Tag Archives: MEPs

Metsola:”Europe is future”

Strasbourg 09.05.2022 The President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola addressed the opening speech of The State of the Union 2022 at the European University Institute in Florence.
In her speech ‘Is Europe fit for the next generation?’, she encouraged European citizens and leaders to believe, to be confident and to use this difficult moment in time as an opportunity for change.

“…In my first address as President of the European Parliament I described myself as part of the generation that sees no old and no new Europe. We are the first of the Erasmus generation, the last of the Wałęsa, Kohl and Havel generation.

“What I meant was that I am part of the Europe generation. 18 years ago on the 1st May, I was standing in Valletta with what felt like the entire country, at midnight staring across the sea in our Grand Harbour as we counted the minutes and the seconds until Malta, together with nine other countries, joined the European Union as Member States.
I still recall the feeling of unbridled possibility, hope and belief in the future. A sort of sense of homecoming, of victory in the potential of our people, of relief, of joy – feelings shared by millions across Europe.

“With war in Europe, today, it is that spirit, that sense of purpose, of enthusiasm, of a clear direction, that I want our European project to re-capture.
People in Ukraine, in Moldova and Georgia, and still in the Western Balkans, are now looking to Europe, with the same sense of belonging and hope.

“And I want people to believe as we did. And to do that we need to understand that we are not just an economic bloc, we are not just about free movement, or about abolishing roaming charges. For my generation, Europe is – as cliché as this might sound – about a shared dream. About shared values. About a shared future, about coming together.

“To us, Europe is the future. It has always been the future.
However, we cannot deny that over the last years polarisation in our societies has increased. There are still too many people who feel lost, let down and left out. At the same time many will now look to Europe and to our institutions for leadership. And we need to be able to respond, we need to be able to lead. We must counter the anti-EU narrative that takes hold so easily and so quickly: mis- and dis-information, enhanced by bots and fabricated in Russian troll factories.

“Europe is about the defence of multilateralism. The understanding that we can only face the future together…”

MEPs protect Ukraine women

Strasbourg 05.05.2022 The European Parliament (pictured) debated and will vote on how to protect women fleeing Ukraine from violence and trafficking, and on granting them access to essential health services.

On Thursday, MEPs are set to strongly condemn the use of sexual and gender-based violence as a weapon of war and to express their deep concern about the growing number of reports of human trafficking, sexual violence, exploitation, rape and abuse faced by women and children fleeing Ukraine. They are expected to call for trafficking networks that profit from sexual exploitation of women refugees to be identified and prosecuted.

MEPs are also set to urge the EU and all host and transit countries to ensure access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), particularly emergency contraception and abortion care, including for victims of rape, as well as obstetric care.

According to the UNHCR, more than five million refugees – 90% of whom are women and children – have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion started on 24 February. A further 7.1 million people are internally displaced within Ukraine, including women and children in need of medical care.

AMENDMENT: The European Parliament adopted a resolution (462-19-89) calling on the EU to protect Ukraine women refugees from violence and sexual exploitation.

Stoltenberg visits Europarliament

Brussels 29.04.2022 NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited the European Parliament in Brussels to meet President Roberta Metsola and the conference of presidents of the seven political groups in the Parliament. This is the first time that a NATO Secretary General has met with the group of European Parliament party leaders on Thursday, April 28.

The Secretary General praised the European Parliament for its strong support to Ukraine, and stressed that the NATO-EU partnership is vital at this critical moment for our shared security. He mentioned the unprecedented level of cooperation between the two organisations on a wide range of issues, including in the Western Balkans, on cyber, resilience and maritime security.

In a joint press point with President Metsola, the Secretary General emphasised that NATO and the EU “stand together in solidarity with Ukraine”. He welcomed the EU’s strong economic sanctions on Russia. He stated that to date, NATO Allies have pledged and provided at least US $8 billion in military support to Ukraine, and continue to step up.

Asked by reporters how quickly the process of NATO accession could go if Finland and Sweden decide to apply, the Secretary General said: “It is of course for Finland and Sweden to decide whether they would like to apply for membership in NATO or not. But if they decide to apply, Finland and Sweden will be welcomed with open arms to NATO. Finland and Sweden are our closest partners, they are strong, mature democracies, EU members, and we have worked with Finland and Sweden for many, many years. We know that their armed forces meet NATO standards, are interoperable with NATO forces, we train together, we exercise together, and we have also worked with Finland and Sweden in many different missions and operations. So if they apply, they will be welcomed, and I also expect the process to be quick. And that they can then join NATO after the formal process has been finalised.”

MEPs support ongoing Digital Certificate

Brussels 29.04.2022 The Civil Liberties Committee endorsed proposals to keep the EU Digital COVID Certificate framework in place for another year.

To ensure that EU citizens can benefit from their right to free movement regardless of the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs approved two reports to prolong the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC) scheme -set to expire on 30 June- for another 12 months. The reports were adopted with 48 in favour, 16 against and 0 abstaining.

Along with extending the validity of the EUDCC scheme until 30 June 2023, the changes also enable member states to grant test certificates based on new types of antigen assay tests.

MEPs amended the proposals to stress that member states should avoid additional restrictions on the freedom of movement for EUDCC holders, unless absolutely necessary. If restrictions are needed, they should be limited and proportionate, based on the latest scientific advice from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the EU Health Security Committee.

They also ask the Commission to assess if the EUDCC scheme is necessary and proportionate six months after its extension. MEPs want to shorten the period of application of the Regulation as soon as the epidemiological situation allows.

The creation of the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC) was adopted In June 2021 to facilitate free movement in Europe during the pandemic, for a limited period of 12 months.
Rapporteur Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES) said: “A year ago, we put in place the EU Digital COVID certificate so that unilateral national restrictions would not endanger the right to free movement and equality. We wanted to prevent discrimination between countries of origin, and we wanted this regulation to be time-limited. However, we can only get rid of it once the pandemic is over.

Since it is not over yet, we are extending the validity of the scheme, and asking experts to evaluate the situation in six months’ time. Now, people are again travelling across borders in Europe, which shows that the regulation is working.”
The decision of the Civil Liberties Committee to open negotiations with the Council on the legislative proposal will be announced at the opening of next week’s plenary session in Strasbourg. If there is an objection, the decision will be put to the vote on Thursday, 5 May.

Europarliament: €3.4bn for Ukraine refugees

Strasbourg 07.04.2022 The EU countries sheltering people fleeing from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will immediately receive €3.4 billion, MEPs decided on Thursday, April 7.

Following Parliament’s green light to redirect EU regional and asylum funding to EU countries sheltering people fleeing from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine during the last plenary session, MEPs adopted additional urgent support measures.

With 549 votes to one and eight abstentions, Parliament agreed to immediately release around €3.4 billion (out of €10 billion available) from the “REACT-EU” funds and speed up EU governments’ access to funds to pay for infrastructure, housing, equipment, employment, education, social inclusion, healthcare and childcare for Ukraine refugees.

The new rules will increase the initial pre-financing of REACT-EU resources from 11% to 15% to all EU countries. EU countries bordering Ukraine – Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia – and those that have received a significant number of refugees from Ukraine equivalent to more than 1% of their national population – Austria, Bulgaria, Czechia and Estonia – can immediately get 45% (rather than 11%) of their recovery funds without any invoices to be presented at this time.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 4 million people have left the country since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February, most of them heading to neighbouring countries.

REACT-EU is a €50 billion package set up in 2020 to help mitigate the immediate effects of the COVID-19 crisis across the EU.

The draft rules will now also have to be formally approved by Council. The regulation will enter into force one day after its publication in the Official Journal of the EU.

Conference on the Future of Europe

Strasbourg 11.03.2022 #FutureofEurope The Conference plenary of 11-12 March 2022 will discuss the recommendations of the European Citizens’ Panels on ‘the EU in the world / migration’ and ‘a stronger economy, social justice and jobs / education, culture, youth and sport / digital transformation’ as well as related recommendations from National Citizens’ Panels.

The Plenary’s Working Groups will also meet and continue their preparatory discussions. The Plenary and the Working Groups will be web streamed and can be followed via the Platform.

The Conference of Europe Plenary debates the recommendations from the national and European Citizens’ Panels, and the input gathered from the Multilingual Digital Platform, grouped by themes, without a predetermined outcome. After these recommendations have been presented by and discussed with citizens, the Plenary will on a consensual basis put forward its proposals to the Executive Board. The latter will draw up a report in full collaboration and full transparency with the Plenary.

The Conference Plenary is composed of 108 representatives from the European Parliament, 54 from the Council, 3 from the European Commission, 108 from national Parliaments on an equal footing, and 108 citizens: 80 representatives from the European Citizens’

Panels, 27 from national Citizens’ Panels or Conference events (one per Member State), as well as the President of the European Youth Forum. 18 representatives from the Committee of the Regions and 18 from the Economic and Social Committee, 6 elected representatives from regional authorities and 6 elected representatives from local authorities, 12 representatives from the social partners and 8 from civil society also take part.

The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy is invited when the international role of the EU is discussed. Representatives of key stakeholders may also be invited.

The meetings of the Conference Plenary are presided by the three Co-Chairs of the Executive Board and held in the European Parliament premises in Strasbourg.

EU-Russia: Metsola calls for protesters liberation

Strasbourg 08.03.2022 President Metsola called on the Russian authorities to free all anti-invasion peaceful protesters unjustly detained, at the opening of the plenary session in Strasbourg.

As the shelling of Ukraine continues unabated and the number of civilian casualties increases, President Metsola said: “Our outrage grows with every shell that is fired, as does Ukraine’s defiance and our people’s solidarity”.

She highlighted the immense courage of those in Russia that have continued to stand up and protest against the invasion of Ukraine, despite facing jail and brutal crackdown, expressing Parliament’s solidarity with them.

Under two laws brought in on 4 March that criminalise those protesting and informing about the war in Ukraine, protesters face up to fifteen years in prison and thousands have already been jailed. “Putin will find that the truth is not easily suppressed”, she added.

On behalf of Parliament, the President called on the Russian authorities to allow freedom of expression, to stop intimidating protesters and release immediately all those unjustly detained.

EP: Macron on Defence Union

Strasbourg 19.01.2022 This semester will also lead to the adoption of the “strategic compass”, the definition of “our own security doctrine in addition to NATO”, and a real “strategy in terms of industry, defense and technological independence », the whole to find «a Europe power of the future».

In Strasbourg, Emmanuel Macron gave the traditional speech marking the launch of the rotating presidency of the European Union, which France will exercise until June 30. Before the MEPs, and less than three months before the French presidential election, the Head of State expressed a vision deeply attached to this continent, a long symbol of an “intangible peace” but now subject to “doubts”. To “rebuild our Europe”, the tenant of the Élysée has drawn up the major projects to come and established three promises: democracy, progress and peace.

Europarliament: Roberta Metsola elected president

Strasbourg 18.01.2022 Maltese centre-right politician Roberta Metsola succeed the Italian David Sassoli in Strasbourg and Brussels, at the head of the European Parliament. Several candidates have been promoted to replace the Italian Socialist David Sassoli, who died on January 11 from the complications of myeloma cancer at the age of 65 and whose mandate was due to end this month.

The election of the President of the European Parliament has taken place by secret ballot on Tuesday 18 January, in plenary session in Strasbourg. Roberta Metsola MEP from the party assembling European center-right, became, at 42, the youngest president of this European institution. Although it is a huge leap forward for equity agenda, there are also a number of MUST KNOW facts to understand Roberta Metsola vertical ascendance:

As a politician she has spent her entire career in the European institutions.
Roberta Metsola, born in 1979, graduated from the University of Malta and the College of Europe in Bruges (Belgium). A professional lawyer, she is “a pure product of the Brussels bubble”, sums up the Politico site. Speaking fluent Italian and Finnish, the Maltese worked from 2004 to 2012 in the Permanent Representation of Malta to the European Union in Brussels. Roberta Metsola headed the Justice and Home Affairs unit there, after having held the position of legal and judicial cooperation attaché.

The Maltese specialist in European law and policy subsequently collaborated with Baroness Catherine Ashton, First ever High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, as legal adviser, specifies the European People’s Party in her biography.

Appointed MEP in 2013, replacing Simon Busuttil, Roberta Metsola thus became one of the first Maltese representatives sitting in Strasbourg. A member of the Maltese Nationalist Party, she was re-elected in the 2014 European elections with a “record number of votes for a woman”, underlines the Europoean think tank Bruegel.

As an MEP, Roberta Metsola is a member of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, where she has been also a coordinator for the EPP, continues Bruegel. The MEP also participated in the special committee of the Parliament devoted to the fight against terrorism, as well as in the delegation for relations with the USA. The MEP also took part in the European Parliament’s commission of inquiry into the Panama Papers.

According to Politico, Roberta Metsola is considered, within the Parliament, as one of the main MEPs focused on migration issues. She was notably the co-author of the Parliament’s report on Europe’s response to the refugee crisis, which effected her native Malta.

The candidacy of Roberta Metsola, mother of four, arouses controversy, because the MEP promotes conservative pro-life policy, fiercely opposing abortion. As French newspaper Liberation underlines, the elected official continues to disapprove of resolutions defending the right to abortion and contraception. Last September, Metsola also abstained during a vote calling on the European Commission to criminalise violence against women, points out French newspaper Le Monde.

In Malta, one of a few societies in Europe where abortion remains illegal in all circumstances. The candidate for the presidency of the European Parliament has however promised not to defend her openly anti-abortion positions at the head of the institution, notes Liberation. And as Euractiv media has underlined that, the EU has no competence in matters of abortion.

Malta is the only EU member state to strictly prohibit abortion entirely while Poland recently tightened the rules further shifting to conservative view by making it illegal to terminate a pregnancy even in cases of severe and irreversible fetal defects. Abortion is also illegal in Andorra and San Marino — although residents in the latter overwhelmingly backed a proposal to make abortion legal in a referendum over the weekend. Residents in Gibraltar similarly voted to ease abortion rules earlier this year. The European list is concluded by Lichtenstein and Monaco also have restrictive abortion rules.

Roberta Metsola “is consensual, except with the subject that makes us talk about her”, indicated a spokesperson for the Renew Europe (Liberals) parliamentary group with Elle magazine. As French newpaper Le Monde notes, the MP has regularly defended the rights of LGBTQ+ people. “As a woman, I know how important it is to have allies in your struggles. (…) Europe is a zone of freedom,” she said in December, Elle reports.

According to the Green MEP Manon Aubry, interviewed by the magazine, the Maltese candidate “has always defended a fairly strict sanitary cordon with the far right”. The elected also had more moderate positions than others, on the right, on the reception of refugees, recalls Le Monde. Metsola also called for the resignation of Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in the wake of the death of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, murdered in October 2017.

EP: Tribute to late president Sassoli

Strasbourg 17.01.2022 Today evening, the European Parliament will pay tribute to late President David Sassoli, who passed away earlier this month, in a ceremony in Strasbourg. Council President Charles Michel,
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, French President Emmanuel Macron and former Italian Prime Minister and former MEP Enrico Letta, as well as political group leaders, will speak during the ceremony. Sassoli had been a member of the Parliament since 2009 and was elected President in July 2019 for the first half of this legislature.

In Rome, President David Sassoli lied in state on Thursday 13 January from 10.00 to 18.00 in Sala della Protomoteca of the Campidoglio. The funeral service took place on Friday 14 January at 12.00 in the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli.

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