Agnieszka Pomaska

Review: what the Parliament has been working on so far in 2012

European Parliament rejected a controversial international trade agreement during the first part of the year and worked on a slew of ambitious proposals to get the economy back on track – ranging from stricter rules on running deficits, to a financial transaction tax and more stringent limits on bankers’ bonuses. Read on to find out in which key areas Parliament has legislated.

MEPs overwhelmingly voted against the anti-counterfeiting ACTA agreement after months of protests online and off line. Opponents feared the agreement favoured large firms at the expense of civil rights. The EP’s rejection means ACTA will not be able to enter into force in the EU.

Parliament has approved and beefed up rules to improve economic governance in the EU. The so-called six-pack of measures will help to stop debt and deficits in the member states getting out of control. This was followed up by a two-pack aimed at stepping up financial discipline within the eurozone. For more details, check out the focus on economic governance by clicking on the link for the features section on the right.

MEPs have also been scrutinising a proposed directive to make the mortgage market more stable. Spanish Socialist Antolín Sànchez Presedo, who is responsible for steering the legislation through Parliament, wants better consumer protection and new European standards.

At a time when bankers can still earn bonuses of up to 10 times their annual salary, MEPs want to introduce some restrictions. Bonuses are usually based on expected performance rather than actual performance which encourages excessive risk taking. Instead MEPs think bonuses should be linked to a bank’s health and actual performance.

The majority of MEPs support introducing an EU financial transaction on shares, bonds and derivatives in order to deter reckless and disruptive speculation without affecting the real economy.

Draft regulation to regulate credit rating agencies and reduce reliance on their ratings was approved by the economic affairs committee. The new rules should lead to more responsibility, transparency and independence.

Road transport is set to be given a boost after the EP approved new rules to cut red tape and prevent fraud in road transport. This will pave the way for smart tachographs, capable of monitoring how long a lorry driver has been behind the wheel.

It could soon become easier to resolve consumer disputes without having to go to the courts. The internal market committee adopted two reports with proposals on how to achieve that.

Using a mobile phone, smartphone or tablet while travelling in another EU country became much cheaper from 1 July thanks to a deal the Parliament thrashed out with the Council.

Crime victims could benefit from the same basic rights across the EU after votes in two parliamentary committees, which also said that all victims should be entitled to an individual assessment to best meet their needs.

The Parliament adopted a resolution calling for animal welfare rules to be better enforced in the EU, loopholes to be closed and offenders punished.

source: www.europarl.europa.eu