The Parliament voted in favour of starting negotiations with the Council and Commission over new rules to give citizens control over how their confidential information can be used or shared online. The e-privacy regulation is designed to adapt the rules on the confidentiality of communication and covers new forms of private communication, such as WhatsApp or Skype, which did not exist when these laws were first introduced. It gives citizens much greater control over how their confidential information can be used by private companies.
Parliament back a negotiating mandate to start talks with EU governments on the revised rules on the posting of workers (employees sent by their employer to carry out a service in another EU member state on a temporary basis). The reform of the rules will ensure better protection of posted workers and fair competition for companies. The main changes include remuneration of posted workers, duration of the posting, collective agreements and temporary agency workers.
Sakharov Prize winner
The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, named in honour of Soviet physicist and political dissident Andrei Sakharov, is awarded each year by the European Parliament. Plenary voted for this year’s prize to be awarded to the Democratic Opposition in Venezuela.
Glyphosate phase-out, with full ban by end of 2020
Led by the Socialists and Democrats, the European Parliament passed a resolution refusing the Commission’s proposal to renew a 10-year license for glyphosate-based herbicides. Instead, the Parliament called for an immediate ban for non-professional use and use in public parks, gardens and playgrounds, and a five-year phasing-out period for all agricultural use. After the five-year transition period, no product containing glyphosate should be on the EU market.
Trade talks with Australia and New Zealand
MEPs on proposed a number of issues that the Council and the Commission should focus on during Trade talks with Australia and New Zealand. These included creating new opportunities for EU business in obtaining contracts with public authorities, the protection of EU farmers and consumers, and the right of governments to legislate in the public interest. The Socialists and Democrats are especially pushing for transparent negotiations and enforceable environmental and labor standards.
EU-wide protection for whistle-blowers
Considering whistle-blower protection in the EU to be patchy and inadequate in many EU countries voted on a resolution calling for the Commission to propose rules before the end of this year to provide EU-wide protection. All EU countries should introduce clearer reporting mechanisms and protective measures against retaliation, and provide support such as legal and financial aid.
Daphne Caruana Galiza
With a minute’s silence Plenary honoured the memory of Malta investigative journalise Daphne Caruana Galiza, the journalist who worked to uncover abuses of power and corruption in Malta who was assassinated on 16 October.
At the request of the Socialists and Democrats the European Parliament debated the situation concerning sexual harassment and abuse in Europe and in the Parliament. MEPs condemned the sexual harassment cases that have emerged in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal as well as those alleged as having taken in place in Parliaments. In a debate MEPs condemned the behaviour and called for inclusive measures to be put in place to address the issue.
Exposure to substances proven to cause cancer (carcinogens)
The European Parliament gave its green light to restrict the exposure of millions of EU workers to carcinogenic and mutagenic substances with a revision of the rules and an extension to the number of new substances.