Let farmers farm, Mr Timmermans!
As the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers gather in Brussels on Tuesday, the EPP Group warns again against new laws that make food production in Europe more difficult by forcing farmers to abandon parts of their farmland. "After two parliamentary committees, Agriculture and Fisheries, rejected the law proposal on nature restoration, it is time for the European Commission to withdraw this proposal that only increases costs and insecurity for farmers, fishermen and consumers", says Siegfried Mureşan MEP, Vice-Chairman of the EPP Group responsible for Budget and Structural Policies.
Produce ammunition to help Ukraine defend itself
Europe must increase the ammunition production capacity of its defence industry (the so-called ‘ASAP package’) to help Ukraine. The EPP Group successfully pushed for a fast-track procedure in the European Parliament. On Thursday, Parliament will give a mandate to its negotiation team to finalise the new law quickly with Member States over the coming weeks. Jerzy Buzek MEP is leading the negotiations on behalf of the EPP Group. He says: "ASAP needs to come 'ASAP', as Ukraine needs more ammunition instantaneously. The fast-track procedure shows that the European Parliament is able and ready to respond to the most urgent challenges and tasks. With the ASAP legislation we are taking the first, yet key, step in addressing the historic and structural shortage of ammunition in Europe. We will proceed as soon as possible and for as long as needed.”
EU Funds: bypass Orbán’s control
The EPP Group insists that no EU funds can be disbursed to Hungary until rule of law measures, such as preventing corruption and ensuring an independent judiciary, are fully delivered. The European Parliament will debate the situation on Wednesday. “Hungary still needs to take specific actions. The frozen funds cannot be released without endangering the EU Budget. The Commission should find a legal way for funds to reach the Hungarian people directly, bypassing Orbán's control”, said Petri Sarvamaa MEP, EPP Group Spokesman on Budgetary Control. A Resolution for vote on Thursday also questions how Hungary can credibly take up its Council Presidency in 2024. The EPP Group believes that the Council must put in place adequate solutions in order to ensure that the decision-making process is not negatively affected.
Protect democracy from hostile disinformation
The European Union must act urgently against foreign interference in democratic processes. Such hostile meddling is real and is a growing threat to national security and the EU as a whole. This is the conclusion of the final Report of the Special Committee on foreign interference and disinformation, which will be voted on on Thursday morning. “Europe continues to lag behind and is suffering from fragmentation and a lack of coordination. My Report outlines clear and strategic recommendations on how to strengthen our institutions and develop tools to counter hostile disinformation”, says Sandra Kalniete MEP, who drafted Parliament's Report. Research shows that over two-thirds of Europeans encounter fake news at least once a week and that 83% of Europeans think fake news is a threat to democracy.
Europe means good food
High-quality food, regional food production and traditional craftsmanship are integral to Europe's heritage, way of life and economic power. They must be protected. On Thursday, the European Parliament will vote to improve the Geographical Indications system for wine, spirit drinks and agricultural products. Amongst others, they will be better protected in online sales and impetus will be given on sustainability. “Also, thanks to the EPP Group, this reform will reinforce the producers' position, says Álvaro Amaro MEP, who negotiated the law on behalf of the EPP Group.