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Topics of interest – December 2013

How will e-cigarettes be regulated by the new EU legislation? Will the European Parliament defend our values in the free trade agreement with the US?

Answers to these questions or other citizens’ concerns can be found by consulting our selection of links below.

The following topics of interest are based on questions and comments from citizens writing to the European Parliament.

Situation in Ukraine

AskEP logo topics 2013 December

In the wake of Ukraine’s decision to suspend preparations to sign the Association Agreement with the European Union, many citizens wrote to the European Parliament. They expressed their discontentment and concern about this postponement of closer links with the EU and Ukraine. Most messages are an appeal for help from the EU as citizens feel their democratic rights are being suppressed by the Ukrainian government.

The following links will guide you to the relevant information:

Schulz condemns passage anti-freedom laws in Ukraine (17-01-2014)

President Schulz’ statement to the Ukrainian authorities (02-12-13)

Debate: MEPs call on EU to support Ukrainians demonstrating for a European future (10-12-13)

Key MEPs warn Ukraine authorities not to use force against pro-Europe protestors (26-11-13)

European Parliament Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (mission statement: 21-11-13)

Any questions on this issue or another EP-related concern? Please use our web form. You write, we answer.

EU-US trade agreement (TTIP / TAFTA)

In the context of the ongoing negotiations of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) citizens called for the Parliament to ensure transparent negotiations and to preserve European consumer and environment standards. In view of the NSA surveillance revelations, they expressed particular worries about data protection and questioned the benefits of the planned agreement.

The following links will guide you to the relevant information:

President Schulz’ speech at the American Chamber of Commerce on EU-US relations (16-10-13)

EU/US trade talks: keep Parliament on board, MEPs warn (press release: 23-05-13)

Background dossier on the Trade Agreement

European Commission’s website on the TTIP negotiations

European Commission’s factsheet on Investment Protection and Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement in EU agreements

Any questions on this issue or another EP-related concern? Please use our web form. You write, we answer.

EU legislation on tobacco products

E-cigarette

© Pixel & Création / Fotolia

The proposed directive on tobacco and related products spurred smokers and consumers of electronic cigarettes to write to the European Parliament. Some expressed their worries about a possible classification of electronic cigarettes and their nicotine liquids as medicinal products, fearing this would make them more expensive and difficult to access. Citizens also criticised the proposed ban of flavoured tobacco products, in particular menthol cigarettes, claiming this would infringe on their personal freedom and lead to an increase in illicit trade of such products.

The following links will guide you to the relevant information:

Tobacco Directive: Public Health Committee backs agreement with EU Ministers (22-01-2014)

Tobacco directive: MEPs reach agreement with Council of Ministers (press release: 18-12-2013)

Tobacco: larger warnings, flavours banned, e-cigarettes regulated (press release: 08-10-2013)

Procedure file on tobacco and related products

Any questions on this issue or another EP-related concern? Please use our web form. You write, we answer.

EU immigration and refugee policy

The migrants boat tragedy off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa and the ensuing broad debate about European policy on immigration and asylum sparked a significant amount of correspondence from citizens. Many citizens expressed grief about the fate of the migrants and appealed to the EU to prevent the loss of more lives and to improve conditions for asylum-seekers and irregular migrants arriving in Europe. Other citizens were concerned about their integration, questioning Europe’s capacity to cope with migratory flows.

The following links will guide you to the relevant information:

Immigration: Parliament’s press releases on this topic (regularly updated)

Civil liberties MEPs back funds for asylum, migration and internal security (press release: 10-01-2014)

Migration: EU must act to prevent further tragedies, says Parliament (press release: 23-10-13)

EU border surveillance: MEPs approve Eurosur operating rules (10-10-13)

Factsheet on the EU’s immigration policy

Any questions on this issue or another EP-related concern? Please use our web form. You write, we answer.

About Ask EP

The Citizens' Enquiries Unit provides information on the activities, powers and organisation of the European Parliament. You ask, we answer.

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