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MEPs support Agriculture committee report

7 May 2009

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Category: Policy Issues

european–parliament.jpgOn Tuesday 5 May, MEPs in the European Parliament held a plenary session in which they voted on the first reading of a proposed revised Directive on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes (the earlier Directive was EU 86/609).

The MEPs voted overwhelmingly in support of the Agriculture committee report (by just over 84%). That report contained approximately 160 amendments which had previously been endorsed by the committee. Some of those amendments had come from the Research committee and from the Environment committee, both of which had separately considered the European Commission proposal. 

In addition, a few other amendments which were submitted independently were voted through, although the majority were rejected.

The press release from the European Parliament can be found here.

The full text now adopted by the European Parliament can be found here.

The result of this vote does not automatically change the proposed Directive to an amended version. It is in effect an opinion from the European Parliament on the Commission proposal. The Commission has already indicated that it only accepts a minority of the amendments from the European Parliament. This means further work will have to be done in the Council of Ministers (representing 27 governments of EU member states) to ensure a satisfactory outcome.

However, the substantial majority vote achieved sends a very strong signal to the other European institutions involved in the process that the position adopted represents 'the will of the Parliament'. 

There will be elections to the European Parliament in June this year. It will subsequently be the responsibility of the next Parliament to confirm or amend the outgoing Parliament's position. It is unusual for a new Parliament to re-open a position which was passed with such a substantial majority.

The new Parliament will have to finalise the second reading and negotiate with Member State representatives to conclude work on the Directive.