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What is the EU’s role in the introduction of a road toll for private vehicles in Germany?

In view of the new road toll for private vehicles foreseen in Germany, citizens have turned to the European Parliament and have raised concerns that this ‘infrastructural levy’ might discriminate EU citizens who do not reside in Germany. Following the adoption by the German authorities of a law introducing a road charging scheme for cars, … Continue reading

EP Plenary Session April II: Discharge of the EU’s 2015 budget (but it’s not just about the money)

Written by Clare Ferguson, The biggest issue on Parliament’s plenary agenda for this session is the discharge procedure for the EU’s 2015 budget. To ensure the transparent and democratic scrutiny of how public funds are spent, Parliament’s elected Members decide whether the EU institutions have disbursed their budget in accordance with the rules. As the … Continue reading

STOA Workshop: Opportunities and challenges of 5G in the EU

Webstreaming Hashtag: #STOA5G Written by Mihalis Kritikos 5G has been described as the most critical building block of our ‘digital society’, as it promises a new wave of technology services – from driverless cars to smart home appliances – and mobile broadband download rates up to 60 times faster than from the current 4G providers. … Continue reading

From Bratislava to Rome

Written by Ralf Drachenberg, On the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties, the EU leaders’ Rome Declaration of 25 March 2017 proclaimed that ‘the European Union is facing unprecedented challenges, both global and domestic: regional conflicts, terrorism, growing migratory pressures, protectionism and social and economic inequalities. Together, we are determined to address the challenges of a rapidly … Continue reading

World Health Day 2017 – ‘Depression: Let’s talk’

Written by Nicole Scholz, 7 April each year is ‘World Health Day’, marking the anniversary of the World Health Organization (WHO), founded in 1948. World Health Day is one of the WHO’s eight official health days for raising awareness and mobilising people to act. This year’s focus is on depression. The WHO campaign has three … Continue reading

EP Plenary Session April I: Safety first

Written by Clare Ferguson, Following the United Kingdom’s formal notification on 29 March of its intention to withdraw from the EU, nine months after last June’s referendum, Parliament is set to debate a resolution setting out its main principles, broad objectives and red lines for the negotiations. Once adopted, this resolution will represent the EP’s … Continue reading

What is the EU doing to fight against poverty and social exclusion?

European citizens regularly contact the European Parliament on the subject of poverty and social exclusion in Europe, calling for more to be done to help poor people to escape their predicament. So what is the EU doing about it? Measures against poverty and social exclusion are among the specific objectives of the Union and its … Continue reading

EPRS conference: New US administration increasingly professional, despite early blunders

Written by Marcin Grajewski, American society and politicians may be more polarised than ever, the new President, Donald Trump may be mercurial and unpopular, but the American economy looks poised for accelerated growth, the foundations of American foreign and defence policy are solid, and the new administration is becoming increasingly professional, according to analysts and … Continue reading

Summertime: changing of the clocks, but why?

Citizens recurrently turn to the European Parliament with comments on the changing of the clocks. Some citizens are in favour of the summertime /wintertime arrangements; others call on the Parliament to abolish it. On Sunday 26 March 2017 clocks go forward, but why? In fact, twice a year the clocks in all EU Member States … Continue reading

What future for global trade?

Written by Krisztina Binder, Worldwide, countries are facing major international trade challenges. Trade policy was at the forefront of the 2016 United States presidential campaign, and the new US administration’s approach leans toward global trade restriction. Protectionist pressures, not to mention concerns regarding the potential effects of Brexit, are increasing on the world stage. Against … Continue reading

How can citizens influence the direction of European science?

Written by Philip Boucher, Recent years have seen strengthened links between science and policy. We often hear about the role of scientific evidence in policy-making, but policy also has a substantial influence on the way that science develops. Scientific research is not only about advancing knowledge, but also about responding to the most important opportunities … Continue reading

Empowering Women requires Women in Power

Written by Rosamund Shreeves, As the British historian, Mary Beard, highlighted this week, although women now sit alongside men in parliaments and government, powerful women – and the association of women with power – continue to elicit strong, negative reactions. For a telling illustration, Beard cites the use of Greek mythological imagery to depict the … Continue reading

Rights and Values: Plenary Session Strasbourg – March II

Written by Clare Ferguson with Peter Charles, Last week’s International Women’s Day highlighted the ever-present danger of reversals to hard-won rights and values in today’s society. Much of recent political debate has focused on issues previously considered settled, particularly, progress, or rather the lack of it, on gender equality. Three reports on the European Parliament … Continue reading

International Women’s Day 2017 – Empowering women in the EU and beyond

Written by Rosamund Shreeves (EPRS) and Gaby Umbach (Globalstat), Graphics by Christian Dietrich and Giulio Sabbati. To mark this year’s International Women’s Day, the European Parliament’s Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) will join the European Commission, UN Women, the OECD, members of national parliaments and activists from Europe and across the world, … Continue reading

Petitions to the European Parliament: How does it work?

What is the procedure for submitting a petition to the European Parliament? Citizens are broadly aware of their right to submit a petition, however they often request further information about the procedure to send the petition and on the way the petitions are afterwards discussed in the EP Committee. Right of petition Any citizen of … Continue reading

Citizens first: European Parliament Plenary Session March I

Written by Clare Ferguson, The first European Parliament plenary session of March is something of a bottom-up affair, with the inclusion of several items on the agenda directly relating to the lives of both citizens and refugees arriving in the EU. Many unaccompanied minors arriving in the EU disappear, or abscond, partly because reception conditions … Continue reading

Circular economy: animated infographic

Written by Didier Bourguignon, Jana Valant, Christian Dietrich and Mitja Brus. In a circular economy, products and the materials they contain are highly valued. This contrasts with the traditional, linear economic model, which is based on a ‘take-make-consume-throw away’ pattern. In practice, a circular economy minimises waste through reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials … Continue reading

How does the EU promote sign languages?

In reference to sign languages, citizens contact the European Parliament requesting information on the status of sign languages at EU level, the actions taken to promote it and how its interpretation works in the EU institutions. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Convention), ratified by the European Union on … Continue reading

Better Law-Making in Practice, 2-3 February 2017

Written by Eva Casalprim and Laura Tilindyte, The implementation and the broader implications of the Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making (which entered into force on 13 April 2016), were a common thread of the joint seminar devoted to better law-making in practice on 2-3 February 2017, jointly organised by the European Parliament’s Legal Service and … Continue reading

Guide to EU Funding 2014-2020

Written by Vasilis Margaras, Finding the appropriate funding sources for a local authority, a public entity, a company or a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) can be a major problem. Information is scattered across many different sources and is often confusing and outdated. The EPRS ‘Guide to EU Funding 2014-2020’ is a basic introduction to EU funding … Continue reading

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The content of all documents (and articles) contained in this blog is the sole responsibility of the author and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily represent the official position of the European Parliament. It is addressed to the Members and staff of the EP for their parliamentary work. Reproduction and translation for non-commercial purposes are authorised, provided the source is acknowledged and the European Parliament is given prior notice and sent a copy. Copyright © European Union, 2014. All rights reserved