John on Welcome to our round-up of the latest European Parliament plenary session here in Strasbourg.
Lawmakers voted on a pact to more effectively coordinate cross-border anti-terror intelligence in the EU.
Meanwhile renewed Russian-backed rebel attacks in eastern Ukraine were hotly debated... as the EU resolutely seeks a non-military solution to the ongoing fighting.
And finally, new cross border road safety measures have been approved to make it harder to avoid paying a traffic offence incurred in another EU member state.
But we begin our coverage on Parliament´s latest moves to pre-empt future terror on Europe´s streets.
Archive John off In the wake of the recent violence in Paris and threats elsewhere, Parliament is trying to balance protecting civil liberties, while enacting more effective threat assessments of terror suspects.
The measures include systemically sharing passenger name records on those leaving and entering the EU, particularly those leaving from and returning to the EU by different airports or harbours-- especially true with Jihadists holding EU passports.
EPP Group Chairman Manfred Weber said consensus was needed quickly to face a growing threat from within.
Interview, Manfred Weber, EPP Group Chairman
EPP Group Chairman on
01:56-02:11 European responsibility is on the table, and we have to face this. And we need a cooordinated and comprehensive aapproach.
On the one hand between member states and Europe and on the other hand between the different political parties here in the European Parliament.
Plenary John off External threats could include, for example, a suspect leaving the EU from Riga for the Middle East and returning to Frankfurt.
But Parliament and the other EU institutions are also facing internal threats such as those crossing between two member states´ borders.
At the moment the so-called Schengen accord means travellers face no internal EU border checks. This could change on an ad hoc basis, but Weber insisted Schengen is not and should not be put at risk by Eurosceptics.
Interview MEP Manfred Weber,
EPP Group Chairman
EPP Group Chairman on
When somebody is saying that Schengen is the problem then you have to see that there were terror attacks as well in London which is not part of the Schengen area.
Schengen is the answer. Why? Because we have with Schengen the tools, the Schengen information system, where we have a strong exchange of information that our authorities, our policemen on the street know that this person is a terrorist, or is a jihadist or is an Islamist, is dangerous.
John off The new measures also aim to curb violent radical threats through greater monitoring of online activity by suspects and educating prisoners and students on the positive aspects of moderate Islamic faith.
PTC Ukraine John on Renewed rebel attacks in eastern Ukraine have left peace in the region hanging by a thread.
In response, Parliament here debated tough new measures... as well as a visiting leader from Russia´s Parliament- the Duma.
Recent Merkel, Hollande with Putin???
Shots Brok, Pushkov, audience during FA mtg questioning John off It´s gone from bad to worse in eastern Ukraine. Shuttle diplomacy is going full throttle, but the bloody standoff between government and rebel forces continues.
Alexey Pushkov, head of the International Affairs committee in the Russian Parliament, held tense meeting with his foreign affairs committee counterparts in Strasbourg.
Pushkov said all-out Vietnam style war could result if the Kiev government is armed with defensive weapons from the West.
Meanwhile EPP Group Vice President Jacek Saryusz-Wolski insisted the time for diplomacy was running out, along with the West´s patience...
Plenary remarks Jacek Saryusz-Wolski,
EPP Group VP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, EPP Group VP on
01:02 -- 01:29
Enhancing Ukrainian defence capabilities would create incentives for Russia to back down. On the contrary, Russian military advantage over Ukraine openly invites Russia to continue invasion as we witness. Ukraine has the right to defend itself. We have the responsibility to protect the victim against the aggressor in the name of our values.
John off Saryusz Wolski told Parliament that Russian diplomatic efforts to date were as hollow as a `Potemkin Village´.
Plenary remarks Jacek Saryusz-Wolski,
EPP Group Vice President EPP Group Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, EPP Group VP on
01:38 - 01:53 The crisis over Ukraine is indeed about our own future and our own security. We may wish that there is a diplomatic solution but a military solution by Russia is taking place in front of our eyes. In order to achieve a political solution, leverage is needed.
Archive, plenary John off The outcome of negotiations between the warring parties this week may hold the key to whether a lasting cease fire can be agreed, or the region enters a new dangerous phase of military escalation.
PTC Road Safety
John on Now, imagine for example, that you´re a Czech and you get caught in a speed trap while driving in Spain. No problem, the faraway fine will never come back to you, you think. Think again.
John off Running a red light or drink and drugs driving are just two of the serious offenses which often go unpunished because of a lack of cross border enforcement.
Proponents say the new regulation, eight years in the making, could help cut in half annual EU road deaths by 2020.
Europe has a relatively good record compared to the rest of the world, but Georges Bach, Luxembourg MEP and road safety expert for the EPP Group, says more needs to be done.
Interview EPP Group member
Georges Bach, Luxembourg EPP Group member
Georges Bach, Luxembourg
05:58- 06:23 This directive this exchange of data, of information, is a help, not only for the police but for the Member States to have this information. And also to have the possibility for an enforcement, to help us for these statistics, to make it better.
Archive John off Bach said prosecuting drivers equally, regardless of where their vehicle is registered, was vital to ensuring safer driving while preserving the fundamental EU right of freedom of movement.
That's all from this Plenary Session here in Strasbourg. To find out more about the largest political force in the European Parliament, visit eppgroup.eu
Thanks for looking in... and see you again soon.
Headline European Parliament plenary round-up: Anti-terror debate sharpens; visiting Russian parliamentary leader assailed over Ukraine aggression; EU road safety bill passes
Description European Parliament ups approves anti-terror measures ahead of EU summit; deputies spar with international affairs head of Russian parliament on Ukraine; new EU road safety bill passes, now easier to prosecute cross border traffic offences
Tags Manfred Weber; Jacek Saryusz-Wolski; Georges Bach; EU anti-terror measures; Ukraine; Russia; EU road safety; EPP Group; European Parliament; Strasbourg