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The European elections in May 2014 changed the relative strength of political groups in the EP, brought new faces at the helm of many groups and affected their political agenda. At the start of the parliamentary term, political group leaders speak about their priorities in the weeks and months to come. Watch the series of interviews to learn more about their views and plans at an important moment for EU policy-making.
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EU sanctions against Russia must be stepped up, the Ukrainian border closed to halt arms flows from Russia, and the bodies of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash victims returned, MEPs insisted in today’s debate with Ukraine’s foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin. Mr Klimkin called on the EU to show its solidarity now, as Ukraine is “being punished for its EU aspirations”. The debate opened with a minute’s silence for victims of the 17 July crash.
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The three films competing for this year’s Lux Prize have been announced: Class Enemy (Razredni sovražnik) from Slovenia, Girlhood (Bande de filles) from France and Polish/Danish co-production Ida will all be competing for the European Parliament's annual firlm award. The finalists will be subtitled into the EU's official 24 languages and be screened in all 28 member states during the LUX Film Days this autumn. The winner will be chosen by MEPs and announced on 17 December.
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Next week Committees will hold their final meetings in Brussels before the Summer recess. On the agenda: the Italian Presidency, Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), EU Budget 2014... Read more.
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Commenting on the crash of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Ukrainian territory, the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz stated: “I was shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic crash of the Malaysian airliner which led to the death of so many people. I send my heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and to the national authorities of the affected countries.
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Attacks by the Islamic State (IS) on the Iraqi state and its citizens, including summary executions and the imposition of harsh interpretations of Sharia law, were strongly condemned in a European Parliament resolution passed by a show of hands on Thursday. At the same time, the resolution urges the Iraqi security forces to respect Iraq's international commitments on human rights and fundamental freedoms while fighting the IS and other terrorist groups.
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The European Parliament called for an immediate end to rocket attacks on Israel and to Israeli military action against Gaza in a resolution voted on Thursday The EU foreign policy chief and the member states must do more to support a ceasefire agreement and put an immediate stop to all acts of violence threatening civilians, MEPs said, calling on Israelis and Palestinians to resume direct peace talks.
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The European Parliament called for stronger measures to fight unemployment among young people, including common minimum standards for apprenticeships and decent wages, in a resolution passed on Thursday. EU funding of employment-related programmes should also be increased in future budgets, it added.
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Lithuania should join the euro on 1 January 2015, recommends the European Parliament in a resolution voted on Wednesday. This vote is in line with a European Commission recommendation and political backing from EU heads of state or government at the June EU Council summit. Parliament's recommendation was passed by 545 votes to 116, with 34 abstentions. It "endorses the adoption of the euro by Lithuania on 1 January 2015."
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EU citizens must be better informed of the progress of EU-US talks on the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), said MEPs from all political groups debating the issue with EU trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht on Tuesday afternoon.
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With 422 votes in favour, the European Parliament elected Jean-Claude Juncker in a secret ballot on 15 July as President of the new European Commission to take office on 1 November 2014 for a five-year term. The minimum number of votes required was 376.
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