Od 23.02.2024 9:09 Do 01.03.2024 9:39

The Week ahead

Take a look at what we have coming up over the next seven days. Explore our EPP Group agenda and the main issues we’ll be focusing on in the week ahead: from upcoming debates in the European Parliament on important legislative and policy issues to the meetings that our Members will be attending.

01.03.2024

The Week ahead

Europe must step up defence capabilities

Uniforms

“No matter who sits in the White House, Europe must be able to defend itself,” says Manfred Weber MEP, Chairman of the EPP Group, ahead of the Parliament’s key debate on EU defence on Wednesday. Europe should develop its own deterrent capabilities and prepare itself for any potential conflict, and must prepare for a scenario in which the US no longer defends the continent against Vladimir Putin. The setting up of a true European defence union is of the utmost importance. This union should include a missile defence and a cyber shield, but also improve our ammunition capabilities through joint European procurement. The EPP Group has already taken the first step by securing an increase in the European Defence Fund. The next step must be the appointment of a European Commissioner for Defence and the establishment of a dedicated EU defence budget.

Democratic world will continue Navalny’s fight

Russian

On Wednesday, in the presence of Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of the late Russian opposition leader, the European Parliament will pay tribute to Alexei Navalny. His death has further strengthened the EPP Group's resolve to protect democracy and freedom and to help Ukraine win. “Putin murdered Navalny out of fear. But Navalny was never feared Putin. Navalny's example should inspire us to stop being afraid of Putin too," insists Rasa Juknevičienė MEP, EPP Group’s Vice-Chair for Foreign Affairs. “Putin has killed Navalny, but he will not be able to kill the democratic future of Russia. We will continue Alexei Navalny's fight, the whole democratic world will continue his fight," stresses Andrius Kubilius MEP, the Parliament’s spokesman on Russia. Following Yulia Navalnaya’s speech in the Parliament, Members will debate what can be done to support political prisoners and oppressed civil society in Russia. A parliamentary resolution will be voted on Thursday.

0.25% of GDP for weapons for Ukraine

Ukraine

Two years after the beginning of Russia’s fully-fledged invasion of Ukraine, the EPP Group reiterates its unwavering solidarity with the people and leadership of Ukraine. Ukraine must become independent and sovereign within its internationally recognised borders. “After ten years of war, and two years of full-scale invasion, the Ukrainian nation remains united and refuses to be subjugated back into the servitude of a Russian gulag. We need to support Ukraine, not only as long as it takes, but with whatever it takes. That is why I support the suggestion that every EU Member State should provide 0.25 % of its GDP for weapons deliveries to the country," stresses Michael Gahler MEP and EPP Group spokesman for Foreign Affairs. “Last year, the EU spent less than 0.1% of its total GDP on support for Ukraine. As Europe, we can and must do much more," adds Rasa Juknevičienė MEP, EPP Group’s Vice-Chair for Foreign Affairs. Parliament’s resolution will be voted on Thursday.

Continue humanitarian aid to Gaza

Middle

The war in the Gaza Strip and recent developments in the region will be the subject of another plenary debate on Tuesday. “We are extremely concerned by the recent findings of a Hamas underground installation just below the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) headquarters and, previously, about the involvement of some UNRWA paid staff in the attack on Israel. In discussing the consequences for UNRWA, we must be prudent in our reaction to not subject the Palestinians to a collective punishment if humanitarian aid and other essential services are no longer delivered. We must first find solutions to stabilise the supply of humanitarian aid in an internationally agreed format, and then start discussing ways for a future reformed support framework that prevents a repetition of acts of terror also by UNRWA employed personnel,” insists Michael Gahler MEP, EPP Group spokesman for Foreign Affairs.

Empower young, skilled drivers

Side

Do not burden or discriminate against young or old drivers. The EPP Group wants to empower all drivers, particularly novice drivers, by lowering the age for professional driving licences and better provisions for accompanied driving. On Wednesday, the European Parliament will vote on the new law to modernise the EU's driving licence system. “Driving isn't just a mode of transport. It's a key catalyst for personal empowerment. Let's provide young drivers with the opportunity to hone their skills in real-world conditions, tackling the professional driver shortage while upholding stringent road safety standards," emphasises Elżbieta Łukacijewska MEP, EPP Group chief negotiator on the new rules for driving licences.

Better protect journalists

Slapp

The EPP Group has fought very hard for this: on Tuesday, the plenary will finally adopt 'Daphne’s Law', in memory of the brave Maltese Journalist who was murdered because of her investigations. After this final vote, the Member States must implement measures to better protect journalists and civil society representatives from unfounded claims or abusive court proceedings. “Our position has been clear from the beginning. There should be zero tolerance for silencing those speaking out on issues of public interest,” says Magdalena Adamowicz MEP, the EPP Group's negotiator on the law that aims to prevent legal systems from being abused by those instituting strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs).

€50bn for Ukraine and EU budget boost

Multiannual

The EPP Group will strongly support the Parliament's final endorsement of the revision of the EU’s long-term budget and a new package of financial aid for Ukraine when the final plenary votes are cast on Tuesday. "The revision of the EU's long-term budget, the Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF), means a total increase of €31.6 billion, of which €21 billion is additional fresh money for migration and border management, defence, and support for neighbouring regions amongst other priorities. Vitally, the revised MFF secures the new €50 billion Ukraine Facility. We want Ukraine to benefit from this much-needed aid as soon as possible. After Tuesday's vote, Ukraine could potentially receive the first payment as early as March," says Jan Olbrycht MEP, a lead negotiator on the MFF revision for the Parliament.

EU-Chile trade agreement to cut tariffs on EU exports

EU-Chile

The EPP Group stands for fair and smart trade agreements. The very comprehensive agreement between the EU and Chile will foster mutually beneficial trade relationships. It will eliminate tariffs on 99.9% of EU exports, promote trade, sustainable development and clean energy and improve our access to Critical Raw Materials that are crucial for the green transition. Smaller businesses can take full advantage of the agreement due to reduced red tape through dedicated simplified provisions for SMEs.