The European Parliament next sits in plenary in Brussels on 27 April 2005.

 

EU
services market


This week the European Parliament will start discussions on
a controversial proposal to liberalise the EU services market. German socialist
MEP Evelyne Gebhardt, who is charged with steering the new law through parliament,
will present her amendments to the directive at a meeting of the Internal
Market and Consumer Protection Committee on Tuesday. The EU's industry Commissioner,
Günter Verheugen, will also take part.

The directive has loomed large in
French debate ahead of next month’s referendum on the European Constitution.
Mrs Gebhardt's proposals might help soothe worries over the bill, as her changes
would seriously water down the Commission's plan to throw open the sector.

But
Eastern European countries, Conservatives in the European Parliament
and the European business community believe the original directive would stimulate
Europe's ailing economy by cutting red tape and facilitating cross-border
trade
in services.

 

Chinese textiles

The European Parliament will consider the
future of the textile and clothing industry on Tuesday. Europe's powerful
textile sector is putting pressure on the EU to curb the rising tide of cheap
imports
from China. The US government is looking into import restrictions on
Chinese cotton trousers, cotton knit shirts as well as cotton and synthetic
fabric
underwear.

 

ITER

On Monday, the Competitiveness council will exchange
views
on the 7th Framework Programme on Research. The ministers will also hear
a Commission
report about the future location of the experimental nuclear reactor,
ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor), following the
Commission's recent meetings with the Japanese research minister. Work on the
ITER
project
is due to begin later this year, but the six parties involved (EU,
USA, Japan, Russia, China and South Korea) cannot reach consensus on the
site for
the prestigious
investment.

 

Working time Directive

On Wednesday the Employment Committee
will have a first reading vote on the amendment of Directive 93/104/EC
concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time.

 

Food labelling
health claims


On
Thursday the Environment Committee will adopt a draft report
on the
amendment of Directive 2001/13/EC concerning nutrition and health
claims in food
labelling.

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