European Parliament Current Affairs - 2019

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EU parliament approves ban on Single-use plastics

The European Parliament has voted for an EU-wide ban on single-use plastic products such as the straws, cutlery and cotton buds that are clogging the world’s oceans. The law on single-use plastic ban sets a target to gather 90 per cent of plastic for recycling by 2029 and mandates the production of plastic bottles with 25 per cent recycled material by 2025 and 30 per cent by 2030.

The law also insists on polluters pay principle by insisting polluters to pay the costs of a clean-up. The measures are strengthened, particularly for cigarette manufacturers, who will have to support the recycling of discarded filters.

The “polluter pays” principle will be extended to manufacturers of fishing nets so that companies, not fishing crews pay the cost of nets lost at sea.

The products prohibited under the law represent 70 per cent of the waste that pours into the world’s oceans, posing a threat to wildlife and fisheries.

Single-use plastics

Single-use plastics, or disposable plastics, are used only once before they are thrown away or recycled. They are not usually biodegradable and goes into a landfill where it is buried or it gets into the water and finds its way into the ocean. They degrade into tiny particles after many years. In this process of degradation, they release toxic chemicals (additives that were used to shape and harden the plastic) which make their way into our food and water supply.

EU agrees on Greenhouse Gas Emission cut for Trucks

The European Parliament and the Council have struck a deal reduce average CO2 emissions compared with 2019 levels. The features of the deal are:

  • To reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from new trucks and buses by 30 per cent by 2030.
  • The deal proposes a binding CO2-reduction target for trucks at the EU-level for the first time and includes a clear stimulus for zero and low-emission trucks.
  • Trucks account for almost one-quarter of the EU’s transport-related emissions and the EU did not have limits on emissions from heavy-duty vehicles till now.

The EU has the ambition of being climate-neutral from 2050. EU had agreed in December 2018 on targets for cutting emissions from cars and vans. The curbs on the transportation sector are expected to help the bloc meet its overall goal of reducing greenhouse gases by at least 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2030 under the Paris climate accord.

European Parliament

The Members of the European Parliament are directly elected by voters in all Member States to represent people’s interests with regard to EU law-making and to make sure other EU institutions are working democratically. The Parliament acts as a co-legislator, sharing with the Council the power to adopt and amend legislative proposals and to decide on the EU budget.

European Council

The European Council brings together EU leaders to set the EU’s political agenda. The members of the European Council are Heads of state or government of EU countries, European Commission President, High Representative for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy.

European Commission

The European Commission is the EU’s executive arm. It takes decisions on the Union’s political and strategic direction.