Europe must become more competitive
On Thursday and Friday EU leaders will gather for a European Council summit focusing on the ongoing war in Ukraine, the competitiveness of the European single market and the economy, as well as energy prices and logistics. "If we want to remain sovereign and protect jobs, we must become more competitive," says EPP Group Chairman Manfred Weber. On trade, he points out that Europe is lacking an ambitious approach to new trade agreements: "If we had the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), we would not have to deal with the US Inflation Reduction Act now, because our Canadian and Mexican friends have full access to the US."
Parliament investigates Spanish border incidents
The EPP Group demands explanations about what happened at the Melilla border last summer. The Interior Minister of Spain, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, will appear on Wednesday in Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs to give explanations for the tragedy that occurred on the Moroccan border with the Spanish city of Melilla last June. At least 24 immigrants died trying to cross the border and the Spanish Minister is requested to clarify what happened. This appearance will take place on the initiative of the EPP Group.
Does buying Chinese products finance Russia's war?
The EPP Group is extremely concerned about China's relations with Russia during the war. Chinese president Xi Jinping will pay a state visit to Russian president Vladimir Putin on Monday. "Do you really want us to wonder every time we consider buying a Chinese product, whether it will finance Putin's war?", asks Radoslav Sikorski MEP, the EPP Group's spokesman on China, ahead of the visit. "China's support for Russia's war in Ukraine could kill globalisation, thanks to which China has lifted a billion people out of poverty. It would be costly for them and for us, it would again divide the world into warring blocs", warns Sikorski.
Do not reduce food production during the war in Ukraine
The European Union must refrain from any new legislation that would increase food prices across Europe even further. On Wednesday, the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development will hold a debate with the Ukrainian National Agrarian Forum and EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski. The EPP Group underlines that the Russian aggression in Ukraine has jeopardised food security in Europe and calls on the European Commission to take firm action to relieve the situation. On average, food prices in the EU increased by 18% since the beginning of the war. This is not the time for new legislation that cuts European food production.
Putin, stop using the church to legitimise war
Religion must not be a foreign policy tool in Putin's hands. The Kremlin has been using religion as a tool to legitimise the war, to control society, eliminate alternative sources of moral authority and to extend his influence beyond Russia's borders. The European Commission has proposed sanctions against Patriarch Kirill of Moscow due to his support for the Russian military aggression against Ukraine. That is why the EPP Group will hold an Intercultural and Religious Dialogue in Vilnius to discuss the reaction of churches and religious communities to war and conflict on Wednesday. The meeting will feature the spiritual leader of all Orthodox believers worldwide, Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, and Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė.
Help those who fight for democracy in Russia
The Russia after Putin must be a democratic Russia. Dmitry Muratov, 2021 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and editor in chief of Russian independent daily Novaya Gazeta will be the special guest of the European Parliament’s Special Committee on Foreign Interference on Tuesday. “Repressions in Russia and the terrible Russian perpetrated homicide in Ukraine are very strongly interconnected. For long-term peace in Europe, Putin must not only lose his criminal war against Ukraine, but Russians must transform back to a democracy. We want the EU institutions to work out a clear strategy of how we assist a democratic Russia and its fighters in their fight both in the country and those who were forced to leave it,” stressed Andrius Kubilius MEP, European Parliament’s spokesman on Russia.
Make Recovery Fund spending more transparent
The EPP Group wants transparency of and accountability for the use of the so called Recovery and Resilience Facility, the EU‘s flagship initiative to mitigate the impact of the Covid pandemic. On Wednesday, Parliament‘s Committee for Budgetary Control will discuss how the European Commission controls the use of the 723,8 billion Euro in the Fund. They will discuss a report of the European Court of Auditors which points out that assurance and accountability gaps remain at EU level. “The report has important recommendations for improving control checks. The EPP is the guardian of tax payer’s money and we never give up monitoring how such funds are used, how the evaluation of milestones take place and where the EU funds end up", says Petri Sarvamaa MEP, the EPP Group's spokesman in the Committee for Budgetary Control. On Thursday, the Committee will discuss how to prevent EU funds from ending up with individuals or companies tied to the EU-Russia sanctions lists.
Ensure Polish judges‘ independence
Poland’s judicial system must adhere to European standards. Recent rule of law developments in the country remain extremely worrying. On Thursday, the Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee will discuss the so-called milestones, the conditions that the PiS government must meet in order to mobilise EU funds from the Recovery Fund. In particular, MEPs will debate the referral of the planned changes of the Supreme Court to the politicised Constitutional Tribunal. Another topic will be the European Commission’s lawsuit against Poland at the European Court of Justice over challenges to the primacy of EU law made by the same politicised Tribunal in two rulings in 2021.