The key themes of the last plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg

MEPs met four days last week to discuss and vote on such matters as the financial crisis, the 2012 budget, health and mobility of workers from Romania and Bulgaria into the EU.

On 25 October, the EP called for stricter rules to prevent mafia-style organisations from gaining access to public funds. MEPs urged the Commission to draw up rules to prevent companies linked to organised crime from getting government contracts. They also proposed setting up a special committee “within three months” to investigate the misuse of public funds by criminal organisations and their infiltration into the public sector.

Also on Tuesday, the EP voted on a resolution highlighting the need for a reform of global economic governance to help rebalance the world economy and avoid another slump. MEPs call for a more democratic IMF, an end to banking secrecy, separation of speculative and retail banking, a single EU seat at the IMF and World Bank, and a halt to political exchange rate manipulation.

MEPs discussed the euro-zone summit, on Tuesday and again on Thursday, when they welcomed the decisions taken by leaders to resolve the crisis but also expressed doubts that the proposed measures are far-reaching enough.

Parliament called on all EU countries to allow Bulgarian and Romanian workers full access to their labour markets before the end of the year.

The EU’s 2012 budget was centre stage Wednesday as MEPs agreed on key priorities for funding ahead of negotiations with finance ministers, set to begin in November.

MEPs also came up with proposals for a new skills and jobs agenda, which focuses on how the EU could reach its 75% employment target by 2020.

The problem of antibiotic resistance and the growing danger to humans and animals (it causes around 25,000 deaths in the EU each year and results in €1.5 billion in healthcare costs) led MEPs to call on the EU to promote a more prudent use of antibiotics.

People who are at risk of serious harm if they return to their home country, but who don’t qualify as refugees should get similar rights to refugees as regards work, education, health care and accommodation, according to asylum rules proposals approved on Thursday.

MEPs approved a report about tackling sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography that calls for more investigations and charges to be brought, as well as the removal of child pornography from servers across the EU.

In a resolution Thursday, MEPs condemned the 7-year jail sentence given to Ukraine’s opposition leader. It said that a failure to review Yulia Tymoshenko’s conviction will jeopardise the conclusion of the Association Agreement and its ratification, while pushing the country further away from the realisation of its European perspective.

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