Week Ahead: 16 - 20 January 2023

30th Anniversary of the Single Market; Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson presents Council Presidency priorities; The establishment of a tribunal on the crime of aggression against Ukraine; EU response to the protests and executions in Iran; Election of a new Vice-President of the European Parliament

30th Anniversary of the Single Market

On Monday, Parliament will hold a ceremony and a debate on the 30th anniversary of the single market, followed by a vote on Wednesday. Since its establishment in 1993, the single market has ensured the free movement of people, goods, services and capital across the EU’s internal market. The ECR Group considers it the greatest achievement of the EU, forming the backbone of the EU economy, as well as being a project of peace and stability for the European continent. It has enhanced the well-being of citizens, added value for businesses and consumers, stepped up the EU’s competitiveness, and boosted economic growth. In future, the internal market should be strengthened and further developed.

Ceremony: Monday @ 17:00

Debate: Monday @ 18:00

Vote: Wednesday @ 12:00

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson presents Council Presidency priorities

On Tuesday morning, Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson will present the Programme of Activities of the Swedish Presidency, which started on 1 January 2023. The ECR Group welcomes Sweden’s commitment to economic and military support for Ukraine and to strengthening the EU’s trade competitiveness, especially against the current backdrop of multiple crises. On the other hand, the ECR Group would like to see more effort put towards securing the EU’s external borders. Swedish ECR Vice-President Charlie Weimers also stresses that the work of the French and Czech Presidencies on tightening EU financial rules with regard to Islamist organisations must be continued. Just as the EU would never agree to give money to organisations whose leaders have made anti-Semitic, misogynistic or homophobic statements, an important goal should be to change the rules on EU funding to stop Islamist organisations from benefiting in any way from EU funds.

Debate: Tuesday @ 9:00

The establishment of a tribunal on the crime of aggression against Ukraine

On Tuesday, MEPs will debate the establishment of a special tribunal on the crime of aggression against Ukraine. The ECR Group has called on the international community to set up a special tribunal to deal with Russian soldiers, commanders and politicians – including at the highest levels of power – and to try them for aggression against Ukraine and war crimes against Ukrainian. Among these crimes: genocide. In June 2022, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk confirmed that over a million Ukrainians had been forcibly deported to Russia. Once in Russia, citizens were taken to ‘filtration camps’ to be detained, searched and interrogated. OSCE officials discovered 18 of such ‘filtration camps’ along both sides of the Russia-Ukraine border. There have been reports of torture, inedible food, squalid living quarters, restrictions on movement, extensive surveillance and censorship. The ECR Group will also demand the establishment of a set of mechanisms, firstly, for frozen Russian funds to be put to use as compensation and, secondly, for the payment of reparations by Russia. The vote on the associated resolution will take place on Thursday.

Debate: Tuesday @ 15:00

Vote: Thursday @ 12:00

EU response to the protests and executions in Iran

On Tuesday, MEPs will debate the EU’s response to the protests and executions in Iran, followed by a vote on Thursday. The ECR Group urges all Member States to include the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on the EU terror list and to suspend the negotiations on the Iran Nuclear Deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action). The Conservatives and Reformists also call for further sanctions on the Islamic Republic’s regime, its elite, and persons responsible and involved in the suppression and violent crackdown on pro-democracy activities in the country, as well as on those involved in Russia’s war crimes in Ukraine by delivering drones that target civilians and civilian infrastructure. The ECR Group has recently expressed its solidarity with the Iranian people protesting for a free and democratic country and against the compulsory veiling of women, and has called for the immediate and unconditional release of all those arrested and for the Iranian regime to stop executing protesters. The European Parliament must take this opportunity to remember the names of Iranians unlawfully executed by the brutal Iranian regime, including Mohsen Shekari, Majid Reza Rahnavard, Mohammad Mehdi Karami, Sayed Mohammad Hosseini, 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 in addition to scores of other protesters. The Group also strongly condemns the recent sentencing of Belgian aid worker, Olivier Vandecasteele, to 40 years imprisonment and 74 lashes. Following the sanctioning of three ECR MEPs (Charlie Weimers, Jan Zahradil, and Hermann Tertsch), among other European officials, by the Iranian regime on 26 October 2022, the ECR Group called for further measures at the European Parliament level. These could include blocking the entry of Iranian officials to the European Parliament, cancelling the mission of the Foreign Affairs Committee to Iran and preventing its reassessment for the second half of 2023 and, given Iran’s history of support for terrorism, considering a security protocol for the sanctioned MEPs.

Debate: Tuesday @ 18:00

Vote: Thursday @ 12:00

Election of a new Vice-President of the European Parliament

On Wednesday, the European Parliament will elect a new Vice-President to replace Eva Kaili (S&D Group), who was arrested and charged with corruption in December 2022. The ECR Group finds the bribery being exposed in the so-called Qatargate scandal shocking. Is it absolutely clear that the European Parliament cannot go on without a meaningful intervention. As a first step towards comprehensive reform, President Roberta Metsola has presented a first set of proposals at the Conference of Presidents that will be part of a plan to strengthen the integrity, independence and accountability of the institution. The ECR Group welcomes this commitment to pursuing an internal follow-up.

Election: Wednesday @ 12:00

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