Every September the President of the European Commission President gives his State of the Union Address to the European Parliament.
On Wednesday Jean-Claude Juncker delivered the State of the Union Address for 2017 and took stock of the achievements of the past year, presented his priorities for the coming year and outlined his vision of how the EU might evolve by 2025.
It is a sad fact that many technological items are manufactured to have deliberately limited life spans in order to force consumers to replace products more regularly. To combat this, the European Parliament wants to set minimum resistance criteria for products so that consumers can have a better idea of how durable the item is. If products are built with better quality components that aren’t completely sealed in they will last longer and be more easily repairable. Over three-quarters of EU consumers would prefer to fix broken products than buy new ones, so the will is there. Have a look at this EuroparlTV video to find out more about the issue.
2018 is to be designated the European Year of Cultural Heritage. Find out more here or have a look at the video below.
“Our cultural heritage is more than the memory of our past; it is the key to our future. A European Year of Cultural Heritage will be an opportunity to raise awareness of the social and economic importance of cultural heritage and to promote European excellence in the sector.”
Completely fabricated news stories with the deliberate aim of misleading people has become an increasingly common phenomenon on social media making it difficult sometimes to know if what you are reading is fake news.
The European Parliament Research Bureau has produced an infographic called “Five steps to spot fake news” giving tips to help you decide for yourself whether you can trust in the veracity of what you are reading. The full briefing is available here.
As the last step towards the end of roaming charges by 15 June 2017, representatives of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission have agreed on how to set the prices operators charge each other when their customers use other networks when roaming in the EU.
3.2 cents per minute of voice call, as of 15 June 2017
1 cent per SMS, as of 15 June 2017
They also agreed to a step-by-step reduction over five years for data caps, decreasing from €7.70 per GB (as of 15 June 2017) to €6 per GB (as of 1 January 2018), €4.50 per GB (as of 1 January 2019), €3.50 per GB (as of 1 January 2020), €3 per GB (as of 1 January 2021) and €2.50 per GB (as of 1 January 2022). The agreement is the final step to making “roam-like-at-home” work as of 15 June 2017, as foreseen in the Telecom Single Market (TSM) Regulation. It means that when travelling in the EU, consumers will be able to call, send SMS or surf on their mobile at the same price they pay at home. More information is available on the Commission’s Roaming website.
Want to know who’s in charge of the European Parliament? Here’s a useful infographic with the names of the 14 vice presidents and the 5 quaestors who along with the president make up the bureau’s 20 members:
Following the election of Antonio Tajani as president of the European Parliament, MEPs also selected 14 vice-presidents, who chair debates when the president is not in the chamber and who each have a specific portfolio. In addition, the Parliament has five quaestors, officials responsible for administrative and financial matters. The president, 14 vice-presidents and five quaestors – collectively known as the bureau – are all elected for a period of two-and-a-half years.
Also, if you’d like to know more about what the President of the European Parliament does, have a look at the short explanatory video below:
EuroparlTV have produced a new video explaining that Asylum reform, tax scandals, terrorism, digital borders and energy and climate will be high on the agenda for MEPs in 2017. Have a look at the video below or find it and the transcript on the EuroparlTV site.
Last May’s European Youth Event (EYE2016) saw 7500 young people from all over Europe and beyond congregate at the European Parliament in Strasbourg to share and discuss ideas, driven by the motto “Together we can make a change”. Topics discussed ranged from space and innovation to climate change, migration and democracy.
Since then a team of young reporters have created a report highlighting 50 ideas for a better Europe. The report also contains interviews, infographics, a political commentary from the European Youth Forum and more. In addition to this there is the EYE2016 ideas tree, a separate document containing all the ideas written by the participants with a handy navigational graphic. Just click on any branch topic to jump to the idea.
French and Germanlanguage versions of the report are also available.
The results of the 2016 Parlemeter poll have recently been published. The Parlemeter surveys focus on how the European Parliament is viewed by Europeans, knowledge of the institution, EU membership, citizenship and political values.
This year’s results show that 53% of those interviewed believe being in the EU is good for their country. However 54% felt that “things are going in the wrong direction” (p.8 of the analytical overview).