Tue. Jan 31st, 2023

Brussels, 21 October 2022

In this press kit, you will find a selection of the European Parliament’s press releases that show MEPs’ priorities in relation to topics on the summit agenda.

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola will represent the European Parliament at the summit and address the heads of state or government at around 15.00 on 20 October. She will hold a press conference in the European Council press room at around 16.00.

The 20-21 October EU summit will focus on the latest developments in Russia’s war against Ukraine, the EU’s continued support for Ukraine, emergency energy measures, economic issues, EU-Asia relations as well as the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference COP27, and the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Additional information, including contact details for the MEPs involved, can be found on the European Parliament’s website.

The Ukrainian people awarded Parliament’s 2022 Sakharov Prize

On 19 October, Parliament’s Conference of Presidents (EP President and political group leaders) decided to award the 2022 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to the brave Ukrainian People represented by their president, elected leaders, and civil society.

EP President Metsola said: “This award is for those Ukrainians fighting on the ground. For those who have been forced to flee. For those who have lost relatives and friends. For all those who stand up and fight for what they believe in. I know that the brave people of Ukraine will not give up and neither will we.”

Further reading:

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20221017IPR43706/the-ukrainian-people-awarded-the-european-parliament-s-2022-sakharov-prize

 


Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine

In her speech at the Prague informal European Council on 7 October, EP President Roberta Metsola called for European unity in providing military support to Ukraine and in response to the energy crisis. “Ukrainians need to be able to defend themselves. In this new, more dangerous phase of war, they need the heavy armour that will allow them to push back”, she said.

On the energy crisis, President Metsola stressed that “we cannot outbid each other. Many energy companies are making huge profits by speculating on the market. Excess profits should be directed to alleviate the situation facing households, SMEs and industries struggling with skyrocketing bills. My proposal is that we learn from the pandemic – and, like with vaccines, we negotiate as a block and stop the price speculation.”

In a debate with Council and the Commission on 19 October on the October summit MEPs urged leaders to not waste any more time and take urgent action to tackle the energy crisis. Most MEPs called for European solidarity and unity in the face of what they labelled a Russian attack on Europe using energy supply as a weapon. Some welcomed the Commission’s proposals to contain energy prices, in particular the mechanism for joint gas purchases, while many considered that they come late and fall short of what is necessary. Beyond the actions in the energy field, several MEPs asked for stronger EU social initiatives, including a new support instrument for the most vulnerable, as well as a European investment fund, to consolidate Europe’s energy and industrial autonomy and support the green transition, among others aims.

In a vote on 20 October, MEPs agreed on not to accept travel documents that Russia has issued in the areas it illegally occupies in Ukraine and Georgia. Parliament and Council will now negotiate on the final form of the act. MEPs note that the Russian annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in Ukraine is illegal, and that the EU has condemned Russia’s decision to recognise the independence of the so-called breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia. Therefore, EU member states and EEA allies should no longer accept travel documents issued by Russia in these regions. According to the proposal, the Commission should consult EU member states and draw up a list of Russian travel documents that should not be accepted going forward, say MEPs.

In a debate on 18 October with Commission Vice-President Schinas, MEPs demanded more EU ambition in cybersecurity and in protecting critical infrastructure. They argued that the recent Nord Stream incident has revealed the fragility of the EU’s infrastructure, and emphasised the danger of cyberattacks, pointing to cases impacting a shipping company in Denmark and the healthcare system in Ireland. In their opinion, the EU needs more ambitious legislation to secure critical infrastructure that should go beyond the proposals already under discussion (a law on the resilience of critical infrastructure and new cybersecurity rules).

In a resolution adopted on 6 October, Parliament urged all countries and international organisations to condemn unequivocally the sham referenda in Ukraine and Russia’s attempt to acquire territory by force. Hailing the courage of the Ukrainian people defending their country and European values, MEPs urge EU member states and other countries supporting Ukraine to increase massively their military assistance, particularly in areas requested by the Ukrainian government. “Hesitant” member states should provide their fair share of necessary military assistance, which will help shorten the war.

Regarding the explosions on the Nord Stream pipelines, MEPs call on member states to treat the protection of European critical infrastructure as a priority, to increase its resilience against external attacks, and to further support the resilience of the Eastern European and Western Balkans partners.

MEPs also called for the establishment of an ad hoc international tribunal for the crime of aggression against Ukraine, “where Putin and all those Russian civilian and military officials and their proxies responsible for masterminding, launching and conducting the war in Ukraine would be prosecuted”.

On 4 October, MEPs backed additional help for EU regions to ease the impact of the war. The so-called FAST-CARE (Flexible Assistance for Territories) simplifies the rules for member states using cohesion policy funds to address the migratory and investment challenges caused by the Russian aggression in Ukraine. It also foresees additional pre-financing of €3.5 billion in 2022 and 2023. 

Further reading:

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20221007IPR42507/metsola-more-military-support-to-ukraine-and-a-united-response-to-energy-crisis

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20221014IPR43215/act-decisively-at-eu-summit-on-energy-and-the-cost-of-living-crises-urge-meps

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20220930IPR41935/meps-call-for-massive-increase-of-military-assistance-to-ukraine

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20221017IPR43907/meps-say-no-to-russian-passports-from-occupied-regions-stress-right-to-asylum

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20221014IPR43211/enhancing-cybersecurity-and-protection-of-eu-infrastructure-is-vital-say-meps

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20220930IPR41923/parliament-backs-additional-help-for-eu-regions-to-ease-the-impact-of-the-war

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/priorities/ukraine

https://ukraine.europarl.europa.eu/en/home.html

Related MEPs to contact:

David McALLISTER, (EPP, DE) Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Co-Chair of the Fact Finding Mission to Ukraine

Nathalie LOISEAU (Renew, FR) Chair of the Subcommittee on Security and Defence and Co-Chair of the Fact Finding Mission to Ukraine

Michael GAHLER (EPP, DE) Standing Rapporteur on Ukraine

Andrius KUBILIUS (EPP, LT) Standing Rapporteur on Russia

Juan Fernando LÓPEZ AGUILAR (S&D, ES), Chair of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

 


Energy

On 18 October, Parliament discussed with Council and Commission the social and economic consequences of the war in Ukraine and the introduction of a windfall tax. During the debate, MEPs called on the Commission to be more proactive in addressing the current price shock. Some called for the EU to work on a solidarity package for the winter with fiscal transfers to offset the energy prices, while others proposed a “shield” to protect citizens and businesses. Other MEPs urged the EU to cushion the risk of variable interest rates on mortgages, and warned against national fiscal measures distorting competition in the single market.

In a resolution adopted on 5 October, MEPs call for the EU’s response to focus on the most vulnerable.They alert member states that consumers that cannot afford their energy bills should not have their supply cut off and underline the need to avoid home evictions for vulnerable households that are unable to pay their bills and rental costs. Consumers should be better protected from their fixed-rate contracts being suspended or withdrawn by suppliers, as well as from exorbitant pre-payments for gas and electricity.

Parliament also called for an appropriate price cap for imports of pipeline gas, measures to tackle speculation, an immediate and full embargo on oil, coal, nuclear fuel and gas from Russia and for further steps needed towards introducing a tax on windfall profits. The revenues from windfall profits should benefit consumers and businesses, in particular vulnerable households and SMEs. This should go hand in hand with massive innovation and investments in renewable energies and energy efficiency and infrastructure, rather than incentivising households and companies to consume more subsidised energy.

Companies that have benefited from windfall profits must contribute to mitigating the negative consequences of the crisis, MEPs say. They welcome in principle a Council agreement to establish a cap on revenues from so-called inframarginal technologies used to produce electricity, such as renewables, nuclear, and lignite.

Further reading:

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20220930IPR41931/energy-prices-meps-call-for-eu-response-to-focus-on-the-most-vulnerable

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20220616IPR33214/parliament-approves-plans-to-restock-gas-reserves-before-winter

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20221017IPR43602/meps-debate-measures-to-keep-energy-bills-down-for-consumers-and-businesses

Related MEPs to contact:

Irene TINAGLI (S&D, IT), Chair of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs

Cristian-Silviu BUŞOI (EPP, RO), Chair of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

Dragoş PÎSLARU (Renew, RO), Chair the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs

 


EU-Asia relations

In a resolution adopted on 15 September, MEPs denounce China’s recent and unprecedented live-fire military exercises in the Taiwan Strait, which began in August 2022 following a visit to Taiwan by the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi. They also demand the Chinese government refrain from any measures that could destabilise the Taiwan Strait and regional security.

Noting Taiwan’s status as a like-minded EU partner, its strategic trade position, and the country’s leading role in the global supply chain of key high-tech sectors, including for semiconductors, Parliament calls on the EU to strengthen its relations with the democratically-governed island.

Related MEPs to contact:

Reinhard BÜTIKOFER (Greens/EFA, DE), Chair of the Delegation for relations with the People’s Republic of China

Charlie WEIMERS (ECR, SE), rapporteur on Taiwan (Committee on Foreign Affairs)

Iuliu WINKLER (EPP, RO), rapporteur on China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao (Committee on International Trade)

 


UN Climate Change Conference in Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt (COP27)

On 20 October, Parliament adopted a resolution on its demands and expectations for COP27, calling on all countries to step up their 2030 climate targets before COP27, to limit global warming in line with the Paris agreement.

MEPs describe the climate and biodiversity crises as among the most important challenges facing humanity. They are concerned about the findings in the UNEP’s emissions gap 2021 report, which says that even if the more ambitious national 2030 climate targets are implemented, the world is on a path towards a 2.7°C temperature increase, far above the Paris Agreement goals of limiting global warming to well below 2°C and pursuing 1.5°C.

Parliament highlights that the EU will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 55% if it adopts Parliament’s positions on the EU’s ‘Fit for 55 in 2030’ package and the RePowerEU Plan. MEPs call on EU and all G20 nations to show leadership and to commit to more ambitious reduction targets ahead of COP27.

The resolution says Russia’s war against Ukraine, and its consequences, makes the transformation of the global energy system all the more urgent. Urgent action must be taken in this decade, they warn, even as many long-term net-zero emissions pledges are ambiguous and lack transparency.

MEPs also recall that the EU is the largest contributor of climate finance and urges developed countries to ensure that the USD 100 billion yearly climate finance goal they have promised to developing countries is met, and that money is already released in 2022, with between 2020-2025 100 billion being spent on average each year.

Further reading:

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20221014IPR43220/meps-to-g20-increase-climate-change-targets-before-cop27

Related MEPs to contact:

Pascal CANFIN (Renew, FR), Chair of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

Bas EICKHOUT (Greens/EFA, NL), Chair of the European Parliament Delegation to COP27

Source – EU Parliament

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