It's plenary week at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Geo-blocking, the European Commission's new strategy for the Western Balkans and the EU authorisation procedure for pesticides are some of the topics that our Members of the European Parliament sitting in the ALDE Group are focusing on this week. Besides, ALDE Group MEPs also mobilised on 6 February to express their support to ending Female Genital Mutilation.
Ending Female Genital Mutilation
On 6 February, the International Day for Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, ALDE Group MEPs mobilised in the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
ALDE Party Vice President, Angelika Mlinar MEP, also addressed the subject during the plenary debate: "Actions speak louder than words. We have a shared responsibility to fight this practice & it needs to be systematically addressed in Europe."
Agreement on geo-blocking: It is a first step but far more is needed
The European Parliament adopted a new law banning on unjustified geo-blocking on Tuesday 6 February. It will require traders operating in one Member State to sell to all consumers in the EU and to give them full access to their respective webshops.
Dita Charanzová MEP, Vice Chair of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, commented: "We are happy that physical goods are covered by this regulation. All EU consumers should be treated in the same way, without discrimination, no matter where they call home. There can be no second-class consumers in the EU. But this regulation is not only for consumers, this is also very good news for traders as we managed to make very clear what law should apply in each situation. This new regulation will boost e-commerce, but this is just first step. I am happy to see that non-audio-visual goods and services will be subject to a review in 2 years."
EU enlargement: Commission’s new strategy opens door for the Western Balkans
The ALDE Group welcomes the enlargement perspective towards the Western Balkans, presented today by the European Commission, considered a historic window of opportunity for these countries to bind their future to the European Union.
Hilde Vautmans MEP, shadow rapporteur on Kosovo, added: "The 2025 perspective for Serbia and Montenegro should be interpreted as a sign to the citizens of these countries that the EU keeps its doors open. It is also a clear message to the leaderships of these countries to immediately reverse the negative trends in the media sector and respect for fundamental rights. They must double-down on the reform process now and deliver the necessary political and economic reforms."
"In the case of Serbia, this entails the long-neglected reckoning with the reality of Kosovo's independence - the Commission Strategy rightly emphasises that a legally binding agreement on the normalisation of relations with Kosovo is urgently needed," she added.
European Parliament to review the EU authorisation procedure for pesticides
In the wake of the decision to renew the approval of glyphosate for 10 years, MEPs voted this week in favour of the establishment of a special parliamentary committee to review the European Union’s authorisation procedure for pesticides.
Commenting on the setting up a special committee today, Frédérique Ries MEP said; "I welcome the formation of this special committee. The EU has achieved and maintained the highest food safety standards in the world, but there are a number of issues concerning the authorisation procedure for pesticides in the Union that need review. Most importantly, the transparency of scientific studies and related raw data has not been guaranteed, while the relevant EU agencies lack resources to conduct research on their own and ensure that our food is safe and the environment protected: the EFSA budget for 2017 is €80 million to be compared with the European Medicines Agency's budget of €322 million.”
For more details and upcoming press releases from the rest of the plenary week, keep an eye on the ALDE Group's website.