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Monday 25.06.2018 | Name days: Maiga, Milija
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Important 2017 decisions of the European Parliament that will affect your life

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUIn 2017, the European Parliament approved and signed 74 new legislative acts associated with protection of the external border and security, trade agreements, energy security and cancellation of roaming, said Antonio Tajani, who was elected chairman of European Parliament in January 2017.

Shopping online – better consumers’ protection against fraudsters

In November 2017, the European Parliament approved requirements for better consumer protection and faster suspension of dishonest traders. EU law enforcement institutions will be given wider authority for uncovering and combating consumer rights violations online. Amended regulations on cooperation for consumer rights protection will ensure more coordinated activity in the EU.

More accessible products and services for invalids

The European Parliament supported the European Accessibility Act, which is intended to make a number of products and service more accessible for invalids. This includes phone services, ticked terminals and bank services.

Requirements for faster ‘spice’ ban across the EU

The European Parliament approved rules in October that provide for quicker restriction of new psychoactive substances in EU member states. Penalties for production and distribution will be made equal to other penalties for distribution of other banned substances. New rules also upgrade the role of Europol in combating this type of crime.

European Parliament decides on internet content availability and free internet accessibility across Europe

Accessibility of films and TV shows online even when abroad. The European Parliament approved rules in May to cancel restrictions on access of content consumers are subscribed to in their home country – films, TV shows, music, games and sports broadcasts – when staying in another European member state. This means Latvian residents will be able to access Viaplay or Shortcut content even when visiting Ireland or Estonia. Requirements apply to paid subscription services – Netflix, Amazon Prime and others.

In September, the European Parliament approved EU plan for free Wi-Fi access points in public places. The project allows for funding allocation in a ‘geographically balanced’ manner. Projects will be reviewed as they are submitted. This project will allow providing free internet access points in more than 6,000 public places across the EU (hospitals, libraries, etc.).

Additional EUR 500 million to combat youth unemployment

In September, the European Parliament approved the plan for the increase of the budget for Youth employment initiative by EUR 500 million. This is part of the approved EUR 1.2 billion increase for 2017-2020.

Supported EU-Canada Trade Agreement (CETA)

In February, the European Parliament approved the EU-Canada Trade Agreement (CETA). The goal of this agreement is improving investments and trade of goods and services between European and Canada. EP rapporteur on this matter was Latvian MEP Artis Pabriks.

It should be said that the European Parliament supported the first EU-Cuba Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement in July.

New anti-dumping measures to create jobs and better protect production in EU

In November, the European Parliament supported stricter EU requirements to protect jobs and companies in the EU from unfair practices realized by countries that excessively interfere with economic activities of other countries. New EU requirements are the first in the world intended to prevent dumping and secure international labour and environment standards for partners and producers outside of the EU.

Transparent gas supply contracts

In September 2017, the European Parliament approved new requirements for gas supply crisis situations, so that EU countries are able to use a special cross-border assistance mechanism. In accordance with the regulations, focus will be put on ensuring gas supply for households, central heating stations and important public service providers, such as hospitals. A member state impacted by a crisis will be able to activate solidarity mechanism and ask for support from other member states.

European Parliament supports multiple requirements to combat terrorism and improve security in the EU

To better combat growing threats coming from terrorist insurgents and ‘lone wolves’ planning solo attacks, the European Parliament supported new EU counter-terrorism measures. With a new counter-terrorism directive, the EU restores and expands measures for combating emerging threats. The parliament also approved new requirements to increase checks on external borders to improve internal security.

In March the European Parliament supported the reviewed EU firearms directive, ensuring stricter control over ‘empty cartridge’ firearms and inadequately deactivated firearms used in Paris terrorist attacks. EU member states will also have to provide a better license-issue and monitoring system and ensure information exchange.

It should be added that the European Parliament also formed a special committee for assessment of matters associated with terrorism to identify problems with EU counter-terrorism measures.

Smart and more secure borders for Europe

In October, the European Parliament supported formation of a unified electronic system, which will help speed up checks on Schengen Zone’s external borders and register all travellers entering the zone from third countries. The new electronic registration system will include important information about travellers (name, finger prints, portrait, data and border-crossing location), their reason for travel and decisions on denying access to the Schengen Zone.

BREXIT

In regards to Brexit, it is worth mentioning that the European Parliament welcomed the joint EU-UK report on progress in December. MEPs proposed commencing the second stage of Brexit talks. In total, the European Parliament has approved three resolutions on Brexit – 5 April, 3 October and 13 December resolutions. Those resolutions were produced by Guy Verhofstadt’s EP Brexit Coordination Group. Talks are planned to be concluded before the end of March 2019.

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