Plenary session of the European Parliament” “

The European Parliament (EP) met in plenary session in Brussels from 30 June to 3 July. In the course of the session Greek premier Kostas Simitis summed up the six months’ Greek Presidency of the EU. Important milestones in the process of European integration were passed: the signing of the Treaties of membership with 10 new member states, the presentation of the draft European Constitution, the adoption of the EU policy on asylum and immigration, the first phase in the reform of the common agricultural policy. The one blight on the record was the failure to achieve the reunification of Cyprus. GMO: the European Parliament confirmed the European line on genetically modified organisms (GMO). The new EU Regulation on GMO makes it compulsory to report the presence of GMOs on the labels of products, if the GMO content of the product in question exceeds the threshold of 0.9%. It also enforces regulations on traceability to protect both farmers and consumers. Environment: the EP approved two provisions that reinforce EU strategy for the application of the Kyoto Protocol. One provision is the reform of the Directive on packaging and waste generated by packaging, which will permit the percentage of recycled waste out of the total of urban solid wastes to be doubled (from 17% in 1999 to 30/35% by 2005). The other is the Directive that opens up the market of greenhouse gas emission quotas. Transport: two main issues were tackled: the first is the van Miert Plan of priority projects for transeuropean transport networks (TEN), which has identified 22 priorities of which 4 in Italy. In spite of its substantially favourable view of the Plan, the EP expressed concern about the lack of available financial resources and the risk of projects remaining incomplete. The second issue concerned the Directive on the “single European air space”, a step towards the harmonization of the sector. The next plenary session of the EP will be held in Strasbourg in the first week of September.

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