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Labour MEPs this week backed a report calling for the strict enforcement of existing rules on the transport of animals and tougher penalties for offenders – including sanctions against EU countries that fail to apply the rules.

The report also called for stricter checks and better transport vehicles, which provide appropriate feeding and drinking systems and temperature control (with journey logs and transport plans only approved if the weather forecast is 30°C or less). The report also called for a specified minimum headroom and for animal transport times to be as short as possible.

Laboour MEPs also supported calls for the European Commission to amend its laws to prohibit live animal exports to third countries, that journeys of all animals should be no longer than eight hours - with a maximum of four hours for animals destined for the slaughter house - and a maximum journey time of 90 minutes and maximum distance of 50km for unweaned animals.

The report also calls on the EU to enforce existing rules and not be afraid to impose sanctions on EU countries that fail to apply the rules correctly, with tougher penalties for offenders including confiscating of vehicles and compulsory retraining of staff.

For many years, NGOs and other bodies have been reporting breaches of existing legislation from many different countries, with the European Court of Auditors recently publishing a report that highlighted the failure of some EU countries to properly implement animal welfare legislation.

In respect of Brexit, if the UK leaves the EU, especially if it leaves without a deal, there are fears that animal welfare standards could deteriorate, as under WTO rules, export bans are not allowed.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Labour MEPs back more humane conditions for animal transport and tougher penalties for offenders

Labour MEPs this week backed a report calling for the strict enforcement of existing rules on the transport of animals and tougher penalties for offenders – including sanctions against EU...

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Labour MEPs this week voted for a report calling for a new EU strategy on robotics and artificial intelligence that has the potential to bring huge benefits to Europe's industries, economies and citizens, including in the key areas of manufacturing, health, energy and transport.

To ensure the benefits are fully felt, the report calls on national governments to develop new training programmes that focus on developing the digital skills of workers, especially in those sectors impacted most by automation, to enable them to seize the opportunities offered by the new jobs created by artificial intelligence.

In particular, Labour MEPs and our Socialists and Democrats Group colleagues have called for greater emphasis on the need to focus on education, training and digital skills to address the negative effects the advance of AI will have on the labour market, and for greater respect for European values, human rights, human dignity, data protection and privacy.

Labour MEPs believe there is an urgent need to address the impact AI and robotics might have in labour markets and on the replacement of some workers - we must focus on the retraining of workers, education, reskilling and to enable workers to transition to future jobs in future industries and avoid unemployment.

The report also addresses the issue of liability, in particular in the transport sector and with regard to automated vehicles; the importance of investment to develop AI in Europe through flexible regulatory frameworks that encourage innovation; and the need to promote only ethically-embedded AI in the EU, ensuring transparency and accountability as regards algorithms and ensuring consent from citizens when personal data is used.

The malicious use of AI is also examined, for example its use for surveillance and social control programmes in countries like China and Russia, including the dangers of AI being used to influence the democratic process, as has happened with third country interference in the likes of the 2016 US Presidential election and UK Brexit referendum.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Labour MEPs: EU strategy on robots and AI will bring huge benefits to manufacturing, health, energy and transport

Labour MEPs this week voted for a report calling for a new EU strategy on robotics and artificial intelligence that has the potential to bring huge benefits to Europe's industries,...

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The European Parliament this week voted through new laws that will cut costs for businesses that trade with and consumers who purchase goods and services from all other EU countries - savings British companies and holidaymakers will miss out on under a Tory Brexit, Labour MEPs warned.

The proposals to reduce charges for cross-border transaction fees will ensure the same charges for euro-transactions as for transactions in national currencies – presently, for example, a cross-border payment in euros from a non-eurozone country will incur a fee of up to €20, compared to intra-eurozone cross-border payments which in many cases cost nothing.

The new rules will also ensure greater transparency on cross-currency card payments, so consumers purchasing goods or services while abroad using their domestic credit or debit card will immediately know exactly how much they are paying if they pay in their home currency or the local currency.

These new proposals will bring down costs for businesses in non-eurozone countries like the UK that buy and source raw materials and other goods from within the eurozone - yet if the UK leaves the EU and single market, British companies will not benefit from reductions in cross-border charges, and consumers will not benefit from reduced prices at home.

The new laws are designed to create a level playing field for British and all other European businesses that don’t have the euro as their currency. Businesses from outside the eurozone currently pay £1.3 billion in rip-off cross-border charges for euro payments, with charges of up to €20 a time.

And for holidaymakers, the new proposals on dynamic currency conversion will ensure people travelling abroad will know at once exactly how much they are paying in their own currency when using a credit card in other EU countries, and will not return home to unexpected bills - yet outside the single market and EU under a Tory Brexit, British holidaymakers will not benefit from these new measures.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Under Tory Brexit, UK businesses and consumers will miss out on new EU proposals to slash transaction fees and cross-border charges

The European Parliament this week voted through new laws that will cut costs for businesses that trade with and consumers who purchase goods and services from all other EU countries...

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