Environmental issues were in the spotlight at the January plenary session in Strasbourg, with a proposed ban on electrical pulse fishing, new objectives for energy consumption, a strategy to reduce plastic in the EU, and much more.
Three prime ministers visited the Parliament: Ireland's Leo Varadkar debated Europe's future, while Jüri Ratas discussed Estonia's outgoing EU Council presidency. Boyko Borissov outlined plans for Bulgaria's presidency. A clean energy package would cut energy consumption in the EU by 35% from 2005 levels by 2030. Members of Parliament called for an increased use of renewable energy across Europe. Around 25.8 million tonnes of plastic are generated in the EU every year. The EU is launching a plastics strategy to cut down on waste, modernise recycling and invest in research of innovative materials. With 402 votes to 232, Parliament called for a ban on electrical pulse fishing, a practice that pushes fish up from the seabed and into nets using electric currents. MEPs still have to convince state governments. MEPs debated the rise of Russian influence in EU countries. Back in 2016, they had warned that the Kremlin was stepping up its propaganda efforts.