Economic crisis, international conflict and disaster relief are just some of the topics MEPs will be debating in the upcoming Strasbourg plenary. Europeans will also commemorate the first European Day for the Victims of Terrorism on 11 March, the sixth an
Europe is rallying around the victims of the crisis. On Tuesday MEPs should authorise the payment of 6.2 million euros. This money is to retrain those made redundant in the German car industry. Aid should be provided to workers in Lithuania. Now we are trying to support them with transition measures to get higher qualifications and to come back to the labour market. It needs some time and we are also working on a simplification of procedures so that it doesn’t take months for the budgetary authority to give the green light. On Wednesday, the EU’s foreign policy will be under scrutiny. In the wait for the new European diplomatic service led by Catherine Ashton, the EU's foreign policy chief, MEPs will review foreign policy in 2008. Parliamentarians will also vote on the UN’s Goldstone report, which denounces war crimes committed by Israel and Hamas during the Gaza conflict a year ago. It is contested by both parties. When there are strong suspicions of human rights violations, and even more so in the case of the Goldstone report that deals with war crimes not to act would clearly make us passive accomplices. On Thursday, MEPs will consider how to help the victims of Chile's earthquake, which caused over 700 deaths. Those affected by Storm Xynthia in France and the floods in Madeira will also be at the heart of MEPs’ concerns. Funds should be made available by the EU to assist them. 11 March is also the European Day for the Victims of Terrorism and marks the sixth anniversary of the bloody bomb attacks in Madrid in 2004.