Latviski English По-русски
Ceturtdiena 22.03.2018 | Name days: Tamāra, Dziedra

Important 2017 decisions of the European Parliament that will affect your life

(No Ratings Yet)

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.


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.


Leave a reply

Finance sector’s development council supports prohibition of shell companies

On Wednesday, 21 March, Latvian Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis’ managed Finance Sector’s Development Council supported initiative on prohibiting shell companies, as confirmed by the prime minister.

Level of producer prices in Latvia’s industry is up 3.4%

Compared to January, level of producer prices in the Latvian industry rose by 0.5 % in February 2018. Prices of products sold on the domestic market grew by 0.7 %, but prices of exported products went up by 0.3 %.

Minister: Latvia is far behind its neighbours in terms of digitization and e-skills

In terms of digitization and e-skills, Latvia is far behind its neighbouring countries and the rest of Europe, said Latvian Economy Minister Arvils Ašeradens in an interview to Latvijas Radio.

OECD: Latvian employees work longest hours in Baltics

In a comparison of Baltic countries per average annual hours worked, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has found earlier this year that the average Latvian worker spends 1,910 hours at work, followed by the Lithuanian employee with 1,885 hours and the average Estonian worker with 1,855 hours.

12th Saeima failed to complete half of its pre-election promises in field of justice

In 2014, Delna – society for openness and Providus think tank received support from all parties represented in the 12th Saeima in regards to an action plan to help strengthen the rule of law in the country.

Russia carries out military drills in Gulf of Finland

Russian Defence Ministry has stated that in the Baltic Sea Gulf of Finland, which has Finland, Russia and Estonia in its coastline, the Russian military has performed drills for its tactical special operations units.

Prime minister doubts Anti-Money Laundering Service head’s competence

«The work performed by the service requires drastic changes. Whether or not it can be done by its current head [Viesturs Burkāns], I am not sure,» said Latvian Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis in an interview to LNT, commenting on the work performed by Latvian Anti-Money Laundering Service.

Vilnius chosen for office of game developer Lockwood Publishing from UK

UK's mobile game developer Lockwood Publishing has unveiled plans to open its first overseas office in Vilnius, pointing to the industry's talent in Lithuania and the wider region.

Association: municipalities should organize their work on their own

On 6 March, Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments reviewed the letter sent to Riga City Council by Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry, in which the institution ordered the municipality to review their internal order and lift restrictions on the length of debates and the number of questions deputies are allowed to ask.

Canada moves to increase gun control

Canada's federal federal government has proposed new gun control measures, but they could reduce support to the ruling Liberal Party in rural areas, where guns are widely owned and used.

Minister: EU should work on rules to make sure social networks cannot be manipulated

«European Union needs to react to the Facebook data scandal and develop strict regulations to make sure social networks cannot be used to manipulate people. Appropriate regulations are needed in the matter regarding political campaigns performed on social networks, which is gradually becoming a common occurrence nowadays,» says Latvian Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs.

Profits of Latvian State Roads increased by 8.6% last year

Turnover of Latvian State Roads reached EUR 14.529 million last year, which is 10.3% more when compared to 2016. The company’s profits increased by 8.6% - to EUR 59,485, according to the published interim financial report.

Slovak President casts doubt over impartiality of proposed government

In a continuation of the political crisis in Slovakia, Slovak President Andrej Kiska has not accepted a the newly proposed government deeming it possibly unable to supervise an impartial investigation of the two murders that have shaken the Eastern European nation.

France's ex-leader Sarkozy in custody over links with Libya

French ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy has been taken in custody on March 20 and was held in custody on Tuesday and interrogated amid an investigation into whether late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi added funds to his 2007 election campaign.

KVV Liepājas metalurgs’ steelworks bought out by Austrian Smart Stahl

The auction for the sale of the insolvent KVV Liepājas metalurgs rolling mill equipment concluded with the victory of Austrian Smart Stahl GmbH, as confirmed by insolvency administrator Guntars Koris.

Entomologist: at least 5% of ticks in Latvia are infected with encephalitis

There have been cases of tick activity during the winter period in Latvia this year. As air temperature increases, ticks become active and start popping up. This means residents should seriously consider vaccination to avoid getting encephalitis from tick bites, entomologists say.

Rail Baltica station’s construction at Riga airport will cost EUR 4.5 million

Creation of a separate railway station and related infrastructure at Riga International Airport as part of Rail Baltica project will cost EUR 4.5 million, says the project’s manager in Latvia and board member of European Railway Lines company Andris Linužs.

Norwegian minister steps down to keep minority government in power

In a move to avoid the collapse of the Norwegian minority government, its Justice Minister Sylvi Listhaug resigned amid a political storm she had caused by blaming an opposition party of not being harsh enough toward terrorism suspects.

Political party calls for immediate action to resolve «over-salted Riga» problem

Member of For Latvia’s Development political party’s Riga City Council faction Ansis Ansbergs urges the administration to find a quick solution to the excessive use of salt during the winter season because it has a negative impact on both human and animal health, as well as the state of buildings, cars and plant life in the capital.

MEP: fair competition should be secured for all European farmers

Sixteen members of the European Parliament from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland submitted a joint proposal on Monday, 19 March, for a resolution regarding the future of the Common Agricultural Policy with a request to equalize the level of direct payments across all of Europe starting from 2021.

Estonia prison sentence upheld to Syrian man for causing burns to wife

In the Estonian criminal case, where a Syrian man has been convicted to 10 years in prison over causing corporal damage to his wife by setting her on fire, Estonian Supreme Court has rejected his appeal.

Olainfarm’s sales volume increased by 16% over the course of the year

Provisional consolidated data from Olainfarm for February 2018 shows that product sales volumes have reached EUR 10.69 million, which is 33% more when compared with the same period of 2017.

Minister: it is not impossible for banks to reduce number of risky clients to 5%

It is not impossible for Latvian banks to reduce the number of risky clients to 5%, says Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola.

Syrian Afrin left by 220 000 civilians, Turkish-supported rebels loot town

After seizing the northern Syrian town of Afrin from Kurdish militia, Syrian rebels supported by Turkey have been looting properties, journalists have reported. The town has been left by estimated 220 000 civilians.

Ministry orders Riga City Council to lift restrictions on questions

Latvia’s Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry has asked Riga City Council to act and fix violations of democratic principles in the newly approved rules for deputies.

Newest comments