Another momentous week here in the European Parliament in Strasbourg...
Members backed new measures aimed at fighting organised crime and adopted new EU-wide health and safety guidelines on the use of high risk medical devices.
Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was finally able to come here to Strasbourg to collect the Sakharov Prize-- 23 years after it was awarded to her.
Meanwhile the Civil Liberties Committee has agreed to tougher restrictions on the online use and storage of EU citizens' personal data.
We start our coverage though on medical devices...
New revised rules adopted in Parliament will help improve the certification and monitoring process of agencies which inspect and approve all forms of medical devices.
Quite often such devices include tests for diabetes --even online testing for DNA samples. These tests are often of poor quality and lead to false and thus dangerous medical conclusions for EU citizens.
Rapporteur and member of the EPP Group Peter Liese cited a faulty German HIV test, carrying the 'CE' stamp of approval, as just one example.
Peter Liese, German Member EPP Group 00:38-01:03 (Seance clip): That means the test would say for example that there was no virus but in reality the patient was already infected with HIV, from all corresponding sources, for example from a blood transfusion or sexual contact. So the current legislation is not sufficient, it doesn't sufficiently protect patients and we need to make improvements. I'm very pleased that we have broad consensus on many of these aspects.
Nearly a dozen recent audits of agencies have led to the temporary suspension of two of them, as well as the removal of some dangerously misleading testing devices.
Manufacturers and vendors of such devices would also come under closer scrutiny through the set-up of an EU Portal for reporting serious incidents, according to EPP Group Member Mairead McGuinness.
Mairead McGuinness, Irish MEP, EPP Group 1:35-01:50 (Seance clip): We also need much tighter post-market scrutiny and surveillance so that when a problem is detected there`s feedback of that information right through the system and there is a rapid reaction to it. I think that`s crucial for effective regulation of medical devices.
Tighter restrictions on testing by patients themselves and not professionals would also be implemented under the revised rules. EPP members say the changes will lead to higher consumer confidence in medical testing, particularly for high risk illnesses, as well as increased industry innovation.
Parliament also approved a final report setting out an ambitious action plan aimed at fighting organised crime and the money laundering which sustains it.
18 months in the making, the report recognises organised crime`s drain on the European economy, by some estimates accounting for 120 billion Euros or 4 to 5% of untaxed GDP, as well as the dire human cost extracted.
Salvatore Iacolino, rapporteur of the report and EPP member, said it was long past time for more coordinated EU efforts to stamp out mafia-related corruption.
Salvatore Iacolino, Italian MEP, EPP Group : We hope that the adoption of this report will present us with a new shared challenge to deal with cross-border crime and with mafia organisations and their corruption and money laundering.
Among the areas Iacolino highlighted were drugs, small arms and human trafficking, and he made pointed reference to the "trafficking of death" by those who sought profit to bring refugees to the shores of Europe via Lampadusa and other EU frontier outposts.
Salvatore Iacolino : We want our economies to be legal; we want entrepreneurs to be able to compete freely and fairly in any Member State for markets. And we want to exclude companies that have received final convictions for organised crime or for abuses within public procurement procedures.
The final report also calls for the criminalisation of sports-riggin
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