Plenary highlights: Turkey, Lux Prize, defence, air pollution

The EU should freeze accession negotiations with Turkey in light of the country’s vast crackdown that followed the failed July coup, said MEPs in a resolution adopted this week. Also during this week’s plenary session MEPs called on EU countries to step up cooperation on defence. On Wednesday Parliament awarded its annual Lux Film Prize to dark comedy Toni Erdmann by German director Maren Ade.

The European Commission and member states should temporarily freeze EU accession talks with Turkey, but not abandon them completely, said MEPs in a resolution adopted on Thursday. During the debate on Tuesday MEPs referred to the disproportionate repressesive measures that followed the failed coup on 15 July, but stressed that the door should remain open for further dialogue, unless Turkey reintroduced capital punishment.

EU countries need to work more closely together on defence in this age of terror, cyber-warfare and growing global insecurity, MEPs said in a resolution adopted on Tuesday, adding that multinational forces and infrastructures should be set up. MEPs also reiterated the longstanding goal of member states devoting 2% of their gross domestic product to spending on defence.

To help tackle tax evasion as well as terrorism threats MEPs backed new rules obliging national authorities to automatically exchange information regarding suspects, such as bank account balances, interest income and dividens.

The EU should focus on growth and avoiding or cushioning austerity, said MEPs in a debate on Tuesday on the EU’s economic priorities for next year as presented by the Commission.

Europe should play a key role in combating wildlife trafficking that puts many species at risk of extinction, said MEPs in a resolution adopted on Thursday. Find out more in our interview with Catherine Bearder, the MEP in charge of steering the proposal through Parliament.

To read the highlights click here