Ukraine and Moldova deserve EU candidate status now
The EPP Group wants EU leaders to give the green light at their European Summit next week to the swift granting of EU candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova following the applications made by the two countries. “We strongly appeal to you to give EU candidate status to Ukraine. They are fighting for our values. If Zelensky asks us if their fight is worth it, if they are welcome, we must say yes! And just like Ukraine, we must support Moldova as well. They have chosen freedom and democracy and their future is in Europe”, says Manfred Weber MEP, Chairman of the EPP Group. “Ukraine is already a member of the European family - it signed its membership request of the EU in its blood, while the authorities of the Republic of Moldova and its citizens have proven, beyond any doubt during these times of war, that they are acting in a European spirit. We urge European leaders to honour their aspirations by granting candidate status and by providing political protection to the two countries. Both states deserve our support in deeds, not only in words”, says Rasa Juknevičienė MEP, Vice-Chair of the EPP Group responsible for Foreign Affairs.
Fit for 55: new compromise protects European jobs
Next week on Wednesday, the plenary of the European Parliament will make another attempt at adopting three files from the Fit for 55 climate package, which created discord during the last plenary, namely the EU Emissions Trading System, the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism and the Social Climate Fund. The EPP Group has been the deal-maker and bridge-builder for a new reasonable compromise, which sticks to the previously agreed target to reduce CO2 emissions by 55% by 2030, while at the same time protecting jobs in Europe and providing breathing space for European industry. The negotiated compromise is now backed by the EPP, S&D and Renew Groups. The EPP Group wants decarbonisation, not de-industrialisation.
New pesticide rules mustn't hamper food production in times of war
Faced with sky-high food prices and millions of tons of wheat stuck in Ukrainian silos, the European Commission will present new rules on Wednesday on the sustainable use of pesticides and on nature restoration. The proposal on pesticides will likely suggest legally-binding action to reduce pesticide use and risks by 50% by 2030 in every Member State. The EPP Group is convinced that in light of the global food crisis as a consequence of Russia’s war in Ukraine, Europe must protect its farmers and the food they produce in the EU. We also see that in the situation of a food crisis, Europe should increase its food production, not decrease it. The EPP Group continues to call for a thorough impact assessment on the proposals.
Developers of Pegasus spyware to be quizzed by MEPs
On Tuesday, a senior representative of the NSO Group, the developers of the controversial Pegasus spyware, will be quizzed by Parliament’s Special Inquiry Committee which was launched in April to investigate the abuse of surveillance technologies in the EU. The committee was set up following revelations that some governments within the EU and beyond may have used Pegasus to spy on opposition politicians, journalists, lawyers and activists. For the EPP Group, it is crucial that spyware is not used against political opponents or civil society representatives. Safeguarding privacy, media freedom and freedom of speech is of the utmost importance to the EPP Group, which will continue to actively examine risks stemming from the abuse of surveillance spyware, as well as to develop policy solutions to protect Union laws and citizens’ rights.
Croatia to become the 20th member of the Eurozone
On Monday, the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee will vote on Siegfried Mureșan's Report taking stock of the progress made by Croatia on the road to the Eurozone. There is no doubt that the country fulfils all the legal and technical criteria for joining the single currency and the EPP Group fully backs its adhesion.
Store more gas, but not from Russia
On Thursday, the plenary of the European Parliament will vote on new rules that will oblige EU governments to fill their gas storages ahead of next winter and in the coming year, as well as to ensure that the owners and operators of these storage systems do not put the security of energy supply at risk. These rules were agreed with the EU Member States in a very short time span. “What is at stake here, is securing gas supplies for next winter for all Europeans - citizens, protected customers, SMEs, energy-intensive industries. This is why it is remarkable that we now have an EU-wide target for filling gas storages by 1 November 2022”, said Jerzy Buzek MEP, the European Parliament Chief Negotiator on the Gas Storage Regulation.
No money without conditions fulfilled, Poland included
On Thursday, the European Parliament votes on the first Implementation Report on the EU's Coronavirus Recovery Fund, the so-called Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). Progress is being made, but EU Member States must use the fund better. The fact that billions of Euros of the money have not yet been accessed is a great concern. The war in Ukraine has highlighted the urgent need for the EU to diversify energy supplies and end its dependence on Russian energy. Member States are encouraged to fully utilise the potential that the RRF provides by investing in energy infrastructure upgrades and increasing renewable supplies, for example. Over €200 billion in loans are also still available under the RRF. The EPP Group underlines that the Commission must thoroughly scrutinise the fulfilment of the RRF milestones before making payments to Member States - including Poland. Furthermore, there should be no release of RRF funds to Poland until authorities there comply with ECJ rulings. All Member States must respect the rule of law and fulfil RRF targets.
Lagarde needs to fight inflation now
Christine Lagarde will be in Parliament‘s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee on Monday for an exchange of views with MEPs. As inflation is currently hovering at around four times the target level, the EPP Group will remind her that there is a real urgency to act. The ECB has still not arrived at full inflation-fighting mode. Lagarde should take the Federal Reserve as an example and raise rates by half a percentage point as soon as possible. This would signal to the markets that the ECB means business. If the ECB fails to act decisively now, there is a real risk that we end up in an inflationary spiral and in a world of stagflation.
Putting care at the heart of the EU agenda
On Tuesday, Parliament's Committees on Employment and Women's Rights will vote on the joint Report 'Towards a common European action on Care', calling for a European Care Strategy. The Report calls for the harnessing of EU funds to improve the provision of care across the EU, with targets based on reliable data; supporting all carers in their work and recognising their skills; positioning workers to take advantage of future care jobs while boosting the labour market participation of women; and adapting to a less female-dependent care model. The EPP Group has been calling for a European Care Strategy for several years.