MEPs on Tuesday (23 October) approved the 2010 accounts of the EU's agencies for environment, food safety and medicines, but not the accounts of the Council of Ministers. Approval of spending by the three agencies was withheld earlier this year, when MEPs sought clarification on apparent conflicts of interest. The plenary overruled the budgetary-control committee, which voted earlier this month to refuse approval of the environment agency's accounts.
MEPs on Tuesday voted to make trade in pharmaceuticals from Israel easier. The vote – 379 in favour, 230 against and 41 abstentions – ends two years of contentious debate in the Parliament. MEPs who oppose the move fear that it sends the wrong signal to Israel at a time when the peace process is frozen; supporters say it is a technical trade protocol with safeguards against imports from occupied territories.
MEPs have called on EU member states to impose a travel ban on Russian officials involved in the death three years ago of Sergei Magnitsky, and to freeze their assets. The resolution also calls for an independent investigation into the case. Magnitsky, a lawyer, died in police custody after being refused medical care.
Year of citizens
The Parliament has voted to designate 2013 the European Year of Citizens, which is supposed to raise awareness of the rights stemming from EU citizenship. The vote, on Tuesday, formalises an earlier agreement with the Council of Ministers.