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INTERNATIONAL

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EU Priorities for 2017: Focusing on Delivering Results

EU Priorities for 2017: Focusing on Delivering Results

The European Union is focusing this year on delivering results in areas that matter to all Europeans. EU institutions have agreed on a set of priorities ranging from boosting e-commerce to protecting the environment and strengthening borders. Four months into the year, check out which major legislative proposals MEPs have already approved.

 

At the end of 2016, the European Parliament, Council and Commission signed for the first time a joint declaration setting out a list of legislative proposals that should be given priority in the year ahead. The EU institutions pledged to prioritise six key areas:

•             Employment and growth

•             Social Europe

•             Security

•             Migration

•             The digital single market

•             Energy and climate change

 

A substantial number of proposals have already been dealt with by Parliament. Regarding security, MEPs approved a proposal to widen the scope of what constitutes terrorism-related offences across the EU, criminalising preparatory acts such as training to commit terrorist attacks and travelling abroad to join a terrorist group. New rules imposing systematic checks against databases on everyone entering or leaving the EU were also approved. In addition, MEPs endorsed tighter controls on blank-firing and deactivated guns to make sure they do not fall into the wrong hands.

 

Building a thriving digital marketplace requires being able to meet the increasing demand for mobile data. With this in mind, MEPs voted in favour of making the 700 MHz band available for the next generation of mobile internet. They also cleared the last hurdle to the end of roaming by fixing caps on the fees that telecoms can charge each other.

 

Parliament adopted its position on the reform of the EU's emissions trading scheme, which should improve the functioning of the EU market for carbon credits and create incentives for companies to invest in greener technologies. A package of measures to reduce land filling of waste and boost recycling also received MEPs’ backing. On these two issues, Parliament still needs to reach an agreement with the Council on the final text of the legislation.

 

MEPs are also negotiating with the member states in the Council on steps to tighten money laundering legislation, safeguard the security of gas supply and establish an EU agency for asylum with more powers compared to the existing European Asylum Support Office.

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