Now is the time to grow as much food as we can
Putin's war on Ukraine is shaking global food security. It is likely to increase the amount of people suffering from malnutrition by several millions. Consumers can already see it in increasing food prices, farmers in higher production costs and in difficulties acquiring fertilisers. At the request of the EPP Group, the European Parliament will discuss the situation in plenary on Wednesday, which will follow Monday's EU Agriculture Ministers' meeting on the same issue. Also on Wednesday, the European Commission will announce its proposal on how to increase the resilience of the EU's food systems. The EPP Group demands rapid action from the Commission, including postponing all proposals that may cut food production. Now is the time to grow as much food as we can.
Biden to attend EU Summit in Brussels
On Thursday and Friday, the European Union's 27 leaders will gather in Brussels for a summit to discuss Russia's military invasion of Ukraine. US President Joe Biden will make his first visit to Europe since the start of the war and will join the summit to discuss it with his EU allies. "It is a strong message of EU-US unity that President Biden will come to NATO and the EU next week. In these times when our European way of life and our freedom are under attack, we must stand together. We expect the next Council to be ready to go further in support of Ukraine and increase the pressure on Putin", says EPP Group Chairman Manfred Weber MEP.
Prepare for the day Putin turns off the tap
On Thursday, the plenary of the European Parliament will debate the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on European energy policy and energy prices. It will also look at how Europe can ensure more affordable, secure and sustainable energy. For the EPP Group, it is fundamental that we diversify our European gas supply and accelerate the expansion of renewable sources of energy to bring about energy autonomy and security in Europe. The European Union must prepare as quickly as possible for the day Putin turns off the tap.
Europe must be quick to set global rules for Artificial Intelligence
On Tuesday, Parliament’s Special Committee on Artificial Intelligence (AI) will vote on its final Report. The Report, drafted by Axel Voss MEP, aims to establish a European Roadmap for AI that encompasses the steps the European Union needs to take to respond to the economic and societal challenges that come with AI. The EU has already fallen behind within the global competition. Where we still have a key advantage, is standard-setting. The EPP Group advocates a human-centred approach to AI, based on ethical and democratic values, in contrast to misuses of AI like surveillance, misinformation and social scoring that other global players push. The EU must help citizens to reap the benefits of AI in areas such as healthcare, education, transportation, business and climate change mitigation.
Swiss banks mustn't be a sanctuary for organised crime
On Wednesday, the European Parliament will debate the recent 'Swiss Secrets' scandal and how to implement anti-money laundering standards in third countries. Markus Ferber MEP, the EPP Group's Spokesman in the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, commented: “European and Swiss banks have close ties, anti-money laundering deficiencies in the Swiss banking sector therefore pose a problem for the entire EU. The next time the list of high-risk third countries in the area of money laundering is up for revision, the European Commission needs to consider adding Switzerland to that list.”
More roaming, less costs
On Wednesday, Members of the European Parliament will approve new rules for the use of mobile phone and mobile internet services in other EU countries without additional costs. These new rules will enable EU citizens to ‘roam-like-at-home’ for another 10 years. In addition, the costs companies charge each other when their customers travel to another EU country will be capped further. Without such caps, smaller operators and those offering generous data usage would not be able to stand the pressure of the big network operators.
Don't let oligarchs steal EU money
The Russian war against Ukraine has brought new attention to the highly problematic role of oligarchs in Russia. But some EU countries have their own oligarchs who abuse public money. On Wednesday next week, the European Parliament will debate and vote on a Report championed by EPP Group MEP Petri Sarvamaa on the fight against such oligarch structures. The Report focuses on the question of how to protect EU funds from fraud and conflict of interest. The EPP Group is fighting to stop EU funding being seeped away in dark channels controlled by oligarchs or their henchmen. Among others, the Report demands the introduction of a single, integrated and interoperable reporting and monitoring system on those who benefit directly and indirectly from EU funding to establish transparency and allow public scrutiny.
High-level debates in Parliament's committees
Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee will discuss Russia's military aggression on Monday with Ukrainian EU Ambassador Chentsov Vsevolod, and on Tuesday with Moldova's Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu. On Monday, Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy will discuss the situation in Ukraine with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and on Tuesday with Commissioner Thierry Breton on space policy. Also on Tuesday, the International Trade Committee will debate the EU-US Trade and Technology relations with Commissioners Margrethe Vestager and Valdis Dombrovskis. On the same day, the Women's Rights Committee will discuss gender equality with Commissioner Helena Dalli. Commissioner Mairead McGuinness will debate the planned 'Taxonomy' rules with the joint Economy and Environment Committees. On Thursday, the Employment and Women's Rights Committees will hold a joint meeting to discuss 'A European Care Strategy: How to improve the lives of carers and their dependants' with Commissioners Dubravka Šuica, Nicolas Schmit and Helena Dalli.