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newsPlenary highlights: consumer rights, homelessness, media freedom

MEPs approved new rights for consumers, called for an end to homelessness and set out their position on the EU’s industrial strategy during the 23-26 November plenary session.

Thanks to new collective redress rules Parliament approved on Tuesday, EU consumers will have the possibility to come together to defend their rights in domestic and cross-border cases of unlawful practices.

On Wednesday MEPS called on the Commission to encourage a culture of reuse by making repairs more appealing, systematic, and cost-efficient. They also want better labelling of products regarding their durability, the promotion of local second-markets and repairers and clear rules for "green" claims in the advertising.

Parliament demanded tougher product safety rules to ensure all products sold in the EU are safe, irrespective of whether they are sold online or offline or were manufactured within or outside the EU.

In a debate on Wednesday, MEPs urged member states to agree on the 2021-2027 budget and thus allow EU funds to flow to help alleviate the Covid-19 crisis. They also pointed out that Parliament needs time to consider and vote on any EU-UK deal.

MEPs set out their priorities for a future industrial strategy sustaining sovereignty, strategic autonomy, competitiveness and research and innovation in the EU. In a resolution adopted on Wednesday, they urge the Commission to come up with a revised proposal reflecting the impact of the pandemic in the industrial sector and supporting businesses, especially SMEs though the necessary green and digital transitions.

On Tuesday, MEPs urged the EU to end homelessness by 2030. They want measures to integrate homeless people into the labour market and provide them with equal access to health care and education.

MEPs discussed the new EU pharmaceutical strategy on Thursday. Parliament has called for increased manufacturing capacity in Europe to ensure safe and affordable medicines for all.

On Tuesday, Parliament approved €823 million to assist in rebuilding after an earthquake in Croatia and floods in Poland as well as helping seven countries tackle the Covid-19 health emergency: Portugal, Greece, Croatia, Germany, Spain, Hungary and Ireland.

Parliament supported media freedom and hit out at attempts to undermine journalists in a resolution adopted on Wednesday

MEPs denounced the Polish Constitutional Tribunal’s October ruling, which effectively bans abortion in a resolution adopted on Thursday.

MEPs warned that Turkey’s decision to “open” the sealed-off suburb of Varosha undermines the prospect of a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem in a resolution adopted on Thursday.