Setting a budget is a difficult exercise at the best of times. Even when money is plentiful, it is never unlimited, so tough choices have to be made. Now imagine 27 countries, all with their own of difficulties and preferences, having to decide about billions of euros for a seven-year period in the midst of the biggest economic crisis since the great depression.
With full tanks, all systems checked and automatic launch sequence ignited, the European Parliament is ready for lift-off. MEPs achieved much in the first part of 2012 that will make a noticeable difference to the everyday life of ordinary citizens, such as lower roaming charges and killing off the controversial anti-counterfeiting agreement. However, there is much to be done in the months to come.
Watching 'Science: It's A Girl Thing', the video produced by the European Commission to encourage schoolgirls to take up further study in science, engineering and technology, took me back to the bad old days of teenage science.
Passport-free travel is one of the perks of living in the EU, so what sort of crisis would constitute a valid reason for lifting that prerogative? MEPs have been asked to consider in what exceptional circumstances member states within the Schengen area would be allowed to reintroduce internal border checks.
The European Parliament has always argued that the EU should have its own resources. Today 75% of the EU's budget comes from national contributions based on gross national income. A contribution based on value-added tax accounts for a further 11%, while traditional own resources such as customs duties, agricultural duties and sugar levies come to 13%.
The message board Reddit has released the first draft of a crowd-sourced bill to protect internet freedom. The 'act' is intended as an alternative ...