The deal is to save EU businesses over €500m a year, paid now in tariffs on goods
Maria Koleva, Brussels
Members of the EP finally propped up on 15 February the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, known as CETA, which will scrap the trade barriers between the businesses of the two parties. The deal was passed by 408 votes to 254, with 33 abstentions.
Investment growth remains subdued, the Winter Forecast shows
The European Commission has raised its outlook for the EU's economic growth, saying Europe's recovery remains on track but is vulnerable to the "exceptional risks" of Brexit and the new US administration.
 
MEPs backed mandatory checks to all who enter or exit air, sea and land frontiers
Maria Koleva, Brussels
Systematic checks against databases of lost and stolen documents will be introduced for each person that crosses external borders of the Union, including third country nationals.
 
EU urged to spend more on military
European NATO members must spend more on defence or risk losing US support. The ultimatum came last Wednesday during US Defence Secretary James Mattis's first visit to the NATO headquarters in Brussels since he was sworn in last month.
Brussels proposes changes to EU decision-making process
The Commission pro­posed last Tuesday changes to the EU's decision-making process, in a bid to increase transparency and accountability in procedures for implementing legislation, the EU press service reported.
Cutting emissions allowances, funding low-carbon innovation
Plans to boost greenhouse-gas emission curbs through the EU carbon market (EU ETS), so as to bring EU climate policy in line with the aims of the Paris agreement, were last Wednesday backed by Parliament.
Protect whistle-blowers across Europe, MEPs urge
An “effective and comprehensive European whistle-blower protection programme” should be proposed immediately by the Commission, Parliament urged in a resolution voted last Tuesday, the EP press service reported.
Frontex: 2016 migration high
In 2016, migration pressure at Europe's external borders remained high with the detection of over half a million illegal border-crossings, European border agency Frontex states in its annual report, published last Wednesday.
Hungary to 'container' migrants
Hungary announced last week a new plan to house all refugees in shipping containers clustered into camps along its borders.
Romanian parliament agrees anti-corruption referendum
Romania's parliament unanimously endorsed last week a plan to hold a national referendum on anti-corruption reforms after mass street protests made the government back-pedal over a controversial corruption decree, news wires reported.
Moscovici: Talks advance, Grexit is no longer threat
Greek bailout talks are making progress and Grexit is no longer a threat, but more work is needed to bridge the gap between the negotiating parties, the Economy Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said last Wednesday.
MEPs recommend fundamental reforms
Three resolutions which clarify Parliament’s position on the future of the EU were approved by Parliament last Thursday.
Fast-tracking approval of low-risk pesticides
Low-risk biological pesticides, including those made from bio-organisms, pheromones or essential oils, could replace conventional ones that are suspected of harming the environment and human health.
EU-wide rules on robots needed
EU-wide rules are needed for the fast-evolving field of robotics, e.g. to enforce ethical standards or establish liability for accidents involving driverless cars, MEPs said in a resolution voted last Thursday.
In Brief
.
Austria sues Airbus over alleged Eurofighter fraud
 
Austria filed last Thursday a lawsuit against Airbus and the Eurofighter consortium, alleging wilful deception and fraud linked to a €2bn order for Eurofighter jets in 2003, according to the defence ministry. Following an investigation, the ministry believed Airbus and Eurofighter had misled Austria about the purchase price, delivering and equipment of the jets. Damages could amount to €1.1bn, Defence Minister Hans Peter Doskozil said at a news conference in Vienna. Austria initially ordered 18 Eurofighter jets, but in 2007 reduced the order to 15. In 2013 it ordered a purchase review following bribery allegations.

MEPs insist on further legal reforms in Albania, Bosnia
 
Albania should step up the pace of judicial reform, as a key to starting EU accession negotiations, while Bosnia needs to overcome its ethnic and political divisions and remain united throughout the EU membership application evaluation process, MEPs said last Wednesday in two separate resolutions. While Albania's progress on EU-related reforms is welcomed, the adoption of a wide-ranging judicial reform is a milestone on the country's path towards joining the Union, rapporteur Knut Fleckenstein said. Separately, MEPs stressed that the EU remains committed to Bosnia's EU perspective.

Campaign asks for granting EU passports to UK citizens
 
A campaign for issuing EU passports to any citizens at risk of losing rights and freedoms as a result of Brexit, was launched last Monday. The 'Choose Freedom Campaign' is an online referendum on the granting of EU Passports to any European. It was launched by Glyn Hughes, an engineering designer from Derbyshire, in conjunction with Sue Wilson, chairperson of Bremain in Spain, a group campaigning for the UK to remain in the EU and to protect the rights of Britons living and working in Spain. Schemes to attain EU citizenship from the EU have not been successful to date.

.