Opinions 2013 11 21
V.BLINKEVIČIŪTĖ “In European Parliament – important issues for our country“
I am very glad that our European Parliament progressive Socialists and Democrats alliance supported the candidacy of good friend of Lithuania and the current President of the EP, our former group chairman, Martin Schulz for President of the European Commision. This nomination got Lithuania`s Social democratic party council`s approval. For the President of the Commission elections Party of European Socialists (PES) must present single common candidate.
The European Parliament plenary session in October was fruitful and included a lot of important issues for Lithuania.
I can‘t exclude ``milk war`` - we Lithuanian MEPs, together with colleagues from other countries urged the EU to defend Lithuania against Russian pressure. During the debate held by European Parliament we agreed that our neighbor`s actions against Lithuania are a challange for the EU as well, and require a common response. Speaking on behalf of the EP Socialists and Democrats group, I urged the Commission to work together in order to prevent such a discriminatory policy today and in the future.
EU Trade Commisioner Karel de Gucht noted that these measures that have been used by Russia violated rules of the World Trade Organisation. The positions of other Lithuanian MEPs that participated in this discussion was strongly supported by our EP S&D group president H.Swoboda.
Lithuanian fisherman also received good news from Strasbourg. We have endorsed a new EU – Mauritania Fisheries Agreement protocol that will be valid till the end of 2014. Up to 65% of total Lithuania`s catches are being caught in Mauritanian waters, so this document is extremely important for lithuanian fisherman.
We also voted on allowing shale gas exploitation and extraction only after an enviromental impact assessment. An expansion was made in a list of investment projects‘ evaluation criteria. From now on the projects impact on biodiversity, natural recources, climate change, natural and man made disasters, will have to be taken into account. Project evaluation procedures were simplified, broadened public access to the project evaluation.
During the session we voted on Tobacco Directive which aims to reduce the appeal of tobacco products and in wich lobbyist showed extremely high interest. I was impressed how my friend mr. Vytenis Andriukaitis introduced the Directive. The draft of the directive included prohibitation of mint, fruit or other flavor addictives from which tobacco products become more appealing, and prohibitation of small cigarette packs that contains less than 20 cigarettes.In addition,offers were made to leave larger packaging space for health warnings.
In order to combat the illegal products we are suggesting to oblige EU countries to ensure that external packaging and packages for trasnport of all tobacco products are labeled with unique number wich would allow to determine the transport route from the place of production to the first retail space. Further negotiations on the Directive has now moved to the EU council.
Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament