Page last updated at 10:07 GMT, Friday, 14 October 2011 11:07 UK
European Parliament: Pick of the week

Barroso sets out 'roadmap to recovery'

Jose Manuel Barroso outlined his plan to end the eurozone crisis.

The Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso announced his five point plan to try and end the eurozone crisis, during a debate with MEPs on 12 October. The debate was held ahead of the next summit of EU leaders, which is expected to discuss his recovery plans. Included in the plan is a call for banks to set aside more assets to guarantee against future losses. To applause from many MEPs he said that banks who were receiving EU bailouts should stop paying out bonuses. He had criticism for Slovak politicians who rejected the next stage of the bailout, accusing the socialist opposition of engaging in "short term politicking".

'Hypocrisy' attack over Schengen expansion

MEPs questioned the European Commission and the Council of Ministers of the accession to the Schengen zone of Bulgaria and Romania.

MEPs made a stinging attack on the Dutch and Finnish governments for their veto over the decision to allow Bulgaria and Romania to join the EU's Schengen zone of free movement. French socialist Marie-Christine Vergiat claimed the decision was driven by "xenophobia and fear". However Flemish eurosceptic MEP Philip Claes said there were real concerns over "an influx of illegal immigrants". Home Affairs Commissioner confirmed that the two countries had met all criteria and urged Finland and the Netherlands to drop their opposition, as any expansion to Schengen require unanimity from all EU member states.

Ashton 'shocked and appalled' at Middle East violence

MEPs debated the situation in Bahrain, Egypt, Syria and Yemen.

The EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs urged an end to violence in the Middle East and North Africa, following attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt and continued repression in Bahrain, Syria and Yemen. She accused Yemeni president Saleh of "holding the country to ransom". However Dutch Green MEP Judith Sargentini said the EU should take responsibility for not doing enough to protect human rights, and for exporting surveillance and security technology to countries whose governments repressed their citizens.

Tymoshenko jailing attacked by MEPs

MEPs debated the situation in Ukraine.

In a last-minute addition to the agenda, MEPs held a debate on the recent seven-year sentencing of former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko. She was charged with acting beyond her powers in sealing a gas deal with Russia in 2009, however British Conservative foreign affairs spokesman Charles Tannock described the case as "neo-Soviet and Stalinist". Baroness Ashton said the trial did not live up to international standards but confirmed that negotiations over a trade deal with the country would go ahead.

Obama jobs programme under fire

MEPs criticised Barack Obama's proposed American Jobs Act.

On 13 October, MEPs turned their attention to transatlantic trade, with an attack on US President Obama's proposed American Jobs Act. The draft law includes proposals for funding huge construction projects, however Commissioner Semetas and a number of MEPs described the plans as "protectionist". German MEP Daniel Caspary said it was proof that the US government "is not serious about open market economies", although the Obama proposals were defended by Portuguese communist Ilda Figueiredo who said the EU needed a "jobs pact not a growth pact".

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