MEPs on Tuesday (21 May) adopted a call for annual EU monitoring of national media laws. In a resolution adopted with 539 votes in favour and 70 against, with 78 abstentions, MEPs also asked for a revision of the EU’s directive on audiovisual media services so as to add transparency requirements for media owners, and rules on concentration, conflicts of interest and the provision of political information. MEPs called for guarantees that public media managers and regulatory bodies are adequately shielded against political influence.
MEPs voted overwhelmingly to hold next year’s elections to the European Parliament on 22-25 May instead of 5-8 June. The Council of Ministers is expected to endorse the change within weeks.
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MEPs voted on Tuesday to rubber-stamp an agreement reached in February by member states and Parliament negotiators on a new directive on the safety of offshore oil and gas operations. The rules will require oil and gas firms to prove their ability to cover potential liabilities and to submit major hazard reports and emergency response plans before operations can start.
The plenary on Wednesday (22 May) approved legislation to confer EU-wide validity on protection orders for victims of harassment or domestic violence.
US trade deal
MEPs debated forthcoming negotiations with the US on a free-trade deal late on Wednesday. The Parliament’s trade committee had voted in favour of exempting cultural products from the talks, but there was pressure for reversing this view in advance of the plenary vote today (23 May). The Parliament’s position is not binding on the Council of Ministers, which drafts the negotiating mandate for the European Commission.