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European Parliament Press Kit for the European Council of 21-22 October 2021

Met dank overgenomen van Europees Parlement (EP), gepubliceerd op donderdag 21 oktober 2021.

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.

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

EP President David Sassoli will not be present at the European Council as he continues his recovery from illness. His opening remarks will be delivered and distributed to the Heads of State or Government.

On 21 and 22 October, EU leaders will focus on COVID-19, lessons learned regarding the vaccination strategies and on international solidarity and the need to ensure access to vaccines for all . They will also discuss recent developments related to the Rule of Law, the EU’s Digital Strategy, and how to make Europe fit for the digital age, migration, what measures to take to address rising energy prices, and look ahead at the ASEM and Eastern Partnership summits as well as the meetings on climate change (COP26) and biological diversity (COP15).

Plenary debate on European Council priorities

On 20 October, MEPs discussed the European Council meeting with Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Minister of Foreign Affairs Anže Logar, representing the Slovenian presidency. They emphasised the need for a united approach to ease the pressure of spiking energy prices on European households and businesses and urged a clear political direction on the issue of respect for the rule of law, by giving impetus to the Article 7 procedure and defending the rule of law in Poland and elsewhere.

Further reading:

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20211018IPR15154/meps-debate-high-energy-prices-rule-of-law-migration-ahead-of-eu-summit

Rule of Law

On Tuesday, Parliament debated the recent ruling of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Most MEPs condemned the contentious ruling of 7 October, called into question the independence of the court itself, warned against the Polish government’s regressive path towards totalitarianism and demanded that the Commission act immediately to defend Polish citizens and the foundations of EU law, by triggering the conditionality mechanism.

A resolution on “The Rule of law crisis in Poland and the primacy of EU law” will be put to the vote on 21 October, with results announced at 16.30. The draft text says the Constitutional Tribunal is illegitimate, unfit to interpret the constitution and is “a tool for legalising the illegal activities of the authorities”. MEPs call for infringement procedures to be launched and the Rule of Law Conditionality Regulation to be triggered. The Polish recovery and resilience plan should not be approved yet, they stress, and a clear risk of a serious breach of the rule of law by Poland should be declared in accordance with Article 7(1) of the Treaty. The draft resolution stresses that the EU must protect the people of Poland, who remain overwhelmingly pro-European.

Further reading:

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20211014IPR14911/poland-meps-call-for-the-primacy-of-eu-law-to-be-upheld

A press release and the full text of the resolution can be found here at around 16.45.

COP 26 Climate Change Conference

On 21 October, Parliament adopted its position for the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. MEPs express concern that the targets announced in Paris in 2015 would result in warming well above three degrees by 2100, compared to pre-industrial levels. They say that the EU must remain a world leader in the fight against climate change and that MEPs will work to ensure that the EU’s “Fit for 55 in 2030” climate package is fully in line with the Paris Agreement. They call on all G20 countries to be climate neutral by 2050 and demand that at least $100bn in climate finance per year are made available for developing countries.

Further reading:

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20211014IPR14913/climate-change-raise-global-ambitions-to-achieve-strong-outcome-at-cop26

MEP to contact

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

COVID-19

In a resolution adopted on 21 October, Parliament demands that vaccine development, purchasing and distribution in the EU must become more transparent. This would enable MEPs to effectively scrutinise EU vaccine policies. MEPs also stress that the EU needs to communicate better to fight vaccine hesitancy and disinformation and that its future vaccine contracts should include clauses focussed on making vaccines more available around the world.

Further reading:

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20211014IPR14927/covid-19-parliament-wants-more-transparent-eu-vaccine-policies

MEP to contact:

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

Rising Energy Prices

With gas prices surging, and concerns over the impact on consumers and businesses, MEPs, the Council and the Commission debated on 6 October how to address the crisis and what measures can be taken to limit the impact of price rises.

During the debate in plenary, MEPs called for an investigation into market manipulation from state and non-state actors, and into the EU carbon market speculation in order to measure the impact that both of these factors are having on prices. Many insisted on the need for immediate measures to protect the most vulnerable from rising bills.

MEP to contact:

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

Further reading:

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20210930IPR13928/energy-costs-meps-debate-measures-to-limit-impact-of-price-rises

Digital transformation

MEPs are currently discussing how the proposals on the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA), presented by the European Commission in December 2020, should be amended and improved. This legislation is Europe’s chance to shape the digital economy at EU level as well as to become a global standard-setter.

The draft reports on the DSA and DMA, drafted by Christel Schaldemose (S&D, DK) and Andreas Schwab (EPP, DE), respectively, were presented in committee on 21 June, vote is scheduled for 8 November. The mandate to start negotiations with Council, the other co-legislator, would then need to be endorsed by the plenary (in December, tbc).

On 11 October, lead MEPs from the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee decided to invite Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen to a hearing on 8 November on “Whistleblowers’ testimonies on the negative impact of big tech companies’ products on users”.

With regard to Artificial Intelligence, MEPs held a first debate on the proposed rulebook for AI aimed at fostering trust, AI uptake and investment across the EU with Commissioners in April. During the debate, several MEPs focused on the ethical uses of AI and the protection of fundamental rights of citizens in the new rules. They also expressed their hopes for a balanced approach that brings legal certainty for SMEs and promotes innovation in the EU.

Further reading:

The EU must set the standards for regulating online platforms, say MEPs

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20201016IPR89543/digital-eu-must-set-the-standards-for-regulating-online-platforms-say-meps

Facebook Files: MEPs to invite whistleblower Frances Haugen to a hearing

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20211011IPR14619/facebook-files-meps-to-invite-whistleblower-frances-haugen-to-a-hearing

MEPs hold first debate on proposed rulebook for Artificial Intelligence with Commissioners

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20210419IPR02315/meps-hold-first-debate-on-proposed-rulebook-for-ai-with-commissioners

Parliament leads the way on first set of EU rules for Artificial Intelligence

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20201016IPR89544/parliament-leads-the-way-on-first-set-of-eu-rules-for-artificial-intelligence

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20210527IPR04915/meps-debate-new-ai-act-with-ec-vp-margrethe-vestager

Main MEPs to contact:

Anna Cavazzini (Greens/EFA, DE), Chair of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection

Christel Schaldemose (S&D, DK), DSA rapporteur

Andreas Schwab (EPP, DE), DMA rapporteur

Geoffroy Didier (EPP, FR) (rapporteur for DSA opinion by the Legal Affairs Committee)

Axel Voss (EPP, DE) (rapporteur for AI/civil liability)

Iban Garcia del Blanco (S&D, ES) (AI/ethical aspects)

Emil Radev (EPP, BG) (digitalisation of justice systems)


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