Call for European Commission to asses rule of law risks in Spain
The EPP Group demands that the European Commission assess whether the rule of law has been respected in Spain, following the agreement between the Spanish Socialists and the Catalan separatists. This agreement includes an amnesty law for all those convicted or prosecuted for the organising and execution of the illegal independence referendum in Catalonia in 2017 in exchange for the seven votes that the Socialists needed to remain in government. Wiping out a decade of judicial work, with a law approved by a majority in the Parliament is reminiscent of what has happened in other countries where the European Commission has raised the red flag. As Manfred Weber MEP, the Chairman of the EPP Group and Dolors Montserrat MEP, Vice-President of the EPP Group and Head of the Spanish Delegation, have said, the Commission should examine this concern "because the provisions of the amnesty pact risk violating the separation of powers and undermining the independence of the judiciary."
Hamas must pay the price, not Gaza
The EPP Group has condemned in the strongest possible terms the terrorist attacks by Hamas against Israeli citizens and recognised Israel's right to self-defence as enshrined and constrained by international law. Israel's actions must strictly comply with international humanitarian law. On Wednesday, the plenary of the European Parliament will debate the humanitarian situation in Gaza and the need for the release of all hostages and an immediate humanitarian truce. “The despicable attacks by the terrorist group Hamas and the Israeli response risk leading to an intensified cycle of violence in the region. Such a prospect must be prevented by an agreed agenda between the EU and the USA. After ending Hamas' control of Gaza, we must find solutions first to stabilise the supply of humanitarian aid and establish a Gaza administration in an internationally agreed format that is no threat to Israel, that serves the needs of the population and can start reconstruction. EU and US should also be coordinating the way forward with each other towards a peace process that aims to eventually achieve an agreed two-state solution," says Michael Gahler MEP, EPP Group Spokesman for Foreign Affairs. "It is essential to understand that we face a common threat, and the answer can only be unity," underlines Antonio López-Istúriz White MEP, Chairman of the Parliament's Delegation for relations with Israel.
Let farmers produce food
The EPP Group will not support legislation that hinders farmers' ability to produce food or reduces overall food production. The European Parliament will debate on Tuesday and vote on Wednesday on whether to reduce the use of pesticides in Europe by 50% by 2030. 'We all want fewer plant protection products on our plates. However, reducing pesticides without suitable low-risk alternatives must not make food more expensive, reduce food production in Europe, or lead to farmers quitting their businesses. We must not increase the bureaucratic burden on farmers but ensure food security. The EPP Group supports the responsible use of pesticides, instead of an outright ban,' said Alexander Bernhuber MEP, the EPP Group's negotiator of the law.
More money for research, farmers, Ukraine and education
The deal on next year’s EU budget struck with Member States secured €807.7 million in extra funds for key EPP Group priorities according to the Parliament's lead negotiator Siegfried Mureşan MEP. On Wednesday, the European Parliament will vote on a proposed €189.4 billion EU budget for 2024. "The agreement secures €85 million more for research under the Horizon programme, a €20 million boost for young farmers and more investment in education under the Erasmus+ programme with an extra €60 million. Increases to the budgetary allocations for the neighbourhood and for tackling the consequences of the Russian aggression in Ukraine have also been achieved. There's an important increase in the allocation for humanitarian aid as well," said Mureşan, who is also Vice-Chair of the EPP Group.
UN Climate Conference should follow Europe's example
The EPP Group wants world leaders at the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) to follow Europe's example. Ahead of the climate conference, which this year takes place in Dubai from 30 November to 12 December, the European Parliament will vote on Thursday on its position on the fight against climate change to be defended at COP28. Europe has legally committed to cut CO2 emissions by at least 55 per cent by 2030. The EPP Group has shown that decarbonisation can go hand in hand with industrial development through a series of newly adopted climate laws agreed under the leadership of the EPP Group. The EPP Group MEPs Lídia Pereira and Peter Liese, who will attend the COP28 conference, will hold an online press briefing on COP28 on Thursday at 11 am (TBC).
End violence against women
The EPP Group is committed to putting an end to the "silent epidemic" of violence against women both within the EU and beyond. Ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the European Parliament is scheduled to hold a plenary debate on Thursday. "Our stance is clear: violence is violence and violence against women in one European country should be treated as violence against women and punished the same way in all European countries. Common standards would also demonstrate the EU Member States’ commitment to ending what is, essentially, a geographical lottery with women’s lives as the gambling chips," says Frances Fitzgerald MEP, who has been leading on first-ever EU legislation on Violence Against Women.