Week Ahead: 3 - 7 October 2022

Better preparedness against future pandemics; Russia’s escalation of its war of aggression against Ukraine; The EU’s response to the increase in energy prices in Europe; A common charger for electronic devices; Special Envoy on the protection and promotion of freedom of religion or belief; The death of Mahsa Amini and the repression of women’s rights protesters in Iran; The impact of new technologies on taxation: Crypto and blockchain; EU’s strategic relationship and partnership with the Horn of Africa; “Not Only Putin - Russia's Deep State, Society and Foreign Assets”

Better preparedness against future pandemics

Next week’s session will start with a joint debate on files of the European Health Union package that are based on lessons learnt from combatting Covid-19. ECR Rapporteur Joanna Kopcińska’s report aims to strengthen the role of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in the fight against diseases and future pandemics. The Centre will coordinate data collection and exchange, carry out its own risk assessments and maintain databases for epidemiological surveillance at the EU level. It will also cooperate closely with the Commission, national authorities, relevant EU institutions and agencies, and international organisations, such as the World Health Organisation. The mandate also includes an EU Health Task Force of experts who will assist in preparedness and response planning, including for responses to outbreaks on the ground, in coordination with the Civil Protection Mechanism and other international mechanisms. Parliament’s first reading position was adopted by plenary in September 2021, with inter-institutional negotiations launched later that month and concluded on 29 November 2021. The ECR Group is very pleased with the outcome of the negotiations: The agreement will strengthen the ECDC’s expertise and capacity to intervene and fight transmissible disease threats, while preserving the leading role of national institutions in the area of public health, who remain the most familiar with local and national conditions. The debate will be followed by a vote on Tuesday.

Debate: Monday @ 17:00

Vote: Tuesday @ 12:00

Russia’s escalation of its war of aggression against Ukraine

In the key debate on Wednesday morning, MEPs will discuss the appropriate response to the new level of escalation by Russia in the war against Ukraine. In view of the successful Ukrainian counter-offensive, Russia has hastily prepared and held so-called referendums in four occupied regions of Ukraine. The Russian regime is about to illegally declare those occupied territories part of the Russian Federation. From the Kremlin’s point of view, this will serve to legitimise the latest mass recruitments and the use of nuclear weapons if deemed necessary, as the Russian president and prime minister have alluded to with increasing frequency in recent days and weeks. Furthermore, new evidence of Russian atrocities has been uncovered in areas liberated by Ukrainian units. The ECR Group continues to express its unconditional support for Ukraine in the fight for the country’s territorial integrity and calls on the EU, Member States and transatlantic partners to continue providing military and financial aid, seizing frozen Russian assets to use for Ukraine’s future reconstruction, and condemning Russian war crimes. The vote on the resolution will take place on Thursday.

Debate: Wednesday @ 9:00

Vote: Thursday @ 12:00

The EU’s response to the increase in energy prices in Europe

On Wednesday, the EU Parliament will vote on a resolution on how to tackle high energy prices. The ECR Group will push for efficient actions to make energy affordable again and to prevent further damage to households and industry. The ECR Group insists that the measures proposed at the EU level should acknowledge the diversity of national circumstances and therefore grant the necessary flexibility in their implementation. Member States should be the main actors responsible for their own energy mix and for identifying and resolving the main issues facing their citizens and economies. The Group also calls on the Commission to look at the role of the price of fuel and of carbon within the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) and to do everything at its disposal, including the release of additional allowances from the Market Stability Reserve, to bring electricity prices back down. The plenary debate took place on 13 September.

Vote: Wednesday @ 12:00

A common charger for electronic devices

On Tuesday morning, the European Parliament’s Members will debate the interinstitutional agreement establishing the so-called “common charger” for electronic devices. During negotiations, ECR Shadow Rapporteur Kosma Złotowski focused on maintaining a realistic scope to the legislation and putting consumer convenience at its heart. As a result of the agreement, Annex II sets outs the list of the devices for which USB-C will become the standard plug: mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, handheld video game consoles, portable navigation systems, e-readers, laptops, etc. The list could be further expanded via delegated acts based on scientific and technological progress or market developments. While the ECR Group remains sceptical of some provisions, such as extending the scope of the legislation to laptops and navigation devices, the text will contribute to a more hassle-free experience for end-consumers. The vote will take place on Tuesday noon.

Debate: Tuesday @ 9:00

Vote: Tuesday @ 12:00

European Parliament loses patience waiting for appointment of Special Envoy on the protection and promotion of freedom of religion or belief

Requested by the ECR Group, MEPs will hold a debate on the Council and Commission statements on the actions of the EU in the field of freedom of religion or belief. Over the past years, freedom of religion or belief conditions have deteriorated in wider parts of the world. EU Guidelines on the promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief were adopted in 2013. However, the most recent report of Parliament’s Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief shows that there is a lack of effective action when it comes to the implementation of the guidelines by the European External Action Service. A formal evaluation, which should have taken place last year, has not yet been carried out. Another issue of concern is the delay in the appointment of the Special Envoy on the protection and promotion of freedom of religion or belief. This post has been effectively vacant during the entire mandate of the current Commission.

Debate: Monday @ 19:00

The death of Mahsa Amini and the repression of women’s rights protesters in Iran

On Tuesday, MEPs will debate the recent murder of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini by the Islamic Republic of Iran’s morality police and the repression of women’s rights protesters in the country. The ECR Group calls for an urgent independent, credible and transparent investigation into her death and expresses its solidarity with the Iranian people protesting for a free and democratic Iran. The ECR Group also strongly condemns the violent crackdown against protesters by the Islamic Republic and calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all those arrested for participating or reporting on the protests. We urge the EU to swiftly adopt tough sanctions on the Islamic Republic’s regime, its elite, and persons responsible and involved in the suppression and violent crackdown of pro-democracy activities in the country. The European Parliament should also take the opportunity to remember the names of Iranians who have been unlawfully executed by the brutal regime, such as Navid Afkari and Ruhollah Zam, in addition to those who are currently still languishing in prison and facing imminent execution, such as Swedish national Ahmedreza Djalali. It is imperative that he immediately and unconditionally be freed and reunited with his family.

Debate: Tuesday @ 16:00

Vote: Thursday @ 12:00

The impact of new technologies on taxation: Crypto and blockchain

On Monday afternoon, MEPs will debate an initiative report on the effects of new technologies, in particular blockchain and cryptocurrency, on the tax systems of the EU’s Member States. To date, only three EU Member States have effectively taxed profits from cryptocurrency trading. The report encourages the Commission to devise a fair mechanism to do so, that could also be accepted by all EU countries. For ECR Shadow Rapporteur MEP Andżelika Możdżanowska, the paper favourably refrains from proposing any common tax rates on crypto-assets, while also encouraging further digitalisation of EU Member States’ tax administrations. The vote will take place on Tuesday.

Debate: Monday @ 18:00

Vote: Tuesday @ 12:00

EU’s strategic relationship and partnership with the Horn of Africa

On Tuesday evening, the European Parliament will debate an own-initiative report that aims at promoting an equal partnership between the EU and the Horn of Africa countries. Its aim is to move from an obsolete donor-recipient-relationship to creating conditions for sustainable and peaceful development based on strong security cooperation and trade relations. The recommendation also sees the need to fight the growing threat of radical militant Islamic terrorist groups that act transnationally from within the Horn of Africa and the need for greater counter-terrorism support. The ECR Group calls for greater regional integration and infrastructural development across the Horn of Africa while warning against the nefarious influence of third actors whose interests do not align with EU Member States. The vote will be held on Wednesday.

Debate: Tuesday @ 20:00

Vote: Wednesday @ 12:00

Live Broadcast event with leading Russian opposition figures “Not Only Putin - Russia’s Deep State, Society and Foreign Assets”

With timely debates on Russia’s hybrid threats and the war it is waging on Ukraine over the week, ECR Coordinator on Foreign Affairs MEP Anna Fotyga has invited a panel of renowned Russian and Ukrainian politicians, historians and dissidents to participate in a high-level conference entitled “Not Only Putin - Russia’s Deep State, Society, and Foreign Assets in the War Against Ukraine”, taking place on Tuesday morning. Ms Fotyga will be joined by co-host MEP Kosma Złotowski, historian Yuri Felshtinsky, Russian politician llya Ponomarev – the only State Duma Member who voted against the annexation of Crimea in 2014, Oleksiy Arestovych – Adviser to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Mark Feygin – Russian lawyer and politician – former MP and Vice-Mayor of Samara, and Russian scientist, political writer and analyst Andrei Piontkovsky. Participants will share their views on the prospects of dealing with Russian aggression and putting an end to its imperialism once and for all. The conference will also be streamed live in both English and Russian languages from the ECR Group’s and Anna Fotyga’s social media channels.

When: Tuesday @ 10:00-11:30

Where: European Parliament, Strasbourg: Room Louise Weiss N.1.3

Livestream links: English & Russian, ECR Facebook event

Press Conference with Yuri Felshtinsky, llya Ponomarev, ECR MEP Anna Fotyga and ECR MEP Kosma Złotowski on the current situation of war in Ukraine and prospects for Ukraine’s victory considering Russia’s history and current state of affairs.

Tuesday @ 14:00; Daphne Caruana Galizia Press room

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