Plenary highlights: #SakharovPrize winners, trans fats, EU’s 2017 budget

| October 28, 2016 | 0 Comments

Yazidi survivors and public advocates Nadia Murad and Lamiya Aji Bashar were announced as this year’s Sakharov Prize laureates during this week’s plenary session in Strasbourg. In addition MEPs called on the European Commission to regulate harmful trans fats in processed food. They also adopted Parliament’s position on the EU’s budget for next year, insisting on more funds to boost growth, tackle the migration crisis and help to find young people work. Read on for an overview.

This year’s Sakharov Prize laureates Murad and Aji Bashar survived enslavement by Islamic State and have sought refuge in Europe. They have become spokespersons for women afflicted by the terrorist group’s campaign of sexual violence and are also public advocates for the Yazidi community. The winners were announced on Thursday. The Sakharov award ceremony will be held in Strasbourg on 14 December.
On Wednesday MEPs called for legal limits on industrial trans fats that could increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, infertility, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and obesity. Find more facts in our article.
MEPs demanded additional money for the draft EU budget for 2017: more funds to help young people find work, boost economic growth and assist non-EU countries with the impact of the migration crisis. Negotiations with Council will start now.
On Tuesday MEPs called on the Commission to report every year on breaches of democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights in the EU and to set up a binding mechanism to monitor all member states.
A new regulation on plant pests such as olive-tree killer Xylella fastidiosa was approved on Wednesday to help EU countries tackle the problem. The new rules include a preventive and rapid response mechanisms for suspect plant imports.
On Wednesday MEPs also adopted a directive setting accessibility standards for websites and mobile apps by public administrations such as hospitals, courts, libraries and other public bodies. This should make it easier for disabled and elderly people to gain access to data and services online. Find out more in our video.

Turkey is being urged to release journalists being held without compelling evidence of criminal activity in a resolution adopted on Thursday. In a debate on Wednesday afternoon MEPs pointed out that the Turkish government has arrested at least 99 journalists and writers and closed the offices of more than 150 media outlets.

The EU strategy towards Iran should be “comprehensive, cooperative, critical and constructive”, according to a resolution adopted on Tuesday. In an interview, UK S&D member Richard Howitt, who was responsible for the resolution, said he would like the EU to leverage the influence gained because of the Iran nuclear deal to help move towards a new regional security structure for the whole Middle East.

MEPs called on Tuesday for rules requiring EU companies to respect human rights in all their global operations, notably in developing countries with weak structures. They would like to see clauses on corporate liability for human rights violations included in EU trade and investment agreements.

On Thursday, MEPs adopted a resolution on the European voluntary service calling for it to receive firmer legal status for the benefit of the volunteers themselves.

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Category: A Frontpage, EU, European Parliament, Plenary

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