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Topics of interest – January 2014

How does the European Parliament react to the political crisis in Ukraine? Will the 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.

European elections 2014

logo_topics 2014JanWith the European elections being only a few months ahead, citizens are turning to the Parliament with many different demands. The most frequently asked questions concerned voting rights when living abroad, the conditions under which political parties could run for election and how citizens themselves could become a Member of the European Parliament.

The following links will guide you to the relevant information:

Official website for the EP elections 2014

European elections: what you need to know in order to vote

Factsheet on the European Parliament: Electoral Procedures

Your Europe: information on voting rights

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

Situation in Ukraine

Ukraine’s decision to suspend preparations to sign the Association Agreement with the European Union led to fierce protests, the demission of Ukraine’s Prime Minister and an ongoing political crisis. Many citizens writing to the Parliament are worried about the situation in Ukraine and ask for the Parliament’s support.

The following links will guide you to the relevant information:

Ukraine: MEPs urge EU to help financial rescue, but enact targeted sanctions too (27-02-2014)

Ukraine: MEPs call for EU travel ban and financial support (press release: 06-02-2014)

Ukraine: chronology of an escalating conflict (04-02-2014)

Video recording of EP delegation in Kiev, Ukraine: meeting with government officials, the political opposition and demonstrators (29-01-2014)

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

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. They expressed particular worries about an investor-state dispute settlement scheme 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.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)

© smereka / Fotolia.com

© smereka / Fotolia.com

The European Commission’s proposed authorisation to place genetically modified maize on the market for cultivation has led to an increased concern among European citizens. Most citizens writing to the Parliament are opposed to the planting and selling of GM food within the European Union.

The following links will guide you to the relevant information:

Food safety: MEPs oppose authorising new genetically modified maize (press release: 16-01-2014)

Interview with Dagmar Roth-Behrendt, member of the ENVI committee: No to GMO (16-01-2014)

Parliament clarifies labelling rules for honey if contaminated by GM pollen (15-01-2014)

European Commission’s Questions and Answers on EU’s policies on cultivation and imports of GMOs (06-11-2013)

European Commission: GMOs in a nutshell

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

Welfare tourism

In the context of political debates and media coverage on so-called “welfare tourism” in some Member States, citizens wrote to the Parliament questioning the advantages of the free movement of EU citizens.

The following links will guide you to the relevant information:

EU countries must respect the right to free movement, say MEPs (press release: 15-01-2014)

European Commission’s Vice President Viviane Reding: Upholding the right to free Movement and fighting cases of abuse (15-01-2014)

Welfare tourism: drain on resources or unfounded myth? (Press release: 23-10-2013)

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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