations
         o Support for the Lisbon Treaty after the rejection of the draft Constitution
         o Green light for Bulgaria and Romania to join EU
         o Yes to accession negotiations with Turkey, Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of
              Macedonia, but EU's absorption capacity must be respected
         o Yes to the introduction of the euro in Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta and Slovakia

     More money for EP priorities
        o Financial Framework 2007-2013 − €4bn more for EP priorities: foreign policy, innovation,
           structural development and the environment
        o €53 billion for the 7th Research Framework Programme, €309 million for the European Institute of
           Technology

     Press Service



EN
                                                                                       www.elections2009.eu
    o   €3.4 billion for Galileo, the European satellite navigation system
    o   €7 billion for EU learning programmes like Erasmus

Still in the pipeline
Major legislative votes of Parliament during this mandate for which final adoption is still pending or there
are still disagreements with Council:
Working time: EP voted to end all opt-outs to the 48 hours week, averaged over 12 months, within three
years
     o Energy markets: separation of ownership of generation and transmission infrastructure in the gas
          and electricity markets to improve efficiency
     o Telecoms industry: measures to facilitate access to networks, while maintaining consumer
          protection
     o Lower prices for SMS sent or received in another Member State
     o New legislation on ship inspections, obligations of flag states, places of refuge, classification
          societies, to fight maritime pollution and prevent accidents
     o Family life and work: EP to vote on a proposal to increase maternity leave to 18 weeks
     o New non-discrimination directive: proposal to fill gaps on access to employment, services and
          facilities on grounds of religion, belief, disability, age or sexual orientation
     o New rules on capital requirements of banks to discourage reckless lending
     o Rules to tackle conflict of interest in credit agencies
     o Stricter limits for polluting industrial emissions
     o Cross-border healthcare: patient mobility − new rules to facilitate access to healthcare in other
          countries




                                                                   www.elections2009.eu
     The Review of the Legislature

     MEPs are elected for five years – that’s a parliamentary term or a legislature. The EP press service
     explains all the major decisions, debates and issues that have taken place during the June 2004-June
     2009 term. In this section, you will find everything you want to know about parliamentary activity over the
     last five years in a detailed and accurate form.

     "The Review of the Legislature" puts emphasis on key legislation adopted by the European Parliament
     over the five-year mandate divided into thematic topics ranging from employment and social affairs,
     security and civil liberties to health, industry and transport to name just a few:

            EP acting for the environment
            EP seals climate change package
            Transport policy in the European Parliament
            Products and services markets
            Stability in financial services with safeguards for customers
            European Parliament and the protection of consumers
            EP working for a healthier Europe
            Employment and social affairs a key concern for the European Parliament
            Immigration and free movement
            Security, terrorism and civil liberties
            MEPs active on culture, education and sport
            Money for policies: political priorities backed up by financial means
            The EP active on the world stage
            Institutional decisions and enlargement
            The European Parliament hitting the UK headlines − people, policies and petitions




EN   Press Service


                                                                                      www.elections2009.eu
www.elections2009.eu
     EP acting for the environment

     Strict rules on hazardous chemical substances, targets for re-use and recycling of waste,
     protecting groundwater, collection rates for batteries and accumulators are some of the
     environmental topics on which the European Parliament adopted EU legislation in this legislature.
     MEPs also pushed for tighter control of pesticides.

     REACH: New EU chemicals legislation

     The chemicals regulation, known as REACH, is meant to protect public health and the environment
     without threatening European competitiveness. It obliges producers to register all chemical substances
     produced or imported above 1 tonne per year. Registration affects about 30,000 substances. For more
     hazardous substances, producers have to submit a plan to replace them with safer alternatives or, if no
     alternative exists, a research plan aimed at finding one. Promotion of alternatives to animal testing of
     chemicals was an issue of prime concern to MEPs.
     Regulation adopted by EP: 13.12.2006
     Applicable progressively from: 1/06/2007

     Safety first for pesticides

     A new regulation on pesticides adopted by the European Parliament bans the use of certain highly toxic
     chemicals in the manufacture of pesticides and requires other risky substances to be replaced with safer
     alternatives. A directive adopted at the same time will reduce the amount of pesticides used, by
     prohibiting most aerial crop spraying with pesticides as well as the use of pesticides near parks and
     playgrounds and in buffer zones around rivers and lakes.
     Directive and regulation adopted by EP: 13.1.2009 (2nd reading agreement with Council)
     Date of directive transposition: about beginning 2011 (24 months following entry into force, not yet
     published)
     Regulation fully applicable: 18 months following entry into force

     New EU waste legislation with binding 2020 targets

     The EU will have new waste legislation which includes targets for re-use and recycling of waste to be
     attained by 2020. The directive sets out rules on recycling and waste prevention. Recycling targets by
     2020 are 50% for paper, metal and glass from households and 70% for non-hazardous construction and
     demolition waste. Only the most energy efficient incinerators can be classified as ‘recovery’ operations.
     Directive adopted by EP: 17.06.2008
     Deadline for transposition: end Dec 2010 (24 months from entry into force)




EN   Press Service


                                                                                     www.elections2009.eu
New schemes for recycling batteries

The European Parliament approved a directive setting up schemes for collecting spent portable batteries
and accumulators throughout Europe by 2008. Minimum collection rates to be reached by all Member
States are 25% by 2012 and 45 % by 2016. Collected batteries will be recycled. Strict limits to the content
of cadmium and mercury in batteries have also been fixed. The UK recycles about 2% of domestic
batteries at the moment.
Directive adopted by EP: 4.07.2006

EU criminal law to protect the environment

Criminal sanctions will be employed to punish all severe offences committed against EU environmental
legislation. Member States can apply criminal measures to punish any illegal behaviour seriously likely to
injure people or pollute air, soil, water, plants or harm animals, when committed intentionally or with
serious negligence.
Directive adopted by EP: 21.05.2008
Deadline for transposition: end Dec 2010 (24 months after entry into force)

Improved standards to protect groundwater against pollution and deterioration

Rules to protect groundwater from pollution have been in place at European level since 1980. A new
directive sets out criteria for assessing chemical levels in groundwater and lays down measures to
prevent hazardous substances including cyanide, arsenic, biocides and phytopharmaceutical substances
from entering groundwater.
Directive adopted by EP: 12.12.2006
Deadline for transposition: 16.01.2009

Water pollutants to be more strictly controlled

MEPs adopted a new directive aimed at reducing or ending use of 33 pollutants − mainly pesticides and
heavy metals − likely to be found in rivers, lakes and coastal waters, depending on the level of risk
involved. By 2018 Member States will have to cease or phase out emissions, discharges and losses of
hazardous substances. This is the final piece in the jigsaw of legislation under the Water Framework
Directive.
Directive adopted by EP: 17.06.2008
Date of transposition: 18 months following entry into force (2nd reading agreement reached, not yet
published, Council formally adopted 18 Sept 2008)

Industrial emissions

MEPs backed a Commission proposal to strengthen rules on industrial emissions in certain sectors and
introduce minimum standards for inspections. Companies have to use best available techniques to
reduce emissions of pollutants such as nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide. Parliament also wants EU-
wide emission limits, exclusion of hospital incinerators and better informing of the public.
Amendments to directive adopted by EP (codecision, first reading): 10.03.2009




                                                                  www.elections2009.eu
     EP seals climate change package

     The climate package adopted by the EP in December 2008 will facilitate reaching the overall
     objective of a 20% reduction in greenhouse gases, 20% improvement in energy efficiency, and a
     20% share for renewables in the EU energy mix by 2020. MEPs also set ambitious goals for CO2
     emissions from cars and required fuel suppliers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by
     extraction or cultivation, transport and distribution, processing and combustion of transport
     fuels.

     Revision of the Emission Trading System: further reductions

     The EP adopted a directive reforming the system that allows for trading of polluting rights. The directive
     aims to reduce emissions of sectors included in the scheme by 21% from 2005 levels. The revised
     directive establishes auctioning from 2013 in principle but includes several exceptions for example to take
     into account some new Member States' dependence on coal. Free allocation will end in 2020. Sectors
     covered include, among others, power stations, refineries, coke ovens, ceramics, cement, glass, metal
     ore, iron, steel, pulp, paper.
     Directive adopted by EP: 17.12.2008
     Applicable progressively from: 1 January 2013

     Reducing emissions from road transport and other sectors

     The "effort sharing" decision sets binding national targets for each EU Member State to reduce
     greenhouse gas emissions from non-ETS sources (e.g. road and sea transport, buildings, services,
     agriculture and smaller industrial installations), between 2013 and 2020. These sources currently account
     for about 60% of all EU greenhouse gas emissions. The decision aims to reduce these emissions by 10%
     overall between 2013 and 2020. The effort sharing decision is the first of its kind worldwide.
     Decision adopted by EP: 17.12.2008

     Equipping power plants to store CO2 underground

     Parliament also approved a proposed directive providing the legal framework for the new carbon dioxide
     capture and storage technology (CCS). To cut their CO 2 emissions, industrial installations and power
     plants could in future use this new technology to capture CO2 and store it "permanently and safely
     underground" in geological formations. MEPs secured the funding for demonstration projects by ensuring
     that 300 million ETS allowances will be awarded to large scale CCS projects in the EU.
     Directive adopted by EP: 17.12.2008
     Applicable from: 24 months from entry into force




EN   Press Service


                                                                                      www.elections2009.eu
20% renewable energy in the EU's energy mix by 2020

A new directive will lay down mandatory national targets to be achieved by the Member States through
promoting the use of renewable energy in the electricity, heating and cooling, and transport sectors in
order to ensure that by 2020 renewable energy makes up at least 20% of the EU's total energy
consumption. Under the agreement, by 2020, renewable energy − biofuels, electricity and hydrogen
produced from renewable sources − should account for at least 10% of the EU's total fuel consumption in
all forms of transport.
Directive adopted by EP: 17.12.2008
Applicable from: 18 months from entry into force

Reducing CO2 emissions from new cars

A new regulation sets emission performance standards for new passenger cars registered in the EU. It
sets a target of an average of 120 g CO2/km for the whole car industry by 2012, compared to the current
levels of 160 g/km. An average target of 130 g CO2/km for new passenger cars should be reached by
improvements in vehicle motor technology. This will be supplemented by additional measures to achieve
a further 10 g/km reduction, so as to reach the 120 g/km target through other technical improvements.
There is also a longer-term target for 2020 of an average 95 g CO2/km emissions for the new car fleet.
Regulation adopted by EP: 17.12.2008
Applicable from: third day after publication

Less greenhouse gas emissions from fuels

The revised fuel quality directive requires fuel suppliers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by
farming, mining, transport and distribution, processing and combustion of transport fuels (i.e. fossil fuels
like petrol, diesel and gas-oil and also biofuels, blends, electricity and hydrogen) by 6% by 2020 as
compared to 2010.
Directive adopted by EP: 17.12.2008
Applicable from: 1 January 2011
   2
CO caps on airlines

MEPs included the aviation sector in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). All flights starting or
landing in Europe will be included in the ETS from 1 January 2012. By 2012 airline emissions have to be
cut to 97% of historic levels and to 95% by 2013. Military and police flights, as well as fire-fighting,
humanitarian and emergency medical service flights are not included.
Directive adopted by EP: 8.07.2008.
Date of transposition: 12 months following entry into force




                                                                  www.elections2009.eu
     Transport policy in the European Parliament
     Safety, passengers and competitiveness at the core of the EPs transport policy. Strengthening
     passengers' rights, increasing safety both in the air and on the ground and fair competition were
     the pivotal concerns of MEPs in the field of transport. Parliament also adopted measures to
     promote the railway sector.

     Impulse to transport of passengers by train
     The so-called 3rd railways package aims to increase competition among transport services providers and
     to guarantee interoperability of networks. The new legislation adopted by the European Parliament to
     revitalise this type of transport opens provision of international services of passengers to companies of
     other Member States from 1 January 2010, and establishes minimum requirements for train drivers and
     basic rights of passengers. Freight transport was already opened to competition from 2007. (See also
     factsheet on consumer rights).
     Regulation and directives, adopted: 25.9.2007. Applicable from: 31.12.2009

     Passengers´ rights strengthened
     Air travellers will benefit from clear ticket prices when booking a plane trip, as all extra charges will be
     clearly indicated. Disabled persons must get assistance to access airplane. Rail passengers will be
     compensated for delays or cancellations. These are some examples of the impact on passengers' rights
     of legislation adopted by Parliament during this mandate in the field of transport. (See also factsheet on
     consumers' rights).
     Regulation on ticket prices adopted by EP: 9.7.2008. Fully applicable from: 1.11.2008
     Regulation on passengers with disabilities adopted in EP: 15.12.2005. Fully applicable from: 26.7.2008

     All-inclusive air fares
     As of 1 November 2008, air travellers benefit from clear ticket prices when booking a plane trip. Following
     new rules adopted by the European Parliament, passengers are able to see at a glance exactly what they
     have to pay for their tickets: fares have to include all taxes, fees and charges added to the basic ticket
     price.
     Regulation adopted by EP: 9.7.2008. Fully applicable from: 1.11.2008

     More rights for air passengers with disabilities
     The European Parliament passed legislation that improves the rights of disabled persons and persons
     with reduced mobility when travelling by air. They can not be refused transportation on the grounds of
     their disabilities. Also, they have to be given − without additional charge − assistance to meet their
     particular needs at airports.
     Regulation, adopted in EP: 15.12.2005. Fully applicable from: 26.7.2008

     Aviation security
     MEPs passed a law that lays down common rules and standards, such as screening of passengers and
     cabin baggage, access control and aircraft security checks. Weapons on board are only allowed if certain
     security requirements are met. If sky marshals are deployed, they must be specially selected and trained.
     Regulation, adopted in EP: 11.3.2008. Applicable from: 29.4.2010



EN   Press Service


                                                                                       www.elections2009.eu
A common blacklist for unsafe airlines
As of 16 July 2006, airlines that fail to meet safety requirements appear on an EU-wide blacklist and are
subject to an operating ban throughout the EU. According to the regulation adopted by the EP,
passengers are also informed of the identity of the operating carrier and will have a right to compensation
should the carrier be included on the blacklist after the reservation has been made.
Regulation, adopted in EP: 17.11.2005. Applicable from: 16.7.2006

A new charge system for 69 EU airports
The European Parliament adopted new rules that lay down common principles for levying charges at
Community airports and aim to prevent individual airports abusing a dominant position on the market. The
rules apply to airports with an annual throughput of over five million passengers per year (or at least the
biggest airport in each Member State) and provides for mechanisms for resolving disputes between users
and airports. The British and Irish airports affected are: Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Dublin, East
Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, London
Stansted, Manchester and Newcastle.
Directive, adopted by EP 22.10.2008. Applicable from: end of 2010

Parliament sinks port services proposals
The European Parliament for a second time torpedoed proposals on market access to port services.
Many MEPs demanded in its place legislation on fair competition between ports. A number of MEPs were
against opening pilot services to competition and were concerned with the social implications of self-
handling proposals.
Rejection by EP: 18.1.2006

Better protection for pedestrians and cyclists
The European Parliament endorsed plans to reduce the number of pedestrians and cyclists injured on
Europe's roads by introducing tougher standards on the safety of motor vehicles, for example through
compulsory introduction of brake-assist systems and frontal protection systems. Each year 8,000
pedestrians and cyclists are killed and 300,000 injured across the EU.
Regulation adopted by EP 18.6.2008; Applicable 9 months after publication (around November 2009)

Higher safety standards for road infrastructure
MEPs endorsed a directive promoting EU-wide standards on road infrastructure management. Member
States must ensure that signs are in place to warn road users of repair work. The Directive also covers
safe parking areas, crash barriers, road safety impact assessments and safety inspections. Currently,
safety standards for roads and road design maintenance differ greatly between the Member States.
Directive adopted by EP: 19. June 2008 (1st reading)

Newly issued driving licences in credit-card format from 2013
As from 2013, all newly issued or replacement driving licences will be in a single EU-wide credit card
format. The new format will replace the more than 110 existing different models in the Member States.
Directive, adopted by EP: 14.12.2006 Applicable from: 19.1.2013

Better accident compensation for ship passengers under third maritime package
Compensation for passengers in the event of shipping accidents and an EU blacklist of substandard ships
are among highlights of the third maritime package, a long-awaited raft of legislation that was adopted by
the European Parliament. The seven pieces of legislation in the package - also known as "Erika III" after
the 1999 Erika oil spill - will improve both the safety of ships and the action taken in the event of an
accident. The package covers not just compensation for passengers but also ship inspections, port state
control, shipping accident investigations and the choice of the authority that decides where a ship in
distress should go. All the legislation was approved by Parliament following a deal reached with Council
in conciliation negotiations.
Adopted by EP: 11.03.2009




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     Eurovignette: "polluter pays" principle for lorry charges
     Charges on heavy-goods vehicles should be based in part on the air and noise pollution they produce.
     Charging lorries for congestion at peak periods on congested roads will also be possible, although the
     rules are not binding but seek to set a common standard for Member States who choose to apply the
     charges.
     Amendments to directive adopted by EP (codecision, first reading): 11.03.2009




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     Products and services markets

     Further opening up of the single market has been one of the key themes of this legislature. MEPs
     have adopted legislation affecting the energy, telecoms, intellectual property, financial and postal
     sectors, as well as the overarching directive covering the market in services. At each vote, the
     European Parliament has sought to balance industry needs for easier access to markets with
     consumers' rights to adequate protection.

     Removing obstacles to the free movement of services

     The Services Directive removes obstacles to the free movement of services and to the establishment of
     service providers in other Member States. Restrictions will only be acceptable on specific grounds (public
     policy and security, environmental protection, public health). Member States will have to reduce red tape,
     for instance by the creation of a single "point of contact" (one-stop shop), so service providers will not
     have to deal with several different authorities at national, regional and local level. Council followed
     Parliament's position so the final text reflects a balance between competition and social protection.
     Directive adopted by EP: 15/11/2006
     Transposition: 28/12/2009

     Postal services fully open to competition

     The remaining postal service monopolies in the EU should expire by 1 January 2011, although 11
     Member States have the possibility to postpone market opening until 2013, either because they joined the
     EU after 2004 and had difficulty in adapting their postal markets, or because they have a difficult
     topography (huge number of islands, small population, limited size). To avoid unfair competition, those
     Member States having already opened their markets can refuse authorisation to operators still protected
     by a national monopoly. A universal service is still guaranteed: letters should go on being both delivered
     and collected at least once a day, at least five days a week, for every EU citizen, in remote areas as well
     as cities. Member States will be able to include employment and social considerations when opening up
     the postal market.
     Directive adopted by EP: 31/01/2008
     Transposition: 31/12/2010 (or 31/12/2012: MS concerned are Czech Republic, Greece, Cyprus, Latvia,
     Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia)

     EP rejects proposals on port services and software patents

     The EP used its power to reject proposals when MEPs considered that "no directive is better than a bad
     directive". That was for a proposed directive opening up port services to competition. Members were
     against the proposed rules on self-handling and pilot services, arguing that they would endanger jobs and
     security and lead to unfair competition. MEPs demanded in its place legislation on fair competition
     between ports. MEPs also voted against legislation on the patentability of computer-implemented
     inventions, which some believed would have led to software being patented.
     EP vote on Port services: 17/01/2006, rejected by 532 votes to 120 with 25 abstentions
     EP vote on Software patents: 6/07/2005, rejected by 648 votes to 14 with 1 abstention


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Capital requirements for banks

As far as financial services are concerned, the EP adopted the Capital Requirements Directive, updating
EU rules on capital requirements for banks and credit institutions, in line with the Basel II agreement. The
overall aim is to create a more sophisticated, risk-based approach to the requirements on financial
institutions to hold capital to prevent crises. The new rules set more precise own funds requirements (i.e.
the amount of 'internal' capital which banks and investment institutions must hold in order to cover their
risks and protect their depositors). The rules came into effect during 2007 and 2008 – some observers
believe the current banking crisis would have been less likely if the new system had already been in
place. The European Commission has now proposed an update of the rules to deal with issues arising
from the crisis, such as the role of securitisation.
Directive adopted by EP: 28/09/2005

Independence of auditors

MEPs also adopted new rules intended to help improve quality audits within the EU and underpin
confidence in the functioning of EU capital markets. European auditors and audit firms are required to
prove their independence from the management of the audited company.
Directive adopted by EP: 28/09/2005
Transposition: 29/06/2008

Calls for legislation in financial services

MEPs have also taken a broader view of what is needed in the future and have formally requested the
Commission to make proposals on a wide range of subjects, some in light of the financial crisis.
Parliament was behind calls for regulation of credit rating agencies to address potential conflicts of
interest. Also, it requested changes to ensure that a system of capital requirements applies to all financial
institutions regardless of their precise legal form – this would include hedge funds and private equity
vehicles − and to ensure the supervision of cross-border financial institutions is put on a firmer footing.


Looking ahead
Energy package

In the months to come, proposals further to liberalise the EU electricity and gas markets will come back to
Parliament. A key issue is the ownership structure of production and distribution assets, with the
controversial "unbundling" clause to separate ownership of generation/supply and transmission
infrastructure. The new rules will also cover the role of regulators and restrictions on the purchase of
assets by non-EU operators.
Adoption by EP expected by May 2009

Telecom package

Proposed reforms of existing legislation on electronic communications (such as mobile and fixed
telephony, broadcasting, internet, etc.) are also due to return to the EP. The telecom package aims to
improve competition, to eliminate barriers that remain in the already liberalised market and to promote
investment in next-generation networks, while guaranteeing consumer protection. The reform also covers
the management of radio spectrum.
Adoption by EP expected by May 2009




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     Stability in financial services with safeguards for customers

     MEPs have adopted legislation aiming to give Europe a stable and competitive financial services
     industry which gives priority to the interests of consumers. Parliament has been pressing the
     Commission for a more rapid response to the financial crisis and a better overall system of
     supervision for Europe’s still fragmented financial services markets.

     Capital requirements for banks

     In 2005, Parliament adopted the Capital Requirements Directive, updating EU rules on capital
     requirements for banks and credit institutions, in line with the Basel II agreement. The overall aim was to
     create a more sophisticated, risk-based approach to the requirements to hold capital imposed on financial
     institutions to prevent crisis. The rules came into effect during 2007 and 2008 – some observers believe
     the banking crisis would have been less likely if the new system had already been in place. This package
     left some issues aside, and the Commission has now proposed an update to take account of these and
     also to deal with issues arising from the crisis, such as the role of securitisation – see below.
     Directive adopted by EP: 28/09/2005

     Independence of auditors

     MEPs adopted new rules intended to help improve quality audits within the EU and underpin confidence
     in the functioning of EU capital markets. European auditors and audit firms are required to prove their
     independence from the management of the audited company.
     Directive adopted by EP: 28/09/2005

     Bank deposits guaranteed up to €100,000

     If a European bank fails, citizens' savings will be guaranteed up to €100,000, after Parliament backed
     legislation raising the guarantee level. The existing minimum guarantee of €20,000 will first rise to
     €50,000 by 30 June 2009, and then €100,000 by the end of 2010. MEPs also decided that bank
     customers should be given faster access to their deposits in emergencies and that a mechanism be
     established for cross-border cooperation in the event of another economic crisis.

     Calls for legislation in financial services

     MEPs have also taken a broader view of what is needed in the future and have formally requested thatthe
     Commission makes proposals on a wide range of subjects, some in light of the financial crisis. MEPs
     requested changes to ensure that a system of capital requirements applies to all financial institutions,
     regardless of their precise legal form – this would include hedge funds and private equity vehicles – and
     to ensure the supervision of cross-border financial institutions is put on a firmer footing.




EN   Press Service


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Simpler, cheaper cross-border payments on the way

MEPs adopted a legal framework designed to make cashless payments – such as card transactions,
bank transfers and direct debits – simpler and cheaper, paving the way for the creation the single Euro
payments area. Adopted in April 2007, the legislation opened the door for the banking industry to meet
its 2010 target for introducing new systems and procedures to make cross-border payments move as
quickly and cheaply as national ones.


Looking ahead
Banking and securitisation

In the light of the financial crisis, the European Parliament will be considering legislation to alter the
supervision of the banking sector and the way in which capital requirements are calculated. A key issue is
securitisation – lenders making loans to individuals then selling on the debt as an investment product.
The aim is to find a way to ensure the originator of the loan continues to have an interest in seeing it
repaid, thereby discouraging reckless lending.

Rules governing the insurance industry

A major reform to the rules governing the insurance industry is also currently making its way through
Parliament. This project, known as Solvency II, aims to ensure supervisors have a much more
sophisticated set of tools to assess the risks taken by insurance companies and thus the capital
requirements that should be imposed upon them.

Rules on credit rating agencies

New rules on credit rating agencies, to address perceived conflicts of interest have now started their
passage through the EP. Parliament had called for a review in this area on several occasions.




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     European Parliament and the protection of consumers

     Cheaper mobile phone roaming charges across the EU, a clear indication of charges for flight
     tickets, reinforcement of rail passenger rights and easier cross-border consumer credit are some
     of the most significant achievements of the European Parliament in the last 5 years. New rights
     for air passengers with disabilities and new TV advertising rules have also featured.

     Cheaper roaming rates across the EU

     A new regulation adopted by the European Parliament introduced a Eurotariff, capping roaming charges
     at maximum €0.46 per minute for making calls and €0.22 per minute for receiving calls (excluding VAT).
     Before, a roaming call cost the user an average of €1.15 per minute. The caps will be further reduced
     during the summer of 2009 to €0.43 and €0.19 respectively.
     Regulation adopted by EP: 23.5.2007
     Operators have had to offer the Eurotariff since 30.7.2007
     The regulation expires: 30.6.2010 (but proposals have been tabled for new tariffs after that date)

     Air fares must include all charges

     Passengers can now see at a glance what they have to pay for a flight ticket thanks to a Regulation
     adopted by the European Parliament. Advertisements must indicate the final price of plane tickets,
     including all taxes, fees and charges added to the basic ticket price. This applies also to internet
     bookings. Any optional price supplements must be communicated in a clear way at the start of the
     booking process.
     Regulation adopted by EP: 9.7.2008
     Fully applicable from 1 November 2008

     Rail passengers' rights strengthened

     Reinforced rights of rail passengers, including compensation for delays and ease of access for disabled
     people, were the focus of a Regulation adopted by the EP. Compensation in the event of delays on
     international services will be 25% of the fare for a delay of at least 60 minutes and 50% for a delay of 120
     minutes or more. MEPs insisted that the Regulation cover domestic journeys as well as international
     ones, though Member States can delay introducing this for up to 15 years.
     Regulation adopted by EP: 25.9.2007
     Fully applicable from 3.12.2009

     Rights of air passengers with disabilities

     New rules adopted by the European Parliament state that disabled persons may not be refused transport
     on the grounds of their disability or lack of mobility. They also have to be given − without additional
     charge − assistance to board the aircraft and reach the exit.
     Regulation adopted by EP: 15.12.2005
     Fully applicable from 26.7.2008


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New TV advertising rules

The EP updated existing legislation on TV advertising which introduces new strict rules for commercials
addressed to children and for product placement. The maximum amount of advertising will not exceed 12
minutes an hour. Films and news programmes can only be interrupted once in a schedule of at least 30
minutes. Children's programmes can only be interrupted once in a schedule of at least 30 minutes if they
last more than half an hour. Product placement will only be allowed in films, series, sports programmes
and entertainment programmes and is prohibited in all children's programmes.
Regulation adopted by EP: 29.11.2007
Fully applicable from 19.12.2009

Improving toy safety in Europe

European children will have safer toys to play with after the EP adopted a new EU directive which beefs
up safety regulations. It bans carcinogenic substances and those toxic for reproduction; it also restricts
the use of heavy metals and fragrances. It will reduce the risk of choking on toys contained in food such
as chocolate eggs by prohibiting these practices in most cases. Warnings must be in language
understandable to consumers and be visible at the point of sale, including for on line sales.
Directive adopted by EP: 18.12.2008 / Transposition date: beginning 2011 (2 years after entry into force)

Cross-border consumer credit simpler

A new directive approved by the EP aims to facilitate access to consumer credit in other Member States.
For loans between €200 and €75 000, banks will have to provide standard information which can be
compared with other offers, including on the right to pay off early. Although two out of three Europeans
buy furniture or a car on credit, most use banks in their own countries. The idea is to create cross-border
choice. Mortgage loans are excluded.
Regulation adopted by EP: 16.1.2008 / Fully applicable from 12.5.2010

New definition and labelling of spirit drinks

Traditional vodka can be made of any agricultural product if it is clearly indicated on the label, according
to a regulation adopted by the EP. The new rules maintain existing geographical designations and do not
allow flavouring of spirits.
Regulation adopted by the EP: 19.6.2007
Fully applicable from 20.5.2008

Tougher EU rules on gun ownership

The European Parliament updated current EU rules on gun ownership to reduce illegal traffic, including
over the internet, and to ensure that persons under 18 are prohibited from possessing firearms.
Directive adopted by the EP: 29.11.2007
Fully applicable from 28.07.2010

More choice of package sizes for shoppers

Parliament gave the green light to deregulation of packaging sizes for products like milk, sugar, butter,
coffee, pasta or rice. This will make it possible to sell these and other products in a wider range of sizes.
The pint of milk is not banned, and producers will be free to determine which sizes should be sold.
Directive adopted by EP: 10.05.2007
Fully applicable from 11.04.2009




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     New rules on fireworks

     The EP adopted a directive to reduce the number of accidents due to the misuse of fireworks. The new
     rules introduce a system of minimum age restrictions for potential buyers and set up basic safety
     requirements.
     Directive adopted by EP: 30.11.2006 / Fully applicable from 04.07.2010


     Looking ahead − Cheaper roaming rates, also for SMS
     Parliament is discussing a proposal to cut the charges for mobile data services and text messages sent
     from other Member States. The proposal also aims to reduce further the price of calls and fixing new
     roaming caps for the period 2010-2013.
     Vote Industry Committee expected by 9 March 2009
     Adoption by EP expected by April 2009




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     EP working for a healthier Europe

     Rules on recognition of health professionals' qualifications, on cleaner air, better quality bathing
     water, safer medicines for children and on use of mercury are some examples of legislation
     adopted by the European Parliament in the last five years. MEPs also made funding available for
     health projects under the EU's overall Research Programme 2007-2013. Extending patients' rights
     to seek treatment in another EU Member State is a major piece of legislation to be voted soon.

     Health professionals − recognition of qualifications
     GPs, nurses, dentists, midwives and physiotherapists are among the health professionals covered by
     new rules on recognition of professional qualifications. The aim of the legislation adopted by the
     European Parliament was to make it easier for professionals to provide services in another EU Member
     State, while at the same time giving host countries greater powers to check qualifications before allowing
     individuals to practise.
     Directive adopted by EP: 11/05/2005
     Deadline for transposition into national law: 20 October 2007

     Incentives for drug firms to develop child medicine
     The European Parliament adopted new rules extending patent protection for paediatric medicines by six
     months. The aim is to encourage pharmaceutical companies to invest more in developing paediatric
     medicines and to ensure that only those firms meeting strict standards will be allowed to enter the market.
     Regulation adopted by EP: 01/06/2006
     Fully applicable from 26/01/2009

     Bathing waters − cleaner beaches and rivers
     Parliament revised European legislation dating from 1976 and tightened up water quality standards of
     beaches, rivers and lakes. The aim is to reduce the likelihood of infections from bacteria. There will be
     new standards of water quality (excellent, good, sufficient and poor) and, by 2015, all bathing waters will
     have to have achieved the 'sufficient' standard. Bathers will also have access to information on the safety
     of EU bathing sites both at the beach and on the internet.
     Directive adopted by EP: 18/01/2006
     Deadline for transposition into national law: 24/03/2008

     Cleaner air
     The European Parliament updated EU legislation to prevent and reduce air pollution. For the first time,
     MEPs defined maximum concentration levels for small particles or dust (known as PM2.5) which are the
     most hazardous to human health and can cause cancer and respiratory illnesses such as asthma,
     bronchitis and emphysema. The objective is to reduce concentration of these particles to 20 micrograms
     per cubic meter, but these indicative levels will be reviewed in 2013, with the possibility of making them
     obligatory. Sampling points must be established in cities of over 250,000 inhabitants and in rural areas.
     Adopted by EP: 11/12/2007
     Deadline for transposition: 11/06/2010




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EU funding for health research – €6.1 billion over seven years
The EU's overall research programme, adopted by the EP, includes a funding stream for health research
projects. €6.1 billion has been set aside for health research between 2007 and 2013. At MEPs' insistence,
stem cell research can be financed but only if this is in line with the law of the Member State concerned.
EU research funds cannot be used for human cloning or genetics.
Adopted by EP: 30/11/2006. Implementation: 2007-2013

Mercury bans
MEPs adopted legislation to reduce the use of mercury, which carries a high risk to human cardiovascular
and immune systems and to the development of embryos. From March 2011, the export of mercury from
the EU will be prohibited. The sale of new mercury thermometers for both professional and private use is
banned from 3 April 2009, with a six-month extension for barometers. Existing instruments can still be
repaired or bought and sold second-hand.
Export ban adopted by EP: 21/05/2008. Applicable from: 15/03/2011
Ban on mercury instruments adopted by EP: 10/07/2007; Applicable from: 03/04/2009.


MEPs also adopted resolutions calling for immediate actions in several health-related fields:

Fight against smoking – smoke-free workplaces

The European Parliament called on member states to introduce, by the end of 2009, smoking bans in all
enclosed workplaces, including catering establishments, public buildings and transport, and also in
children's playgrounds.
Report adopted in EP: 24/10/2007

Step up against cancer
MEPs called for more research into cancer prevention and for nationwide breast screenings every 2 years
for women aged 50 to 69.
Resolution on cancer adopted by EP: 10/04/2008
Resolution on breast cancer adopted by EP: 25/10/2006

Combating obesity as early as possible
MEPs called for measures to combat obesity early in life. Their recommendations included clearer food
labelling, better food in schools and more school sports, restrictions on advertising unhealthy food, and
VAT reductions for fruit & vegetables.
Report adopted in EP: 25/09/2008

Organ donation
MEPs proposed a wide range of measures, including a European donor card, to tackle the problem of
organ shortage and organ trafficking.
Report adopted in EP: 22/04/2008


Looking ahead
Patient mobility – healthcare without borders
The European Parliament is due to vote in April 2009 on a proposal to facilitate patients' access to
healthcare anywhere in the EU. The aim is to clarify the conditions under which patients will have the right
to treatment in other Member States, and how the costs of such treatment should be met.
Proposal adopted by the European Commission: 03/07/2008
Date of vote in EP: April 2009




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     Employment and social affairs a key concern for the European Parliament

     The Working Time Directive, employment rights for temporary agency workers, cross-border
     recognition of professional qualifications to facilitate working in another Member State, and
     labour law aspects of the services directive are some examples of legislation in the social affairs
     field. Proposals to improve reconciliation of family and work will be in the parliamentary agenda in
     the months to come.

     Equal rights for temporary agency workers

     Temporary agency workers will have the same rights as those employed directly by the company to which
     they are assigned. Equal treatment will apply from day one unless the social partners agree otherwise, as
     in the UK, where it only applies after 12 weeks. Basic conditions such as pay, training, maternity leave,
     holidays, are included, as well as access to facilities such as canteens, childcare or transport.
     Adopted by EP: 22. 10. 2008 (co-decision, 2nd reading)
     Fully applicable from: three years after entry into force (end of 2011)

     Recognition of qualifications to facilitate working abroad

     With the aim of helping professionals such as doctors, nurses and architects to work in another Member
     State, a new directive provides for the recognition of diplomas obtained in any country of the European
     Union. Notaries public were excluded. Member States have the power to check qualifications before
     allowing individuals to practise.
     Adopted by EP: 11. 5. 2005 (co-decision)
     Fully applicable from: 20. 10. 2007

     Services directive − no change of labour law

     The services directive, which removes obstacles to the establishment and provision of cross-border
     services, was amended by Parliament to make clear that national labour law, working conditions and
     social security legislation were not affected and remain unchanged.
     Adopted by EP: 15. 11. 2006 (co-decision, 2nd reading)
     Fully applicable from: 28. 12. 2009

     New Fund to help people back to work

     The EP agreed the establishment of a European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, which will provide up to
     €500 million each year to help reintegrate, into the labour market, workers made redundant due to a
     major economic crisis in the sector. Seven Member States successfully applied for funding from this Fund
     in 2007 and 2008, including Lithuania for its textile sector and Portugal for its automobile sector.
     Adopted by EP: 30. 12. 2006
     Operational from: 1. 1. 2007




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Non-legislative reports

Ageing population and the future of the social model

Parliament has several times highlighted the impact of an increasing ageing population, which will affect
social security systems and may put European social models at risk. Parliament suggests encouraging
older people to work longer, a balanced immigration policy and better measures to conciliate family life
and work.
Adopted by EP: 23.3.2006
Adopted by EP: 21.2.2008
Adopted by EP: 20.11.2008


Looking ahead
Working time Directive

In the months to come, Parliament and Council will be negotiating to reach an agreement on the working
time directive, after Parliament rejected key proposals from Member States. Parliament voted to end all
opt outs to the 48-hour week within three years and to ensure that all on-call time is considered working
time. MEPs agreed that the average 48-hour week should be calculated over 12 months and introduced
exceptions for senior management positions.
Probable vote in plenary: May 2009 (co-decision, conciliation)
Application: after 3 years of adoption, according to EP amendments

Measures to improve conciliation of family life and work

In the next few months, Parliament will be scrutinizing proposed changes in legislation which aim to
improve work-life balance. All Member States would have to guarantee a minimum maternity leave of 18
weeks, instead of the current 14 weeks. Self-employed women will also get access to maternity leave.
Estimated vote in EP: May 2009 (co-decision, first reading)

Towards a comprehensive non-discrimination EU directive

Parliament will be examining a broad non-discrimination directive, recently presented by the European
Commission following requests by the EP. The idea is to fill the gaps in the existing legal framework so
that there is protection against discrimination − not just in access to employment, but also in goods,
facilities and services − on the grounds of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.
Probable vote in LIBE Committee: January 2009




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     Immigration and free movement

     In this mandate, Parliament adopted legislation establishing key principles for an effective policy
     to return illegal immigrants, with safeguards for their rights. MEPs also called for the development
     of legal channels for immigrants to enter the EU, including a blue card for highly skilled workers.
     Parliament also gave the green light, in 2007, to nine new Members States joining the EU's
     Schengen area for free movement. Legislation introducing sanctions against employers of non-
     EU nationals working illegally in the Member States will be adopted soon.


     Return of illegal immigrants: towards common rules and minimum standards

     A directive establishing common rules and minimum conditions for the return and expulsion of illegal
     immigrants was adopted by the European Parliament following a long debate. The text encourages
     voluntary departure of illegal non-EU nationals (giving them at least 7 days to leave voluntarily and up to
     30 days, after which the Member State has the right to detain them), while at the same time fixing
     minimum standards for custody and deportation, including for children and health-related issues. The
     maximum period of custody is fixed at 6 months, which under certain circumstances can be extended by
     a further 12 months. Prohibition of re-entry is in principle for a maximum of five years, unless the deported
     person is a threat to public safety. Member States retain the right to suspend such a prohibition.
     Directive adopted by EP: 18.06.08 (first reading) by 369 in favour, 197 against and 106 abstentions
     Transposition: 24 months from publication in OJ; 36 months for providing free legal assistance.

     Green light to expansion of the free movement space − Schengen

     The Schengen Area has no border controls between its participating countries. The European Parliament
     supported the enlargement of the Schengen area to nine of the ten Member States that joined the EU in
     2004. Thus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and
     Slovakia have removed all land, sea and air border controls between them and the rest of the Schengen
     countries: Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands,
     Austria, Portugal, Finland and Sweden, as well as Iceland and Norway – countries associated with
     Schengen). The UK, Ireland, Cyprus, Romania and Bulgaria are now the only EU Member States outside
     Schengen.
     Adoption: 15.11.07 (consultation)
     Implementation: 30 March 2008 for air controls, earlier for land and sea




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Other votes

Opening up labour market to third country workers − blue card

In a resolution establishing priorities for an EU migration policy, the European Parliament underlined the
need for well-managed legal immigration, as legal channels were needed to counter illegal immigration.
MEPs had called, already in 2007, for a blue card to facilitate the entry of highly qualified migrants to take
jobs in sectors suffering skills shortages. Subsequently, Parliament supported the scheme developed by
the European Commission, but urged Member States to avoid a brain-drain from third countries.
Resolution adopted by EP: 26.09.07 by 557 in favour, 101 against and 22 abstentions
EP vote: 20.11.2008 (consultation)

Call for free access to labour markets for new Member States

Parliament called on "old" Member States to open their labour markets to workers from the new Member
States, putting an end to the transitional measures restricting access to workers from eight new Member
States until 2011. Most countries have subsequently opened their labour markets to workers from all the
EU, but at the end of 2008 restrictions remained in Belgium, Denmark, Austria and Germany.
EP vote: 05.04.2006

Sanctions against employers who illegally employ third-country nationals

Parliament adopted a Directive which establishes minimum penalties against employers of third-country
nationals residing illegally in the EU, including payment of fines and repatriation costs, wages and taxes
in arrears and a five-year prohibition from bidding for public sector contracts or from receiving state aid.
The Directive also provides for criminal penalties for serious cases, such as repeated offences,
exploitative working conditions, and when the employee is a minor. Lower financial penalties will be
established for people using illegal immigrants as domestic staff. Illegal immigrants will be able to lodge
complaints and to get a temporary residence permit if they cooperate with legal action against their
employer.
Adoption of proposal as amended: 04.02.2009
Adoption of legislative resolution: 19.02.2009
Transposition: 24 months from the date of publication in the Official Journal




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     Security, terrorism and civil liberties

     Parliament has supported measures to fight terrorism and to improve security, to react to new
     challenges the European Union was facing, while at the same time making sure legislation
     guaranteed core democratic values. MEPs were critical of CIA anti-terrorist activities in Europe
     and of agreements on data sharing with US authorities. During this legislature, Parliament has
     also revised existing legislation on civil aviation security, gun ownership and money laundering.

     Countering air terrorism

     To protect passengers and goods from terrorist attacks, the European Parliament adopted new measures
     on security at airports and planes. The law lays down common standards for screening of passengers
     and cabin baggage, security checks of cargo and mail, access control and staff selection and training.
     Should Member States choose to use them, in-flight security officers ('sky marshals') must be specially
     selected and trained.
     Regulation adopted by EP: 11/03/2008
     Fully applicable: 29/04/2010

     Measures to fight money laundering and financing of terrorism

     Financial institutions have to check customers' identity when they open an account or transfer sums
     above €15,000. Anonymous accounts and those opened under false names are banned. Casinos should
     also check the identity of any customers gambling more than €2 000. These new measures are part of
     the legislation on money laundering, revised to improve the fight against organised crime and terrorism.
     Parliament amended the proposed legislation to ensure it included financing of terrorism within the scope.
     Directive adopted by EP: 26/05/2005
     Transposition deadline: 15/12/2007

     Biometric passports

     All EU countries will be issuing biometric passports from the end of June this year. Following the vote of
     Parliament, no fingerprints will be taken of children under 12: experience shows that such data is of
     insufficient quality and changes as children grow older. Instead, to prevent child trafficking, minors will
     have their own passports containing parents' names. However, already issued documents will continue to
     be valid. The UK has not opted into this legislation but has said it will introduce rules to mirror the EU
     Regulation.
     Regulation adopted by EP: 14.01.2009 (Council's formal decision pending)
     Deadline for introduction of one person, one passport: 36 months after entry into force
     Deadline for introduction of biometric passports (including fingerprinting provisions): 28.06.2009




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Tougher EU rules on gun ownership

The European Parliament updated current EU rules on gun ownership to reduce illegal traffic, including
over the internet. The legislation sets up computerised data systems so that all firearms can be traceable
to owners, and prohibits people under 18 from possessing firearms.
Directive adopted by EP: 29/11/2007
Deadline for transposition: 28/07/2010. For computerized databases: 31/12/2014

Telecommunication companies to retain call data, but no content

To help national authorities to combat terrorism and organised crime, a new directive requires
telecommunication companies to retain certain call data. They must keep the information necessary to
identify the source, destination and location of communications made by phone and on the internet, but
this does not include the content. Data must be kept for between 6 and 24 months, and it is up to each
Member State to decide how long. The law also sets data protection standards.
Directive adopted by EP: 24/11/2005
Transposition deadline: 15/09/2009

Political positions and consultations

In addition to legislation, the EP has been questioning the actions of Member States where these were
not consistent with the core values of the EU. It has also aimed to reinforce civil liberties in legislation on
which it was consulted, but did not have the final say.

CIA activities in Europe

According to Parliament's final report, adopted after a year of work by its temporary committee, "at least
1,245 flights operated by the CIA flew into European airspace or stopped over at European airports" from
2001 to 2005. MEPs regret that European countries had been "turning a blind eye" to such flights, "which,
on some occasions, were being used for extraordinary rendition or the illegal transportation of detainees".
Report adopted by EP: 14/02/2007

Concerns over air passenger data exchanges

MEPs were concerned that agreements to provide non-EU countries with data on air passengers
contravened data protection legislation. On several occasions, Parliament requested more democratic
control of these so-called Passenger Name Record (PNR) agreements. Due to privacy concerns,
Parliament also criticised a European plan to collect air passenger records for law enforcement purposes.

Body scanners raise concerns

MEPs expressed concerns over the proposal to generalise the introduction of 'body scanners' at
European airports, which would produce images of people as if they were naked. Subsequently the
Commission withdrew the proposal so that it could be reconsidered.

New antiterrorist measures

Parliament supported the inclusion of incitement to terrorism, recruitment and terrorism training in the list
of offences covered by European anti-terrorism legislation. However, MEPs called for changes so that
any risks to freedom of expression should be minimised.
EP vote (consultation): 23.9.2008
Deadline for transposition: (estimated, publication pending)




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     MEPs active on culture, education and sport

     In the field of culture, education and sport, the European Parliament has fought for more money to
     go to education programmes, emphasised the important role of sport in society, and shown its
     support for European cinema. The new directive on audiovisual services was also adopted. When
     celebrating the Year of Intercultural dialogue in 2008 Parliament hosted a number of leading
     cultural figures and religious leaders.

     Easier to compare qualifications
     To ease mobility of students and workers, Parliament adopted legislation which will facilitate, as of 2012,
     the comparison of qualifications from school-leavers´ diplomas, vocational training certificates and
     academic degrees. Another directive already applicable provides for the recognition of diplomas obtained
     in any country of the European Union regarding certain professions such as doctors, nurses and
     architects. Member States will retain powers to check qualifications before allowing individuals to practise.
     Recognition of higher education diplomas
     Adopted by EP: 11. 5. 2005 (co-decision)
     Fully applicable from: 20. 10. 2007

     More money for Erasmus students
     MEPs have ensured more EU money to facilitate studying in another Member State: On 1 January 2007,
     grants to Erasmus students went up from €150 to €200 a month. Erasmus is one of the programmes
     financed by the European Union. Other strands of the EU's Lifelong Learning Programme, running from
     2007-2013 are the Leonardo training programme and the Comenius school exchange programme. The
     funding for all of these got the green light from the European Parliament in October 2006.
     Lifelong Learning programmes including Erasmus adopted 25.10.2006

     New rules for TV content
     The new rules on audiovisual services adopted by the European Parliament established that not only
     television broadcasters, but also on-demand services like web-TV, should promote European
     programmes. The new legislation updates the TV without Frontiers Directive which allowed Member
     States to guarantee free access to events of major national importance (these are usually sports events,
     but can also mean culture in its broadest sense, including music festivals or royal weddings). The
     legislation also updates rules on advertising and product placement, and does not allow the sponsoring of
     news and current affairs programmes.
     Adopted in EP 29.11.2007
     Implementation in Member states by 19.12. 2009




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Non-legislative

Proposals for university reform
In a report on the Bologna Process, which aims to create a European Higher Education Area by 2010,
MEPs argued for a more flexible university system in three stages: bachelor/master/doctorate. They
suggested a "4+1" year system for the first 2 stages could facilitate employability. Parliament also
proposed the introduction of a European Student Identity Card to facilitate mobility and enable students to
get discounts in other countries.
Bologna-process, Initiative report adopted 23.09.2008

Early learning of foreign languages
Proficiency in at least two foreign languages should be a basic skill for every European, stressed the
European Parliament. MEPs argued in a non binding resolution that pupils should learn at least two
foreign languages at an early age. Language studies also receive financing from the EU Lifelong learning
programmes (Erasmus. Leonardo, Comenius)
Common indicator for language learning. Report adopted in EP: 27.04.2006

Call for more sports in schools
Parliament highlighted the importance of sports in society and called for at least three hours a week of
compulsory physical education in schools. A key aim is to combat children obesity.

Football in the spotlight
Several parliamentary resolutions addressed professional football in the EU and emphasised that EU
competition rules should not impede recruitment of locally trained players. Following racist remarks in
football stadiums, MEPs called on UEFA and other competition organisers in Europe to ensure that
referees stop or abandon matches in the event of serious racist abuse. Parliament also alerted on
possible corruption in football.

LUX Prize: commitment to cinema
MEPs have repeatedly voiced their strong support for the European film industry. In 2006, they adopted
the €755 million EU Media programme (2007-2013), supporting audiovisual production in Europe. In
2007, the LUX Prize for cinema was first awarded. The objective of the European Parliament cinema
prize is to facilitate the distribution of European films in the member states by subtitling the winning film in
the 23 official EU languages.

2008: Year of Intercultural Dialogue
To celebrate the Year of Intercultural dialogue in 2008 the Parliament hosted, in formal plenary sitting, the
Dalai Lama, Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the Grand Mufti of Syria, Ahmad Bader Hassoun, the
Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox Church, Bartholomew I, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of
Religion or Belief, Asma Jilani Jahangir and Jorge Sampaio, high representative of the UN-initiative
Alliance of Civilisations.


Looking ahead
Protection of authors' rights
Parliament is currently scrutinising a proposal to extend the term of protection for sound recordings and
performers beyond the currently applicable 50 year term, up to 70 years after their birth. The extension,
according to the Commission, will bring additional income to authors, performers and record companies,
offsetting losses due to internet piracy..
Probably vote in EP: April 2009 (codecision, first reading))




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     Money for policies: political priorities backed up by financial means

     The European Parliament used the power it shares with the Council of Ministers on budgetary
     matters to make its mark on the overall EU budget planning for 2007-2013 as well on each annual
     EU budget. The European Parliament's political priorities are reflected in the allocation of funding
     across different programmes. Some examples of money allocated by Parliament during this
     mandate:

     Financial Framework 2007-2013: €864,316 million − 1.048% of EU Gross National Income

     In 2006, after two year of negotiations with the representatives of national governments in the EU Council
     of Ministers, the European Parliament adopted the overall financial framework for 2007-2013. Agriculture
     and structural/cohesion funds represent the bulk of the budget namely 42.9% and 35.6% respectively.

     Parliament managed to obtain €4 billion more than the EU Member States had initially envisaged for
     2007-2013. MEP priority areas were: foreign policy (+1 billion), research and innovation (+700 million),
     Trans-European Networks (+500 million), consumer protection (+500 million), structural funds (+300
     million) and the environment (+100 million).
     Vote: 17 May 2006, 440 votes in favour, 180 against and 14 abstentions
     Implementation period: January 2007-December 2013

     Structural and Cohesion Funds, €308 billion

     The structural and cohesion funds, representing 35.6% of the overall EU budget, aim to increase
     solidarity and reduce disparities between regions of the EU. The main funds are: European Regional
     Development Fund (ERDF), Cohesion Fund, European Social Fund, and European Grouping for
     Territorial Cooperation (EGTC).
     Vote: 4 July 2006, Implementation period: January 2007-December 2013

     7th Research Framework Programme: €53,200 million for innovation

     The research programmes are intended to increase the potential for economic growth by investing in key
     areas such as: health, food, agriculture, fisheries, biotechnology, information and communication
     technologies, nanosciences, energy, environment, social sciences, security and space. The total budget
     for the seven-year period is €53,200 million, which represents an increase of 41% at 2004 prices (63% at
     current prices).
     Vote: 30 November 2006, Implementation period: January 2007-December 2013




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Galileo− the European satellite navigation system

By 2013 the European satellite radio navigation system Galileo will be operational and, in contrast to the
American GPS and the Russian GLONASS systems, will be the first such system specifically designed
for civilian applications. MEPs managed to ensure a budget of €3.4 billion until 2013.
Regulation adopted by EP 23.04.2008

Learning programmes

The EU learning programme package will receive €6,970 million for the period 2007-2013. 40% of the
total will go to the Erasmus programme which finances approximately 200,000 students a year who study
abroad.
Vote: 24 October 2006, Implementation period: January 2007-December 2013

European Institute of Technology (EIT)

The EP gave the green light to the European Institute of Technology (EIT). The estimated overall budget
of the EIT for the first six years is €2,400 million which will be funded from a combination of private and
public sources. The European Institute of Technology, the EU's flagship initiative for boosting innovation
in Europe, will receive €308.7 million from the Community budget.
Vote: 11 March 2008, Entry into force: 29 April 2008

Daphne III programme − Combating violence against children, young people and women

Daphne is a Community programme originally set up in 1997 on the initiative of the European Parliament.
It funds measures aimed at preventing and combating all forms of violence against children, young
people and women. The Daphne III programme for the period 2007-2013 will now have a budget of
€116.85 million.
Vote: 22 May 2007, Implementation period: 1 January 2007-31 December 2013

Frontex

The European Parliament decided to double, up to €70 million, the amount earmarked in 2008 for
Frontex, which is an independent body tasked with coordinating the operational cooperation between
member states in the field of border security.
EP Vote: 25 October 2007


Looking ahead
Reform of the financing system

MEPs will be involved in assessing how to reform the Union's financing system. In this mandate, the
European Parliament said that funding the EU by direct contributions from the Member States was "unfair
to the general public and anti-democratic". The EP called for an examination of the possibility of using an
existing tax to finance the European budget, thereby establishing a direct link between the tax payer and
the spending of the European Union.
Vote: 29 March 2007




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     The EP active on the world stage

     The EP involvement in foreign policy has been very focused on human rights abuses around the
     world, also illustrated by the annual award of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
     Parliament has also sought to increase funding for the external actions of the EU. The Middle
     East, China, Russia and Guantánamo were also the subject of parliamentary debates and
     resolutions.

     Death penalty: EP called for a universal moratorium

     The European Parliament asked the Council to submit a resolution calling for a universal moratorium on
     the death penalty to the UN General Assembly. Eventually, the UN General Assembly adopted such a
     resolution on 18 December 2007.
     Adopted: 18.12.2007

     Sakharov Prize: Honouring those fighting for the Freedom of Thought

     Sakharov Prize winners during this legislature were Hu Jia, Salih, Mahmoud Osman, Aliaksandr
     Milinkevich, the Ladies in White, Hauwa Ibrahim, the Reporters without Borders and the Belarus
     Association of Journalists. In awarding the Sakharov Prize, the European Parliament honours outstanding
     achievements in the fight to protect freedom of thought and expression against intolerance, fanaticism
     and hatred.

     Relations with Russia

     MEPs called on the EU to review its policy towards Russia in the light of the Russian-Georgian conflict in
     2008. Moreover, on several occasions they expressed their serious concerns as regards the respect for
     human rights in Russia.

     Despite better EU-China relations, critics of human rights abuses

     Despite its cautious optimism over the improvement of EU-China relations, the EP remained critical of
     China's human rights record as well as its repression of demonstrations in Tibet. Parliament awarded the
     2008 Sakharov Prize to Chinese dissident and human rights activist Hu Jia.

     Middle East conflict: MEPs in favour of the two-State solution

     The EP repeatedly argued that the two-State solution, with an Israeli and a Palestinian state living side-
     by-side in peace and security, is a key condition for a peaceful and lasting settlement in the Middle East.




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Guantánamo Bay: EP called on the US to close its detention facility

MEPs welcomed the decision by President Barack Obama to close the detention centre at Guantánamo
Bay in Cuba. During this legislative period, the EP called repeatedly on the US Administration to close
this facility. MEPs also called on the Member States to be prepared to accept Guantánamo inmates in the
EU in case the US ask so.

Co-operation with the Mediterranean partners

Parliament supported the launching of the Union for the Mediterranean, to improve cooperation with the
EU's southern neighbours. MEPs expressed concern for human rights and the situation of women in the
region.

EP's support to Ukraine's path towards democracy

Shortly after the rigged presidential elections, in 2004, the EP supported the so-called Orange Revolution.
In 2007 it supported the EU's association agreement with Ukraine, which could open the possibility of
Ukraine eventually becoming a Member State of the European Union.

EP response to natural disasters around the world

In response to various natural disasters such as the cyclone in Burma, the earthquake in China and the
tsunami in South East Asia, the EP provided financial support to reconstruction and expressed solidarity
to the victims.

Money for external actions

With the adoption of the framework budget for the period 2007-2013, Parliament assigned €49.46bn to
external actions, including development policy. Parliament managed to raise the amount by €1bn in
comparison to the Council's proposal.

Election observation teams

The European Parliament has sent election observation teams to elections in 42 different countries
around the world between 2004 and 2008. UK MEPs often took part and led the delegations to:
Indonesia (2004); Mozambique (2004); Palestine (2005 & 2006); Egypt (2005); Kazakhstan (2005); Haiti
(2006); Aceh (Indonesia − 2006); Sierra Leone (2007); Guatemala (2007); Togo (2007); Pakistan (2008),
Cambodia (2008); Angola (2008); Rwanda (2008); and Bangladesh (2008)




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     Institutional decisions and enlargement

     During this mandate, Parliament approved the new European Commission and the enlargement of
     the Union to Romania and Bulgaria. It also gave the green light to starting membership
     negotiations with Turkey and Croatia. In the first half of the legislature, institutional reform
     dominated the agenda. MEPs gave broad support to the proposed Constitution and, later, to the
     Treaty of Lisbon.

     Parliament approves the European Commission

     Parliament approved the appointment of José Manuel Barroso as the new President of the Commission.
     Because MEPs raised objections to some of the candidates for the other 26 commissioner posts, both
     before and after EP committee hearings, President Barroso had to propose alternative candidates and a
     reshuffle of portfolios to make sure the EP approved the whole Commission.
     Vote on president of the Commission: 22 July 2004 (413 votes in favour and 251 against)
     Vote on new Commission: 18 November 2004 (449 votes in favour to 149 against with 82 abstentions)

     Bulgaria and Romania, new Members of the Union

     In April 2005 a large majority in Parliament gave the green light to EU-accession for Bulgaria and
     Romania. MEPs stressed, however, that both countries still needed to consolidate the reform of their
     judicial systems and to continue the fight against corruption. On 1 January 2007, Parliament welcomed 18
     Bulgarian and 35 Romanian MEPs, temporarily raising the number of MEPs to 785 until the European
     elections of 2009.
     EP vote: 13 April 2005 − Accession of Bulgaria: 522 votes in favour, 70 against, 69 abstentions.
     Accession of Romania: 497 votes in favour, 93 against, 71 abstentions

     Debates on enlargement and negotiations with candidates

     MEPs debated candidate countries' preparedness to join the EU on several occasions. In 2005, they
     gave the green light to starting membership negotiations with Turkey and with Croatia. MEPs also
     supported the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia becoming a candidate for EU accession, though
     negotiations have not yet started. In a July 2008 resolution on the enlargement process, MEPs called for
     the preparedness of candidates and the capacity of absorption of the Union to be taken into account. EP
     resolutions also stressed that no further enlargement was possible under the Treaty of Nice

     New eurozone countries

     Parliament gave also the green light to enlarging the eurozone to include Slovenia, from 1 January 2007,
     Cyprus and Malta, from 1 January 2008, and Slovakia, from 1 January 2009. Now, 16 member states of
     the EU have adopted the euro as their currency.
     EP vote on euro adoption by Slovenia: 15 June 2006 (490 votes in favour to 13 against with 63
     abstentions)



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EP vote on euro adoption by Cyprus: 20 June 2007 (585 votes in favour to 14 against with 90
abstentions)
EP vote on euro adoption by Malta: 20 June 2007 (610 votes in favour to 12 against with 74 abstentions)
EP vote on euro adoption by Slovakia: 17 June 2008 (579 votes in favour to 17 against with 86
abstentions)

Support for a Constitution for Europe

Parliament endorsed the proposed EU Constitution as a good compromise and improvement on the
existing treaties. A majority of MEPs believed it would be beneficial for citizens because it would bring
them more rights and improve the clarity, effectiveness and democratic accountability of the EU.
EP vote: 12 January 2005 (500 votes in favour to 137 against with 40 abstentions)

Lisbon Treaty backed up by Parliament

A majority in Parliament also approved the draft Treaty signed in Lisbon on 13 December 2007 and the
EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. The resolution adopted argued that the Treaty would raise the EU's
democratic profile, improve the decision making efficiency and increase the European Parliament's
powers. It also asserted that the Treaty would bring greater accountability and more rights and clarity for
citizens. But it deplored the abandonment of the constitutional approach and the EU symbols, as well as
the derogations brought in to the Charter of Fundamental rights. The Irish "no" to the Treaty after a
referendum reopened the EU institutional debate.
EP vote 20 February 2008 (525 votes in favour to 115 against with 29 abstentions)

UK Presidency of the EU

From July-December 2005, the UK held the six-month rotating presidency of the EU. This meant Tony
Blair, as Prime Minister, addressed the European Parliament to present the UK's plans at the start of the
Presidency and to review the six months at Parliament's session in December. Throughout the six
months of the Presidency, UK government ministers appeared before parliamentary committees and the
full Parliament, from the Home Secretary on counter-terrorism, to the Secretary of State for Transport on
aviation safety.




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     The European Parliament hitting the UK headlines – People, policies & petitions

     Here we look at some of the stories that made the headlines in the UK since the last European
     Parliament elections in 2004. We look at people (Tony Blair, Prince Charles, the McCanns); at
     policy-based stories (mobile roaming; working time; whisky labelling; cat and dog fur; mercury
     ban; driving licences; the ‘pinta’); and at petitions dealt with in the European Parliament (Spanish
     land law; Equitable Life).

     PEOPLE

     Tony Blair
     When Tony Blair presented the UK EU Presidency programme to MEPs in June 2005, the UK press pack
     was there in force: House of Commons sketch writers sat alongside UK political editors in the European
     Parliament press gallery. Mr Blair's lively debates with MEPs at the start and end of the UK Presidency
     gave the European Parliament the visibility normally only afforded to Westminster. Throughout the six
     months of the Presidency, from July-December 2005, UK government ministers appeared before
     parliamentary committees and the full Parliament, from the Home Secretary on counter-terrorism, to the
     Secretary of State for Transport on aviation safety.

     Prince Charles
     Prince Charles visited the European Parliament in February 2008 to help raise the profile of climate
     change in the EU. He sat alongside representatives of various organisations campaigning on climate
     change in the UK and the rest of Europe. His visit meant a rare appearance in the European Parliament
     for the UK media’s royal watchers.

     Gerry and Kate McCann
     As part of their campaign for a child-alert system to be set up across the EU, the parents of Madeleine
     McCann visited the European Parliament in May 2008. Their objective was to urge MEPs to sign up to a
     Written Declaration which was ultimately supported by more than half the 785 MEPs and called for an EU
     amber alert system for missing children. Media interest in their visit was not just restricted to the UK, but
     involved correspondents the world over who had followed the McCanns’ story since the abduction of
     Madeleine in May 2007.

     POLICIES

     Cheaper mobile calls abroad
     Cheaper mobile roaming rates became a reality in September 2007 as new EU rules capped the price
     mobile phone companies can charge for calls within the EU. The European Parliament’s vote on the
     Regulation in May 2007 made it to the main TV news bulletins and the front page of the Daily Mail. As a
     follow-up, the Parliament will be voting on new legislation aimed at capping the cost of sending a mobile
     text message abroad. Vote due before April 2009.




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Working Time
MEPs voted in December 2008 to end individual opt-outs from the average 48-hour working week. From
the end of 2011, therefore, workers will be able to work a maximum 48 hours a week averaged out over
12 months. On-call time would also be included in the calculation. This has yet to be agreed with the
Council of Ministers, discussions continuing into spring 2009.

Patio heaters in from the cold?
In January 2008, the European Parliament adopted a report making recommendations on how the EU
should best meet its energy efficiency targets by 2020. A ban on patio heaters, which use an enormous
amount of energy, was among the many suggestions contained in the report. This sparked a heated
debate in many parts of the media, from Breakfast TV through national newspapers to trade magazines
for the catering industry. The more general recommendations on energy efficient buildings, energy-
saving stand-by buttons and smart meters were largely ignored by the media.

Labelling whisky, what’s in vodka?
A spirited debate was had on new rules governing the labelling of drinks such as whisky and vodka.
MEPs voted to allow traditional vodka to be made from either grain or potatoes, but added that if made
from other ingredients, these must be stated on the label. Regional specifications such as ‘Highland
Whisky’ or ‘single malt’ must be justified by national rules.

Ban on cat and dog fur trade
Such was the UK interest in the European Parliament vote on banning the trade in cat and dog fur that
even Heather Mills McCartney visited Brussels to support the MEPs’ position. The vote, in June 2007,
scrapped a loophole in existing rules which allowed trade in cat or dog fur provided they were not ‘bred or
killed for fur production’. The ban came into effect on 1 January 2009.

Ban on mercury
A heated debate took place in June and July 2007 as MEPs adopted new rules ending the use of mercury
in measuring instruments and banning mercury exports. From 2010 new barometers can no longer be
sold if they contain mercury, while the ban on ‘fever thermometers’ will come in six months earlier. This
will not, though, affect barometers already on the market.

New driving licences
MEPs voted in December 2006 for all newly-issued or replacement driving licences to be in a single EU-
wide credit card format from 2013. This will replace the 110 different models of driving licence currently
used in the 27 EU Member States. Some of the UK media reported that this would mean all drivers
having to retake their driving test every ten years. In fact, the new rules merely suggest driving licences
be renewed every 10 years, with no mention of re-testing drivers.

The ‘pinta’ is safe
UK headlines in February 2006 spoke of a ‘threat to the pinta on your doorstep’ ahead of a European
Parliament vote on pre-packed product sizes. In fact, the proposal was to deregulate sizes of packaged
food and drink, except for basic products such as milk and bread. MEPs spotted that no mention was
made of pint measurements for milk and quickly adopted amendments to rectify this. Pints of milk are still
to this day being delivered across the UK and the European Parliament endorsed a proposal in
December 2008 to confirm this is perfectly legal.

Safety first for pesticides
A new regulation on pesticides adopted by Parliament will phase out the use of certain highly toxic
chemicals in the manufacture of these products. Other risky substances will have to be replaced with
safer alternatives. However, manufacturers will gain speedier approval for new pesticides that meet the
safety rules.




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     A directive adopted at the same time will reduce the amount of pesticides used, by prohibiting most aerial
     crop spraying with pesticides as well as the use of these products near parks and playgrounds and in
     buffer zones around rivers and lakes.

     PETITIONS

     Britons in Spain – urban development laws
     Thousands of Britons living in Spain petitioned the European Parliament arguing that the Spanish urban
     ‘Land Law’ infringed EU environmental legislation. The Petitions Committee investigation and report,
     adopted in December 2005, led to news and feature articles at regular intervals since the European
     Parliament investigations began in 2004. A follow-up report is due in March 2009.

     Equitable Life
     Victims of the Equitable Life financial collapse petitioned the European Parliament in 2004-5 alleging that
     the UK had not complied with the existing EU insurance directives. The Parliament set up a Temporary
     Committee of Inquiry into Equitable Life, which reported in June 2007. Evidence sessions with
     government ministers, the parliamentary ombudsman, Equitable Life management and the petitioners
     themselves all led to extensive UK media coverage.




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www.elections2009.eu
     Looking Ahead from now to June 2009

     This factsheet takes a look at some of the key dossiers to be tackled by MEPs before the European
     elections in June. From liberalising EU gas and electricity markets, to facilitating patients' access to
     healthcare anywhere in the EU, the last few months of the legislature promise to be extremely packed for
     MEPs. Other highlights for the Parliament include legislation on cheaper roaming costs for SMS and data
     messages, a conciliation on the working time directive, and a series of reports to combat the economic
     crisis: Parliament will deal with rules on credit rating agencies, supervision of the banking sector and the
     way in which capital requirements are calculated.

     There is also a section on the Lisbon Treaty which is still in the process of being ratified by the 27
     Member States. If this occurs, the process will be completed after the June European elections.

     Energy package

     In the months to come, proposals further to liberalise the EU electricity and gas markets will come back to
     Parliament. A key issue is the ownership structure of production and distribution assets, with the
     controversial "unbundling" clause to separate ownership of generation/supply and transmission
     infrastructure. The new rules will also cover the role of regulators and restrictions on the purchase of
     assets by non-EU operators.
     Adoption by EP expected by May 2009

     Telecom package

     Proposed reforms of existing legislation on electronic communications (such as mobile and fixed
     telephony, broadcasting, internet, etc.) are also due to return to the EP. The telecom package aims to
     improve competition, to eliminate barriers that remain in the already liberalised market and to promote
     investment in next-generation networks, while guaranteeing consumer protection. The reform also covers
     the management of radio spectrum.
     Adoption by EP expected by May 2009

     Banking and securitisation

     In the light of the financial crisis, the European Parliament will be considering legislation to alter the
     supervision of the banking sector and the way in which capital requirements are calculated. A key issue is
     securitisation – lenders making loans to individuals then selling on the debt as an investment product.
     The aim is to find a way to ensure the originator of the loan continues to have an interest in seeing it
     repaid, thereby discouraging reckless lending.
     EP vote expected by April 2009




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Rules governing the insurance industry

A major reform to the rules governing the insurance industry is also currently making its way through
Parliament. This project, known as Solvency II, aims to ensure supervisors have a much more
sophisticated set of tools to assess the risks taken by insurance companies and thus the capital
requirements that should be imposed upon them.
EP vote expected by April 2009

Rules on credit rating agencies

New rules on credit rating agencies, to address perceived conflicts of interest have now started their
passage through the EP. Parliament had called for a review in this area on several occasions.
EP vote expected by April 2009

Cheaper roaming rates, also for SMS

Parliament is due to decide on a proposal to cut the charges for mobile data services and text messages
for users in the EU but outside their own Member State. The proposal before MEPs also suggests
reducing further the price of calls and fixing new roaming caps for the period 2010-2013.
Vote Industry Committee expected by 9 March 2009
Adoption by EP expected by April 2009

Clearer food labelling

The European Parliament will vote on a proposal to modernise and improve EU food labelling rules. This
legislation will include food sold in restaurants and other catering establishments.
Proposal for a regulation adopted by the Commission: 30.1.2008

Working Time Directive

In the months to come, Parliament and Council will be negotiating to reach an agreement on the working
time directive, after Parliament rejected key proposals from Member States. Parliament voted to end all
opt-outs to the 48 hour week within three years and to ensure that all on-call time is considered working
time. MEPs agreed that the average 48 hour week should be calculated over 12 months and introduced
exceptions for senior management positions.
Possible vote in plenary: May 2009 (final vote if conciliation leads to a joint text)
Application: after 3 years of adoption, according to EP amendments




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     Measures to improve work-life balance

     In the next few months, Parliament will be considering proposed changes in legislation which aim to
     improve work-life balance. If adopted as they stand, the changes would mean an EU-wide minimum
     maternity leave allowance of 18 weeks, instead of the current 14 weeks. Self-employed women would
     also get access to maternity leave.
     Probable vote in EP: May 2009 (codecision, first reading)

     Towards a comprehensive non-discrimination EU directive

     Parliament will be examining a broad non-discrimination directive, recently presented by the European
     Commission following requests by the EP. The idea is to fill the gaps in the existing legal framework so
     that there is protection against discrimination - not just in access to employment, but also in goods,
     facilities and services - on the grounds of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.

     Patient mobility - healthcare without borders

     The European Parliament is due to vote in March 2009 on a proposal to facilitate patients' access to
     healthcare anywhere in the EU. The aim is to clarify the conditions under which patients have the right to
     treatment in other Member States, and how the costs of such treatment should be met.
     Proposal adopted by the European Commission: 03/07/2008
     Probable vote in EP: April 2009

     Reform of the financing system

     MEPs will be involved in assessing how to reform the Union financing system. In this mandate, the
     European Parliament said that funding the EU by direct contributions of the Member States was "unfair to
     the general public and anti-democratic". The EP called for examining the possibility of using an existing
     tax to finance the European budget, establishing a direct link between the tax payer and the expenses of
     the European Union.

     Eco-labelling

     MEPs will scrutinise a package of new measures aiming to encourage manufacturers to make more eco-
     friendly goods and to facilitate clear labelling for consumers. The aim is to extend EU rules on energy
     efficiency labelling to a much wider range of products – for example windows. New rules on tyre labelling
     are also on the agenda - the type of tyres can account for up to 30% of a vehicle's fuel consumption.
     Probable vote in EP: April 2009 (codecision, first reading)

     Energy efficient buildings

     MEPs will be discussing proposals to improve the energy efficiency of buildings.
     Probable vote in EP: April 2009 (codecision, first reading)

     New asylum norms

     A new series of proposals to regulate the right of asylum will be voted in the coming months. The aim is to
     address deficiencies in the current system and assure a dignified standard of living for asylum-seekers
     throughout the EU. Conditions for detention, access to the labour market and the situation of children are
     some of the key issues.
     Probable vote in EP: April 2009 (codecision, first reading)
     Implementation: within 2 years after adoption




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European fisheries control policy / control measures for recreational fishing?

MEPs will be examining a proposal to reform the control system of the Common Fisheries Policy. The
proposal establishes inspections for all catches at all stages of the chain - at sea, in port, on transports
and markets, introduces harmonised inspection procedures and deterrent sanctions across the EU. It also
envisages control measures for recreational fisheries, such as the registration of catches.
Vote in Fisheries Committee (consultation): 31/03/2003
Vote in plenary: April II

Authors' rights - proposal to extend term of protection

Parliament is currently scrutinising a proposal to extend the term of protection for sound recordings and
performers beyond the currently applicable 50 year term, up to 70 years after their death. The extension,
according to the Commission, will bring additional income to authors, performers and record companies,
offsetting losses due to internet piracy.
Probable vote in EP: April 2009 (codecision first reading)




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     Lisbon Treaty: more powers for the European Parliament

     If ratified by EU Member States, the Lisbon Treaty would create the legal framework and tools needed to
     meet Europe's most pressing challenges. By giving the directly elected Parliament more power on areas
     like home affairs, agriculture and the budget, it would make the EU as a whole more democratically
     accountable.

     More democratic accountability

     With a few exceptions, it would place the European Parliament on an equal footing as lawmaker with the
     Council, representing EU Member States, in areas where this has not been case so far, notably in setting
     the EU budget (the EP would enjoy full parity and decide also on agriculture expenditure), agriculture
     policy and justice and home affairs. National parliaments would gain the right to object to a proposal if
     they felt the subsidiarity principle had been breached, for example that a given result could be better
     attained by action at national rather than EU level.

     A Commission President would be selected by EU heads of government on the basis of the European
     election results, and would have to be approved by the European Parliament. The appointment of the
     EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy would also be subject to Parliament's
     consent.

     More rights and clarity for citizens

     Citizens' rights would also be strengthened. For example, the Treaty would make the EU Charter of
     Fundamental Rights binding upon the EU itself, thus requiring EU institutions to respect citizens' civil,
     political, economic or social rights.

     A new right of Citizens' Initiative would enable groups who can muster one million signatures to call upon
     the Commission to put forward new policy proposals, thus increasing citizens' participation in EU
     decision-making.

     Greater effectiveness

     The Treaty also aims to improve the efficiency of the EU's decision-making process. Greater use of
     qualified majority voting, replacing unanimity, would facilitate agreements in the Council of Ministers. The
     new European Council President and the High Representative for foreign policy, with the backing of a
     new European external action service, should improve the consistency and impact of EU action, within
     and beyond the Union.




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More legislative power for the European Parliament

The Lisbon Treaty would make the European Parliament a co-legislator with the Council in a series of
new fields. Some of these, currently dealt with only by the Council, would be handled under the co-
decision procedure. Others are completely new policy areas for the EU.

Existing EU policies which become subject to co-decision (non-exhaustive list)

Visas, asylum (some aspects, including conditions for the reception of applicants), legal immigration
(including conditions of entry and residence), judicial cooperation in criminal matters, police cooperation,
Eurojust and decisions on Europol, minimum rules on criminal sanctions for serious crime with cross-
border aspects, common financial provisions, measures necessary for the use of the Euro, structural
funds and agriculture and fisheries policies.

New policy areas to be introduced by the Lisbon Treaty under which will be subject to co-decision (non-
exhaustive list)

Energy (energy internal market is already under codecision), border checks, sport, services of general
economic interest, personal data protection, immigration (combating human trafficking and promoting
integration), European intellectual property rights, public health (measures setting high quality standards,
but not harmonisation), space policy and tourism.




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     Top Stories

     Over the last five years the European Parliament has taken decisions ranging from major turning points to
     the routine; Parliament has held debates on essential political issues of the day and on highly complex
     technical matters; there have been very close votes and others with an overwhelming majority. Here we
     present our "Top Stories", the highest-profile debates and votes of 2004-2009.

     Each item traces a decision taken in Parliament and explains its implications. Where appropriate, we
     have also set out some of the political views expressed on the different sides of each argument.

            REACH: reducing chemical risks without penalising industry
            CIA activities in Europe: European Parliament denounces secretiveness of some Member States
            Liberalising services without touching the European social model
            EU-wide rail services
            When Parliament rejects...
            Roaming: Parliament cuts cost of using mobile phones abroad
            All-inclusive air fares
            Illegal immigration
            Towards more transparency
            Climate change: wide-ranging EU measures to fight global warming
            Working time: 48 hours a week maximum




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     REACH: reducing chemical risks without penalising industry

     Ambitious legislation on chemicals, placing the onus on industry to show that its products are
     safe, was passed by Parliament in December 2006. The "REACH" (Registration, Evaluation and
     Authorisation of CHemicals) regulation requires the registration of some 30,000 of the 100,000
     chemical substances on the market. The legislation aims to increase the safety of chemical
     products and promote alternatives to animal testing, while enhancing competitiveness and
     facilitating trade. When it entered into force in June 2007, it replaced some 40 previous laws.

     During three years' debate with the European Commission and Member States, Parliament made
     important changes to the draft regulations, which include an obligation to replace the most hazardous
     substances with safer alternatives where these exist, a manufacturer's "duty of care" for health and the
     environment, and a requirement to promote alternatives to animal testing.

     The REACH regulation, formally proposed by the Commission on 29 October 2003, replaces some 40
     previous pieces of legislation. It aims to gather more information on the safety or otherwise of around
     30,000 substances first placed on the market before 1981 (since when formal applications for
     authorisation have been required) and manufactured or imported in quantities of over one tonne per year.

     Public health vs. chemical industry competitiveness

     Modern society cannot do without chemicals and the industry is crucial to the EU economy. But chemical
     production and use may also pose risks to health and the environment. Chemicals are thought to be at
     least partly to blame for the rise in ailments such as allergies, asthma, some forms of cancer and
     reproductive problems. But information is inadequate, because in many cases, insufficient research has
     been done.

     The most controversial question in long and intensive debates in Parliament was how to balance
     protecting public health and the environment with safeguarding chemical industry competitiveness. At the
     outset, views differed markedly between political groups and committees, particularly on registration and
     authorisation requirements. Compromise amendments were gradually hammered out to win the backing
     of a majority in Parliament.




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The Helsinki-based European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), started work in June 2007 and has been able
to accept registrations since 1 June 2008.

Registration and safety reports

The approved text requires EU manufacturers and importers of chemicals produced or imported in
quantities over one tonne per year to demonstrate their safety with evidence in a registration dossier
submitted to the European Chemicals Agency. Failure to register will mean the substance must not be
imported or manufactured in the EU.

MEPs and the Council finally agreed to reduce information requirements for the registration of substances
produced in quantities of less than 10 tonnes per year. For quantities over and above 10 tonnes per year,
a Chemical Safety Report is also required to document the safety assessment of the substance. Such a
report is not needed for lesser quantities.

Authorisation of hazardous substances

REACH also requires authorisation of substances rated as being “of very high concern”. This
authorisation was one of the most controversial issues in Parliament, whose compromise restores
environment and health protection to the heart of the system by limiting the duration of authorisations for
the most hazardous substances and requiring that they be replaced with safer alternatives as these
become available.

It is estimated that of the 30 000 substances to be registered with REACH around 3 000 are considered
hazardous and hence are subject to the strict authorisation procedure – with no guarantee that they will
be able to remain on the market. Hazardous substance manufacturers are required to submit plans to
replace them with safer alternatives. Where no alternative exists, manufacturers must present a research
plan to find one.

The most hazardous and largest volume chemicals must be registered by 1 December 2010, while safer
and lower-volume ones may wait until 1 June 2013 or 1 June 2018 − depending on the degree of risk and
annual production volumes.

Burden of proof

REACH transfers the burden of proof (i.e. testing and evaluating chemicals to establish their safety) from
the authorities to industry. The old regulatory structure had failed to assess the estimated 100 000
chemicals already on the market. Over 20-25 years about 140 had been identified as needing a full risk
assessment; of those, only 40 had been studied.

Duty of care and animal testing

At Parliament's request, the regulation also imposes a "duty of care" on manufacturers to ensure that
human health and the environment are not adversely affected and to inform the public of dangers. It also
includes safeguards for confidential information and provisions to prevent the duplication of animal
testing. Promoting alternatives to testing chemicals on animals was a prime concern for MEPs, and is
now a REACH goal.

Its ambition, scope and technical complexity made REACH one of the most substantial pieces of
legislation ever examined by the European Parliament. No fewer than 10 parliamentary committees were
involved and the text, which exceeded 1,000 pages at first reading in November 2005, was still 750 pages
long at the end.
     CIA activities in Europe: European Parliament denounces secretiveness of some
     Member States


     Over one thousand CIA flights used European airspace and secret detention facilities may have
     been located at US military bases in Europe, according to the European Parliament’s Temporary
     Committee on CIA activities. Its final report, adopted in 2007, deplores the passivity of some
     Member States in the face of illegal CIA operations and also the Council’s lack of cooperation.

     According to the Temporary Committee’s final report, adopted by Parliament on 14 February 2007,
     certain European countries have been ‘turning a blind eye’ to flights operated by the CIA which ‘on some
     occasions were being used for extraordinary rendition or the illegal transportation of detainees’.

     The report highlights that ‘secret detention facilities in European countries may have been located at US
     military bases’ and that ‘there may have been a lack of control’ over these bases by host European
     countries.

     With the above in mind, Parliament asked the Council to ‘put pressure on all the governments concerned
     to give full and thorough information to the Council and the Commission and, where necessary, to start
     hearings and commission an independent investigation without delay’.

     Subsequently, in the absence of any response from the governments concerned, the Members of
     Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, responsible for following up this
     matter, set up a working group for this purpose., chaired by Carlos Coelho (EPP-ED, PT) and Claudio
     Fava (PES, IT), respectively the former chairman and rapporteur of the Temporary Committee.

     This group proposed to the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs that the Member State
     parliaments be contacted directly in order to find out whether any new information had come to light in the
     meantime. This consultation is still ongoing.

     CIA flights

     ‘At least 1 245 flights operated by the CIA flew into European airspace or stopped over at European
     airports between the end of 2001 and the end of 2005’, although, as emphasised by MEPs, ‘not all those
     flights were used for extraordinary rendition’.

     In their report, MEPs mention 21 well-documented cases of extraordinary rendition in which victims were
     transported via a European country or were residents in a Member State at the time of their kidnapping.
     With this in mind, the report ‘calls on European countries to compensate the innocent victims of
     extraordinary rendition’.




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Parliament therefore condemned these renditions ‘as an illegal instrument used by the United States in
the fight against terrorism’ and also ‘the acceptance and concealing of the practice, on several occasions,
by the secret services and governmental authorities of certain European countries’. As a result, MEPs
called on the Council and the Member States ‘to issue a clear and forceful declaration calling on the US
Government to put an end to the practice of extraordinary arrests and renditions’.

Use of torture

The report notes that the renditions analysed by the Temporary Committee in the majority of cases
involved incommunicado detention and torture during interrogation, as confirmed by the victims – or their
lawyers – who gave testimony to Parliament’s Temporary Committee on the CIA’s illegal activities in
Europe. According to the testimony of the former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Mr Craig Murray, the
sharing of intelligence obtained under torture by third countries’ secret services with the British secret
services was a practice known and tolerated by the UK Government.

In light of the available evidence, MEPs note that there is a ‘strong possibility that some European
countries may have received [...] information obtained under torture’.

Reluctance to cooperate

MEPs also regretted ‘the lack of cooperation of many Member States’ and of the Council of the European
Union towards the Temporary Committee and explained that ‘the serious lack of concrete answers to the
questions raised by victims, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the media and parliamentarians
has only served to strengthen the validity of already well-documented allegations’. The Council, they
explained, had initially withheld and then supplied only piecemeal information on the regular discussions
held with senior US officials. The report qualifies this attitude as ‘wholly unacceptable’. According to the
report, such ‘shortcomings’ of the Council ‘implicate all Member State governments since they have
collective responsibility as members of the Council’. As highlighted by MEPs in the report, the ‘principle of
loyal cooperation enshrined in the Treaties – which requires Member States and the EU institutions to
take measures to ensure the fulfilment of their obligations under the Treaties, such as the respect for
human rights, ... has not been respected’.

The national governments specifically criticised for their unwillingness to cooperate with Parliament’s
investigators were those of Austria, Italy, Poland, Portugal and the United Kingdom. The report also gives
detailed evidence of investigations of illegal rendition or CIA flight cases involving Bosnia, Cyprus,
Denmark, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Germany, Greece, Ireland, Romania,
Spain, Sweden and Turkey.
     Liberalising services without touching the European social model: mission
     accomplished for the EP


     As from the end of 2009, service providers – from travel agents to office maintenance staff – will
     be able to pursue their occupation anywhere in the EU thanks to the entry into force of one of the
     most important texts dealt with by the European Parliament over the past few years. The ‘Services
     Directive’, proposed by Commissioner Bolkestein in 2004, had aroused deep concern throughout
     the EU until it was completely rewritten by the EP, ultimately achieving an acceptable result.

     The aim of this directive is to realise the fourth fundamental freedom underpinning European integration,
     after the free movement of persons, goods and capital, without lowering the social standards of the
     Member States. The difficulty of the issue at hand was to balance the interests of consumers, workers
     and service providers, against a background of conflict between advocates of liberalisation and defenders
     of social standards. However, Parliament eventually managed to resolve this dilemma. After protracted,
     difficult discussions, its political groups managed to reach a compromise which was accepted by
     governments.

     The tertiary sector accounts for almost two-thirds of the EU economy. But in order to benefit from this
     market, it had to become more competitive and open. The proposal for a directive on services, as
     presented by the Commission in early 2004, had caused so much controversy as to affect the French
     rejection of the Constitution. The main issue in question was the ‘country of origin principle’, which would
     have allowed service providers to operate in another Member State under the same conditions as in their
     country of origin. In the European Parliament, as in EU public opinion, some feared that this would pave
     the way to unhealthy competition between Member States, and social dumping, while others stressed the
     need to facilitate the free movement of workers and improve the sector’s competitiveness. While the
     Member States’ representatives were deeply divided in the Council, MEPs managed to overcome their
     differences of opinion, eventually securing a directive which would allow the internal services market to
     open up more widely to cross-border competition whilst protecting the European social model.

     Parliament redresses the balance between the economy and social rights

     In Parliament, for over a year and a half, various solutions were considered by at least ten parliamentary
     committees in order to make the text more consensual. The debate – at times very heated – ended in
     February 2006 with an agreement between Parliament’s largest political groups – the PPE and the PSE.

     Following this first reading in plenary, the text explicitly specified that the directive would have no effect on
     labour law in the Member States, nor on working or employment conditions or contractual relations
     between employer and employee, be they based on national law or on collective agreements. The key
     parts of this compromise were subsequently accepted by the Member States and confirmed by a large
     majority of Parliament at second reading in November 2006. The GUE/NGL Group, the Greens/Efa and
     the French PES Members opposed the directive.




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Provision of services made easier, with certain safeguards

The directive, which should be applied throughout the EU by 28 December 2009 at the latest, should
make it significantly easier for a service provider to set up business in another Member State. For
example, a company which wants to manage a hotel in another EU country will no longer have to deal
with several different authorities (national, regional or local), but with a single ‘one-stop shop’ for all
administrative formalities.

The directive explicitly prohibits any restrictions on the freedom to provide services. It will therefore be
easier than before to provide services temporarily in another EU country. For instance, countries will no
longer be able to demand that a mountain guide must become a resident of the country in which he
wishes to temporarily pursue his occupation. However, temporary providers will be subject to the labour
and social laws of the country in which they are working. Moreover, the directive will affect neither the
labour law nor the collective rights which workers in the Member States currently enjoy.

Services excluded

A number of services have been excluded from the scope of the directive, such as services of non-
economic general interest, certain social services or services that are already covered by sectoral
legislation (audiovisual, financial or transport services). As regards the issue of services of general
interest, the Treaty of Lisbon, currently under ratification, addresses this issue to some extent, in that it
recognises the specific characteristics of those services. However, some Members regret the
Commission’s decision not to submit a proposal on this topic. The issue therefore remains open.

With regard to health services, also not covered by the directive, Parliament is currently working on the
Commission proposal of July 2008 on patients’ cross-border healthcare rights. The aim is to facilitate the
reimbursement of medical services provided in another Member State. Here too, a balance must be
struck between social and market interests on the one hand and Community and national competences
on the other.
     EU-wide rail services: more choice and clearer rights for passengers

     From January 2010, train passengers travelling from one EU country to another can expect to see
     more rail companies competing on these international connections. In September 2007, the
     European Parliament adopted legislation to enable Europe's railway companies to compete
     across borders, to guarantee basic passenger rights and to ensure that train drivers are fully
     qualified.

     After three years' arduous negotiations among MEPs and between Parliament and the Council of
     transport ministers on three related pieces of legislation, Parliament advocated more cross-border
     competition, and also won a set of basic rights for rail users, including compensation for delays to
     international services. A decision on whether to open up Member States' domestic rail networks to
     competition from abroad as well is to be taken later, in the light of market developments.

     Freedom to supply international rail services

     From 2010, operators will be free to supply international rail passenger services across borders within the
     EU (so Thalys and Eurostar could get competitors), passengers on all lines will be entitled to minimum
     service quality standards and a European licence will qualify train drivers to use any EU Member State's
     network.

     The European Commission will review how the rules are going in 2012, and assess then whether to
     propose extending liberalisation to domestic networks.

     Although international passenger rail services will be opened to cross-border competition, domestic ones
     will not. In a vote in second reading in January 2007, the full Parliament rejected the advice of its
     Transport Committee and decided not to set a date for the liberalisation of national rail services.

     Passenger rights

     From 2009, when the EU passenger rights regulation takes effect, all rail passengers, international and
     domestic, will have basic rights, such as company liability for luggage and on transport for people with
     reduced mobility. These rights were originally proposed only for international passengers, but, after tough
     negotiations with the Council, MEPs succeeded in also extending them to domestic ones.

     Compensation rules

     The regulation lays down ground rules for protecting rail passenger rights similar to EU arrangements
     already in place for air passengers.

     On the railways, compensation for delays for which the railway company is responsible on cross-border
     services will be 25% of the fare for a delay of one hour or more and 50% for a delay of two hours or more.




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If the delay exceeds one hour, and with certain restrictions on practicality, passengers must also be
offered free refreshments and, if needed, hotel accommodation or transport from a stranded train.

Eventually, these rules will also apply to all intercity services. However, Member States may exclude
domestic services from the compensation rules for up to 15 years and urban, suburban and regional
services indefinitely. Rapporteur Dirk Sterckx (ALDE, BE) was happy to have "made a difference where it
mattered, not between international and national traffic, but between long-distance and local traffic."

Easier access for disabled people and cyclists

Companies must facilitate access to stations and platforms for people with disabilities or with reduced
mobility, and remove all obstacles to getting on, off, or remaining on board. In unstaffed stations,
companies "must take all reasonable measures" to ensure their access to rail transport.

Passengers must also be permitted to take bicycles on trains, provided that the rolling stock permits it.

EU train driver's licence

All train drivers will have to hold a certificate showing that they meet minimum educational and fitness
requirements and professional skills. This should enhance safety on EU railways, while making it easier
for train drivers to work in another EU country. These requirements will not apply to other train staff at
first, but MEPs won an undertaking that the Commission will look into this within one year of the
directive's entry into force and, if necessary, present a new proposal to include staff performing safety-
critical tasks.

Safety and interoperability

To be able to cross a border, trains must meet the safety rules of Member States on both sides. These
rules sometimes conflict − e.g. in Italy fire extinguishers on trains must contain CO2 powder and no foam,
while Austria requires the reverse. Rail companies wanting to supply international services have
traditionally had to undergo approval procedures for their rolling stock in each Member State which can
take years.

In July 2008, Parliament approved an agreement with the Council of Ministers on EU-wide approval of
different types of rolling stock, which will amend the Rail safety Directive (2004/49/EC) to ensure that any
rolling stock already approved for use in one Member State must be accepted in the others. This would
cut red tape and should accelerate the growth of rail transport in Europe. Some additional national safety
requirements will still be possible, but within clearly defined limits.

Further to a request from MEPs, heritage, museum and tourist railways will be exempted from the
directive.
     When Parliament rejects…
     The European Parliament can go further than amending proposed laws with which it finds fault. If
     a proposal is completely unacceptable and there is no prospect of making satisfactory
     improvements, it can be thrown out altogether. In 2004-2009, for example, Parliament rejected
     outright two important legislative proposals: the so-called “software patents directive” and plans
     to liberalise port services.

     No directive on software patents

     In July 2005, the European Parliament almost unanimously rejected, what had become known as the
     "software patents directive", ending three years of passionate debate.

     If adopted, this directive would have allowed patenting of computer-implemented inventions (CIIs), i.e.
     those that use a computer, a computer network or similar equipment.

     Under the European Patent Convention (which is not an EU law – it covers a wider area), a patent may
     be granted only if an invention is new, involves an inventive step and is capable of industrial application.
     Granting patents for computer programmes (i.e. software) is expressly ruled out – they are instead
     protected by copyright. But thousands of patents for inventions that use software have been issued by the
     European Patent Office (EPO – not an EU body, it was created under the EPC) and national offices.

     An example is a patent granted for a method of detecting whether an antilock brake system is functioning
     properly. In this case, the software is deemed to make a "technical contribution" and is thus patentable
     under EPO practice. In that case, the patent protects both the invention (the brake control system), and
     the software involved.

     In practice there has been wide variation in the ways in which national patent offices interpret there rules,
     and in how national authorities interpret EPO patents in this field. The European Commission proposed
     an EU directive to specify more clearly what was and was not patentable.

     Big software firms vs. open source?

     There was intense lobbying of Parliament on this issue. One side, principally representing larger software
     firms, argued that making CIIs patentable in Europe would encourage research spending and protect
     European inventions from unfair competition, particularly from the US, where it is often easier to obtain
     patents on similar inventions. But some smaller companies and activists supporting the use of open-
     source software argued instead that software inventions are already protected by copyrights and that CII
     patenting could raise legal costs and force them off the market.

     MEPs listened to both sides. Most Socialist, Greens/EFA and GUE/NGL MEPs wanted a narrower focus
     for patents to allow more room for open-source innovation whereas EPP-ED, ALDE, UEN and IND/DEM
     MEPs felt the directive would help firms, including smaller ones, to benefit from their inventions and
     should go ahead with some clarifications and safeguards.



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First reading vote and developments in Commission and Council

At Parliament's first reading (which took place before the 2004 election) a majority of MEPs decided that
the Commission's draft directive was insufficiently clear on the question of what constituted a "technical
contribution".

Parliament adopted amendments to ensure that computer programs as such could not be patented. Other
amendments sought to protect small businesses, including a call for the Commission to monitor the
directive's impact on them.

After the 2004 elections, the new Parliament requested that the Commission withdraw its proposal and
start afresh, but the Commission did not do so, arguing that the Council was on the point of adopting its
position, which would put the ball back in Parliament’s court in any case.

The Council did indeed adopt a common position (which was unacceptable to either side of the argument
in Parliament) one in which the crucial technical definitions as to what was and was not patentable. Some
argued that it went too far in restricting what could be patented compared to current practice in patent
offices, while others, on the contrary, saw the definitions as allowing software patents by another name.

No directive on port services

In January 2006, Parliament rejected − by 532 votes to 120 with 25 abstentions − a proposed port
services directive, which the Commission had said sought to "modernise ports and increase their work
volumes", open up port services (such as loading and unloading ships) to competition in line with the EU
Treaty, and reduce congestion on the roads, while protecting safety, jobs and social security.

Cargo handling employs thousands in the EU, particularly in the Netherlands, Belgium, France
and the UK.

This rejection concluded a lengthy debate, started by a Commission discussion paper in 1997, between
those arguing that more competition among ports was needed to boost growth and jobs, and those who
believed that liberalisation would lead to widespread job losses (among dockers) and a deterioration in
working conditions and safety (e.g. for sailors who would be required to load or unload ships, rather than
dockers, so called “self-handling”).

A demonstration of dockers outside Parliament's Strasbourg premises led to violence from a minority.

Faced with this rejection, the Commission withdrew its proposal.

Second time around

During the previous parliamentary term, MEPs had already rejected an earlier proposal along similar
lines, in November 2003, when the most controversial issue in a deal almost struck after talks with
Transport Council Ministers was a compromise on "self-handling".

Following this first rejection, the Commission did not simply drop the issue, as might have been expected.
Instead, it brought forward a new draft directive on access to the port services market, without first
consulting stakeholders. Its failure to take account of Parliament's original vote and the lack of dialogue
with those working in the industry caused disappointment among MEPs. This goes some way to
explaining the very large majority voting to reject the proposal a second time.
     Roaming: Parliament cuts cost of using mobile phones abroad

     By adopting the EU's mobile roaming regulation in May 2007, the European Parliament cut the
     cost of making and receiving mobile telephone calls while abroad in the EU for at least 140 million
     users. The new law came into force on 30 June 2007. MEPs are currently considering similar price
     caps for text messages and other data roaming services such as multimedia messages or mobile
     internet.

     In May 2007 MEPs backed by an overwhelming majority a first-reading compromise agreement, obtained
     by Parliament after intense negotiations with the Council, which put price caps on charges for using a
     mobile phone while abroad − otherwise known as mobile "roaming".

     Mobile phone users "roam" when they make or receive a call abroad while transferred onto a foreign
     "host" operator's network. Instead of sending the customer a bill, the host operator charges the user's
     home operator, using a "wholesale" rate agreed by the two companies. The home operator then recovers
     the cost, either via a charge that appears on the user’s next bill or by deducting the amount from his/her
     credit.

     Before the roaming regulation entered into force, a roaming call cost the user an average €1.15 per
     minute − five times the actual cost of providing "wholesale" services. The intention was not to fix roaming
     prices at rates set by the EU, but to set a ceiling beneath which mobile operators could compete by
     offering lower prices and still earn a reasonable return.

     Eurotariff caps calling rates at €0.46 per minute – and lower from summer 09

     The roaming regulation enables consumers to benefit from a so-called Eurotariff price cap. Home
     operators may now charge their customers a maximum of €0.46 per minute (excluding VAT) for outgoing
     roaming calls and a maximum of €0.22 per minute (excluding VAT) for incoming ones. These retail price
     caps are being lowered further (to €0.43 and €0.19 respectively) from summer 2009.

     The average "wholesale" charge an operator abroad can make to a roaming customer's home operator
     for providing roaming calls is currently capped at €0.28 per minute and will decrease to €0.26 in 2009.

     Eurotariff by default and automatic tariff information when crossing the border

     MEPs went for the "opt-out" model which ensures that the Eurotariff applies by default − unless the
     customer chooses otherwise. The regulation also requires home operators to provide their customers with
     "basic personalised pricing information on the roaming charges (including VAT)" to outgoing and
     incoming roaming calls as soon as they cross a border. It was felt that if users had to "opt-in" to benefit
     from the Eurotariff, many would have failed to do so, as operators had little incentive to advertise it.




EN   Press Service


                                                                                      www.elections2009.eu
Coming soon: Eurotariff for the years beyond 2010?

The Commission's 2008 review of the current roaming regulation, which expires by 2010, concluded that
competition between operators was not yet strong enough, as prices for roaming calls do not yet vary
sufficiently below the maximum levels. Parliament's Industry Committee is therefore now working on a
Commission proposal of September 2008 for a new law setting roaming call price caps for 2010 to 2013.

Per-minute billing creates hidden costs

While working on the new roaming regulation, MEPs will also look at operators' billing practices, which
sometimes include charging per minute rather than per second. This adds hidden costs to roaming calls.

Cutting costs of text messages and mobile internet browsing

Further EU action is expected to deal with the retail charges paid by users for text messages (short
message services − SMS) as well as wholesale charges for further data roaming services such as
multimedia messages (MMS) or internet browsing from mobile phones and laptop devices. At present,
fees charged for roaming texts can be ten times higher than for domestic messages. Belgian travellers,
for example, pay up to € 0.75 per SMS when abroad. The current prices for data roaming services range
from € 5 to € 10 per megabyte, according to a Commission study of June 2008 (see link below).

Next steps
Parliament's Industry Committee voted on the new roaming proposal on 9 March 2009, so the plenary
vote will take place in April 2009.
     All-inclusive air fares

     As of 1 November 2008, air travellers can be certain that the price they are quoted for a plane
     ticket will be the price that they actually need to pay. Thanks to an EU regulation amended by
     Parliament in July 2008, air fares as displayed on internet sites and elsewhere must include all
     taxes, fees and charges added to the basic ticket price and known at the time of publication.

     The price you pay

     All-inclusiveness was introduced in amendments adopted by Parliament. The regulation should put an
     end to misleading offers, such as adverts for flights supposedly costing 1 or 2 euros, but which by the end
     of the booking procedure turn out to cost much more. Internet booking − often the only possibility with
     low-cost air carriers − is a particular concern. Under the new EU regulation, all carriers must now provide
     the general public with comprehensive information on air fares, "including on the Internet". Air fares that
     are "addressed directly to the travelling public" must include all applicable taxes, non-avoidable charges,
     surcharges and fees known at the time of publication.

     Info required

     The following information, at least, must be specified: air fare or air rate, taxes, airport charges and other
     charges, surcharges or fees, such as those related to security or fuel. Optional price supplements − e.g.
     for additional luggage − must be communicated in a clear, transparent and unambiguous way at the start
     of any booking procedure and consumers must "opt in" to them − i.e. give their explicit consent.

     Parliament also broadened the scope of pricing transparency to include all flights departing from
     Community airports (regardless of destination).

     Security taxes and charges

     With security charges on the rise, MEPs amended the proposals to ensure that the consumer has a right
     to know how high these costs are, and what they are used for. Where airport or on-board security costs
     are included in the price of an air ticket, these costs will have to be shown separately on the ticket or
     otherwise indicated to the passenger. And, security taxes and charges, whether levied by the Member
     States or by air carriers or other entities, must be transparent and be used exclusively to meet airport or
     onboard aircraft security costs.




EN   Press Service


                                                                                         www.elections2009.eu
Part of a package

The all-inclusive air fares rules were part of a wider "third liberalisation package" to increase market
efficiency, enhance the safety of air services and improve passenger protection. The regulation lays down
rules for, inter alia, operating licences, leasing of aircraft, public service obligations, traffic distribution and
price transparency.
     Illegal immigration: European Parliament lays down common standards on
     expulsion


     By adopting the 'return' Directive in June 2008 the European Parliament took a major step towards
     a European immigration policy. The Directive, which will apply with effect from 2011, encourages
     the voluntary return of illegal immigrants and lays down minimum standards for detention periods
     and re-entry bans. It also provides a number of legal safeguards and allows the Member States to
     apply more generous rules.

     Parliament's vote opened the way to agreement at first reading. By adopting a package of amendments
     negotiated with the Council of Ministers, Members sought to prevent States applying harsher standards
     than those of the EU to illegal immigrants, while allowing them to keep or adopt more generous
     standards. The Directive applies only once a deportation decision has been taken and leaves each
     Member State the power to decide whether to regularise its illegal immigrants or not. During the vote,
     following a lively debate, the EPP-ED and UEN Groups supported the proposal in their entirety, while the
     Greens and the GUE/NGL Group voted against. The votes by the PES, ALDE and IND/DEM Groups split
     on the basis of national affinities.

     Encouraging 'voluntary return'

     The political compromise introduces a two-step approach: the deportation decision triggers a 'voluntary
     return period' (of between seven and 30 days), which may be followed by a 'removal order', i.e. expulsion.
     If this is issued by a judicial authority and if it is believed that the individual in question might abscond, the
     person can be placed in a closed centre by a judicial or administrative decision. The Directive lays down a
     maximum detention period – this is currently unlimited in some Member States – and establishes
     standards for the living conditions which must be ensured; these include the right to medical assistance
     and to education for children.

     If a person is expelled following the expiry of the 'voluntary return period' he or she may be subject to a
     're-entry ban', during which the individual may not re-enter the territory of the European Union.

     Six-month detention period, with possible 12-month extension

     The detention period is a maximum of six months, although this can be extended by a further 12 months
     in certain cases. There is a re-entry ban of five years maximum if the person is deported after the
     'voluntary return period' has expired, or longer if the individual represents a 'serious' threat to public
     safety. However, Member States retain the right to waive, cancel or suspend such bans.




EN   Press Service


                                                                                            www.elections2009.eu
If a person is placed in custody following an administrative decision, this decision must be approved by
the courts 'as speedily as possible' – the original proposal required a court order within 72 hours, while
the EP Civil Liberties Committee wanted 48 hours. A PES amendment seeking to restore the deadline of
72 hours was rejected.

Children and families to be detained only 'as a last resort'

Finally, the Directive addresses the situation of children and families: they must not be subject to coercive
measures and can only be held in custody as a last resort. Unaccompanied minors may only be deported
if they can be returned to their family or to reception facilities upon arrival.

Emergency situations

An article inserted by the Council also provides for greater flexibility for the authorities in 'emergency
situations'. If an 'exceptionally large number' of third-country nationals places 'an unforeseen heavy
burden' on the administrative or judicial capacity of a Member State, court orders may be postponed and
less favourable detention conditions may apply.

Member States must also take account of the situation of the individual's country of origin, under the
principle of non-refoulement (which states that no state may send a refugee to a country where his/her life
or liberty may be endangered). Following a recent ruling by the Court of Justice, the European
Parliament will in future decide jointly with the Council (under co-decision) which countries are deemed
'safe'.

Legal aid subject to the terms of the 'procedure' Directive

The Directive provides for legal aid to be granted to illegal immigrants who have no resources, in
accordance with relevant national legislation and the 'procedure' Directive of 2005 on aid to asylum
seekers.

The Community return fund, set up for the period 2008-2013, may also be used to finance legal aid.

The European return fund, set up for the period 2008-2013 with funding of € 676 million, may be used to
fund legal aid for illegal immigrants. The use of the fund was suspended pending the adoption of the
'return' Directive.
     Towards more transparency − a reformed Parliament from 2009

     Reforms to make European Parliament elections, working methods and pay easier for citizens to
     understand are being made ahead of the June 2009 elections. European political parties will get
     new EU campaign funding, common rules will put an end to wide national disparities in MEPs'
     pay, and lobbyists' access to MEPs is to be made subject to new requirements, such as financial
     disclosure and being listed in a mandatory public register.

     Making European elections more European

     In November 2007, Parliament backed a Commission proposal to allow European political parties to fund
     campaign activities for the June 2009 European elections, so as to make elections to the European
     Parliament more specifically European in character.

     The new legislation improves the financial stability of European parties, by allowing them to save some
     funds from one year to use the next, and so facilitates their long-term planning. It also permits the
     creation of European political foundations, which complement the aims of political parties at European
     level, e.g. by contributing to public policy debates, supporting seminars, training and conferences, and
     providing forums for national political foundations and academics to work together.

     European political parties receive total EU public funding of about €10 million per year, via the European
     Parliament. The EU's 2008 budget also includes a total of €5 million for the new political foundations.
     There are currently (2008) ten European political parties receiving funding from Parliament:

            European People's Party (EPP)
            Party of European Socialists (PES)
            European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party (ELDR)
            European Federation of Green Parties (EFGP)
            Party of the European Left (EL)
            European Democratic Party (PDE/EDP)
            Alliance for Europe of the Nations (AEN)
            Alliance des Démocrates Indépendants en Europe (ADIE)
            European Free Alliance (EFA)
            EU Democrats (EUD)




EN   Press Service


                                                                                      www.elections2009.eu
These European political parties are not the same as the seven political groups within Parliament itself:
the political groups for the most part include MEPs affiliated to more than one European party via their
national party membership. Even so, since national parties are affiliated to European political parties with
whom they share a common vision and MEPs join a political group on a similar basis, it is no surprise that
there is a large overlap in membership between the groups and the European parties.

No funding of national parties

To enhance political debate at EU level with a view to the European Parliament's 2009 elections,
Parliament welcomed a Commission proposal to allow European political parties to use their money to
finance campaign activities for European elections.

Parliament also endorses the general principle that in no circumstances should these funds constitute
direct or indirect financing of other parties and particularly of national parties and candidates.

The funds allocated to the ten EU parties eligible for funding in 2009 are set out in Parliament's section of
the EU's 2009 budget (line 402, chapter 40, title IV section I (Parliament) – see the link below. These
funds are controlled and managed by Parliament.

Foundations

The new Regulation on the statute and financing of European political parties introduced a new legal
basis for establishing European political foundations. It says that foundations must be formally associated
with an existing European party in order to access funding - a foundation may receive funds only by
applying through the political party to which it is affiliated.

This funding is directed only to the European political parties, and not to the political groups in Parliament
itself.

Parliament's working methods reformed

The efficiency and transparency of Parliament's work is already being improved by changes to the
procedures used in its plenary sessions, committee meetings and foreign delegations.

In October 2007, the Conference of Presidents of political groups in Parliament unanimously adopted
recommendations made by a working party on parliamentary reform, in order to make Parliament's work
more efficient and more attractive to a wider public.

The first set of measures covered five areas: agenda-setting and the organisation of plenary activities;
priority-setting and the format of annual debates; the organisation of debates, the organisation of votes
and the treatment of amendments; meetings held in parallel and the Chamber seating plan.

The plenary agenda is now divided into clear sections: major legislative items are grouped on Tuesday,
the week's priority debate is held on Wednesday morning and Wednesday afternoon is devoted to items
of topical political interest.

Parliament's rapporteurs have been given more speaking time, and also the last word, in plenary
legislative debates. To enable MEPs not on the speaking list to take part in discussion, each debate
includes a five-minute "catch-the-eye" session, during which they can ask the chairperson to give them
the floor.

These changes have been in effect since the beginning of 2008.
     A common salary for MEPs

     A single Statute for Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) was approved in June 2005 by an
     overwhelming majority.

     From June 2009, all MEPs are to earn around €7,665 a month, thus ending the wide pay disparities that
     result from the current system of MEPs earning the same as national MPs in their home countries. The
     rules set MEPs’ salaries as 38.5% of the salary of a European Court of Justice judge.

     MEPs will pay income tax to the EU budget, though Member States also retain an option to apply in
     addition taxation up to the level of national rates.

     The agreement allows for a transition period during which, for MEPs elected by its citizens, each Member
     State may continue to apply different rules from those of the Statute. Current MEPs who are re-elected
     may also opt to continue their existing national arrangements.

     More transparency on expenses and pensions

     The new Statute will also change the way in which MEPs' travel expenses are refunded: rather than a flat-
     rate tariff, reimbursements will reflect only the costs actually incurred.

     MEPs will also join a common pension scheme, with contributions paid by Parliament. All payments from
     Parliament's budget to MEPs are made monthly in euro or, (at the MEP's request), in the currency of the
     Member State where he or she is domiciled.

     New rules on assistants' pay

     New rules on MEPs' allowances for paying assistants will also take effect for the new Parliament, to
     address weaknesses identified in the system.

     From June 2009, the contracts of MEPs' assistants working in the Member States will be managed by
     certified paying agents, specialising in fiscal and social security aspects of employment contracts, who
     will be responsible for compliance with the relevant national social security and tax provisions. It will be
     possible for an MEP to use up to 25% of the parliamentary assistance allowance for services such as
     research studies or other advisory work.

     Brussels-based assistants, meanwhile, will be covered by a new addition to the statute which covers EU
     officials and other employees. The contracts of and salary payments to the assistants will be handled by
     Parliament's services, but the MEPs will be entirely free in their choice of assistants, the tasks to be
     assigned to them and the duration of the labour contracts.

     The EP has also decided that in future, MEPs may not employ close family members as their assistants.

     Mandatory public register of lobbyists

     A mandatory public register of lobbyists, common to the Council, Commission and Parliament and
     providing for "full financial disclosure", was proposed by the European Parliament in May 2008. Lobbyists
     would need to register only once to have access to Parliament, the Commission and the Council. The
     three institutions have set up a joint working group to prepare a proposal on the common register as soon
     as possible.




EN   Press Service


                                                                                       www.elections2009.eu
"Full financial disclosure" and sanctions

According to the May 2008 resolution, lobbyists would have to abide by a code of conduct, and could lose
their accreditation if they break the rules.

Moreover, MEPs suggested that the register should include "full financial disclosure" by lobbyists.
Professional consultancies and law firms in particular would have to disclose the relative weight of their
major clients and the costs associated with lobbying. NGOs and think tanks would be required to state
their overall budgets and main sources of funding.

In November 2008, a second inter-institutional working group of Parliament and Commission
representatives started working on specific proposals on the code of conduct, the sanctions and the
extent of financial disclosure required.
     Climate change: wide-ranging EU measures to fight global warming

     The world's first comprehensive set of measures to limit global warming was adopted by the EU in
     December 2008, when new EU climate and energy laws to cut greenhouse gas emissions from cars,
     industrial installations and power plants and to promote renewable energies were amended and approved
     by MEPs.

     Parliament thus put the EU on course to achieve its climate change reduction targets by 2020: a 20% cut
     in greenhouse gas emissions, a 20% improvement in energy efficiency, and a 20% share of renewables
     in the EU's energy mix. The EU is the first region in the world to set such far-reaching and legally binding
     targets for all sectors of the economy. The EU has also undertaken to go further and cut greenhouse gas
     (GHG) emissions by 30%, provided an ambitious international agreement is reached in Copenhagen by
     the end of 2009.

     The package, adopted by a large majority in Parliament at the first reading after intense negotiations with
     the Council of Ministers, includes a revision of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), Member States'
     targets for CO2 reductions in sectors not covered by the ETS, a legal framework for environmentally-safe
     carbon capture and storage (CCS), binding targets for the use of renewable energy and a regulation on
     CO2 emissions from cars.

     EU-wide emission trading from 2013

     The revised EU Emission Trading System (ETS), to apply from 2013 to 2020, aims to reduce greenhouse
     gas emissions by 21% from 2005 levels. The ETS is a "cap and trade" system: it caps the overall level of
     emissions allowed but, within that limit, participants may buy and sell allowances to meet their needs, so
     as to cut emission costs effectively. The Community-wide quantity of allowances issued each year will
     decrease in linear fashion, so as gradually to reduce the overall level of emissions each year.

     The ETS currently covers over 10,000 energy and industrial installations, which collectively account for
     almost half of the EU's total CO2 emissions and for 40% of its total GHG emissions (the remaining 60% is
     covered by a "non-ETS" effort-sharing decision). The aviation sector will be brought into the system from
     2012, as agreed between the European Parliament and Council in July 2008.

     In the first and second ETS trading periods (2005-2012) the great majority of allowances were allocated
     free of charge. The revised directive provides in principle for allowances to be auctioned from 2013, but
     nonetheless includes several exceptions, as advocated by the European Council on 12 December 2008.




EN   Press Service


                                                                                       www.elections2009.eu
Transitional exceptions are possible for electricity generation, essentially for the new EU Member States
and subject to certain conditions. Several MEPs had feared that introducing full auctioning from 2013 in
the power sector could increase electricity prices.

Exceptions to the full auctioning principle are also possible for manufacturing sectors at serious risk of
"carbon leakage" - that is the relocation of production to third countries with a less strict climate policy,
leading to increased CO2 emissions by these countries.

Effort sharing: Member States' targets for CO2 reduction

The "effort-sharing" decision, a world first, sets binding national targets for each EU Member State to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions in sectors not covered by the ETS (e.g. road and sea transport,
buildings, services, agriculture and smaller industrial installations). These sources currently account for
about 60% of all EU GHG emissions. The decision aims to cut these emissions by 10% between 2013
and 2020.

The decision will allow Member States to "offset" emissions, i.e. to buy credits resulting from projects in
third countries under the UN's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), as a means of complying with their
GHG emission limits.

Power plants and industrial installations may store CO2 underground

Industrial installations and power plants may in future use new technology to cut their emissions of CO 2,
by capturing and storing it permanently and safely underground. To encourage use of carbon capture and
storage technology (CCS), MEPs had earmarked revenue from 300 million ETS allowances to fund large-
scale demonstration and testing projects in the EU. The ETS could provide funding for up to 9 CCS
demonstration projects in the EU.

Reducing CO2 emissions from new cars

A new regulation setting emission performance standards for new passenger cars registered in the EU
backs an average emission target of 120g of CO 2/km for the whole car industry by 2012, down from
160g/km today. An average target of 130g CO2/km for new passenger cars is to be achieved by
improvements in vehicle motor technology, and the further 10g/km reduction needed to achieve the
120g/km target is to be achieved by other technical measures (required by different legislation), such as
better tyres, the use of biofuels or minimum efficiency requirements for air-conditioning systems.

MEPs also succeeded in setting a long-term reduction target, for 2020, of 95g CO 2/km.

Each manufacturer will be given a specific average CO 2 emissions target, with which it must comply in
interim stages: 65% of the fleet must comply in January 2012, 75% in January 2013, 80% in January
2014 and 100% from 2015. Manufacturers who fail to meet these interim targets will have to pay fines.

More renewable energy in electricity generation, transport, heating and cooling

The new "renewables" directive sets binding national targets for each Member State to ensure that by
2020 renewable energy makes up at least 20% of the EU's total energy consumption. Renewable energy
is, for example, produced from hydro power, solar, wind, biomass or geothermal sources.

Environmentally and socially sustainable biofuels

Each Member State must increase its share of renewable energy in transport - biofuels, electricity and
hydrogen produced from renewable sources - to 10% by 2020. "Second-generation" biofuels (i.e. those
produced not from food or feed crops, but from alternatives such as algae, wood residues, or paper
waste), will be double-credited towards this target.

MEPs ensured that the new law includes criteria to guarantee that biofuels production is environmentally
and socially sustainable and does not lead to deforestation and rising food prices. In December 2006,
Parliament had called on the Commission to develop such a tool which "objectively measures the
environmental, social and economic sustainability aspects of mineral fuels and biofuels".

Next steps

In its final report, Parliament's Climate Change Committee called on the EU and the other industrialised
countries to set, as a group, a medium-term target of a 25-40% reduction in GHG emissions by 2020, and
a long-term reduction target of at least 80% by 2050, compared to 1990.

Negotiations are under way for a new international climate change agreement to replace the Kyoto
protocol, which expires in 2012. At the UN Climate Change Conference in Poznań in December 2008,
where MEPs were present, the parties present decided to switch from discussion into "full negotiating
mode" and agreed that the first draft of the text of the future climate change agreement would be
available at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) gathering in Bonn
in June 2009.
     Working time: 48 hours a week maximum

     So as not to compromise the health and safety of workers, the working week should remain limited to 48
     hours, calculated over 12 months for greater flexibility. MEPs have disagreed with the Council of Ministers
     in that they also want to put an end to so-called "opt outs" three years after the future directive enters into
     force. They also take the view that in some cases, and particularly the medical profession, periods spent
     "on call" should be considered as working time.

     The review of the 2003 Working Time Directive, which began in 2004, sought primarily to examine the
     issue of voluntary opt-outs and to consider the implications of certain European Court of Justice
     judgments with regard to on-call duties, particularly of medical doctors. The European Parliament gave its
     first-reading opinion at in 2005, but its proposal was blocked by the Council, which represents the
     Member States.

     After three years of discussions the Council reached a common position in June 2008 (with Spain and
     Greece voting against the motion and Belgium, Cyprus, Malta, Portugal and Hungary abstaining).
     However, in December 2008, the European Parliament, reaffirming its first-reading position, rejected a
     compromise arrangement that would have allowed Member States to evade the maximum limit of 48
     hours a week.

     Abolishing the "opt-out" clause

     Since its first reading of the review, Parliament has opposed the opt-out clause that the United Kingdom
     obtained in 1993, which allows it to disregard the maximum working time of 48 hours a week. This opt-out
     clause is currently applied not just in the United Kingdom but in other Member States too. However, the
     compromise that was negotiated by EU Member State governments stipulates that if the working week in
     the EU is to remain limited to a maximum of 48 hours, any Member State may exercise a "non-
     participation" clause and in which case workers will be entitled to make use of it. For those workers who
     prefer the opt-out, the compromise provides for a special limit of 60 hours or 65 hours a week, calculated
     as an average over a reference period of three months.

     Calculating the working time as an average over 12 months

     At its second reading, on 17 December 2008, Parliament reaffirmed its position on removing the opt-outs
     three years after the directive comes into force, with 421 in favour, 273 against and 11 abstentions. Most
     MEPs in fact took the view that being able to calculate the working time over a reference period of 12
     months would provide sufficient flexibility.

     At the first reading, Parliament had proposed extending the reference period for calculating the weekly
     working time from four months (according to the current text) to 12 months, so as to strike a balance
     between health and safety of workers and flexible working practices.




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                                                                                         www.elections2009.eu
Treating on-call time as working hours

At the second reading vote, over 500 MEPs additionally called for all hours spent on call to count as
working time. The Council, for its part, intended drawing a distinction between "active" on-call time, during
which a worker must be available at the workplace in order to perform the activity or function in question
when required by the employer, and "inactive" on-call time – which is not to be considered as working
time – during which a worker is on call but is not required by the employer to carry out the said activity or
function.

Other provisions

Parliament also amended the text in order better to reconcile work and family life. MEPs called on
employers to notify their employees well in advance of any proposed change to the working schedule.
Workers would also have the right to ask for their working hours to be amended and employers would be
obliged to take such requests into account.

For rest periods, the general principle is that in those cases where normal rest periods cannot be taken
workers should be granted compensatory ones. Parliament strengthened this measure and said that
compensatory rest periods should be granted "following periods spent on duty", in accordance with the
law or by agreement between the social partners.

Parliament further clarified the situation of workers who are bound by more than one contract: working
time should be defined as the sum of the periods of time worked under each contract.

It also stipulated the categories of senior executive that would be exempt from the directive: CEOs, senior
managers directly subordinate to them and other persons who have been directly appointed by a board of
directors.

Next step

The directive is currently undergoing a conciliation procedure between Parliament and the Council with a
view to reaching a compromise before the May 2009 part-session.

				
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