Week Ahead - 4 - 8 October 2021

Council and Commission Statements on European Solutions to the rise of energy prices for businesses and customers: the role of energy efficiency and renewable energy and the need to tackle energy poverty; The future of EU-US relations; Situation in Belarus; The Arctic: opportunities, concerns and security challenges; Rebuilding fish stocks in the Mediterranean Sea; European Union Agency for Asylum

Council and Commission Statements on European Solutions to the rise of energy prices for businesses and customers: the role of energy efficiency and renewable energy and the need to tackle energy poverty

On Wednesday, Members will discuss the recent rise in energy prices affecting enterprises as well as citizens. The ECR Group has always been in favour to support a climate-friendly energy transformation but one that is founded on an evidence-based policy, that provides opportunities for growth and is achievable in every European region and that protect citizens’ interests. In connection to this, the ECR Group has tabled a Resolution that calls for a revision of the Commission’s Regulation 2020/852 – the so-called taxonomy – that ruled out Gas and Nuclear Power as at least bridge technologies to secure a safe and affordable energy supply for Europe. The ECR Group believes that the Commission has not adequately considered the long-term effects and wider implications of its energy policy, including the risk of energy poverty amongst Union citizens. Furthermore, the Commission tends to alternate its priorities, creating uncertainty when it comes to energy policy, which hinders investment in low emission, non-intermittent energy sources. The combination of these issues is driving the current crisis and mounting challenges for both Member States and individual citizens. Therefore, we call on the Commission to refrain from establishing technical criteria that exclude specific sectors and can provide a stable and affordable energy supply access to the capital needed for a sustainable transition, such as gas, a bridge technology, and nuclear – that the ECR Group considers a long-term solution.

Debate: Wednesday @ 9:00
Vote on the ECR Objection persuant to Rule 111(3): Tuesday @ 13:00 & @ 20:00

The future of EU-US relations

On Tuesday, Members of the European Parliament will debate the future of EU-US relations, followed by votes on Tuesday and Wednesday. For the ECR Group, it is important to note that the European Union and the US share multiple areas of common interest and values. Therefore, cooperation with the US administration should be further expanded. A high potential lies in a robust transatlantic bond for mutual assistance and in shaping the international environment consistent with democratic values. However, the ECR Group is concerned that the report overlooks key shortfalls in the EU’s diplomatic and strategic toolbox, such as in emerging technological areas like Artificial Intelligence and quantum computing. The report also overlooks the lack of operational capabilities to address conflicts at the periphery of Europe and the lack of alignment on how to address key challenges such as China, Russia, or Iran. Despite its shortfalls, the ECR Group considers this report a viable advancement of the EU-US relationship. It calls for strengthening cooperation and ensuring that the transatlantic bond remains a primary external relationship that the EU must preserve.

Debate: Tuesday @ 9:00
Votes: Tuesday @ 20:00 & Wednesday @ 13:00

Situation in Belarus

On Tuesday, the European Parliament will debate the current situation in Belarus. Votes will follow the debate on Thursday. The ECR Group believes that the EU should uphold its united stance by continuing to support the Belarusian people in their demands for free and fair elections, democracy, fundamental freedoms and human rights. The ongoing repression must end, and all political prisoners, including Angelika Borys and Andrzej Poczobut, must be immediately and unconditionally released. The EU needs a tougher response to the hybrid actions orchestrated by the Alexander Lukashenka regime and supported by the Kremlin, which include the barbaric instrumentalisation of migrants. Efforts should be stepped up to end this state-mandated boom in human trafficking, including diplomatic pressure on migrants’ countries of origin, sanctions against Belarusian officials, persons and entities, and disrupting the implicated criminal networks operating within the EU.

Debate: Tuesday @ 9:00
Votes: Thursday @ 9:45 & @ 13:45

The Arctic: opportunities, concerns and security challenges

On Tuesday, the European Parliament will debate the own initiative report of ECR rapporteur Anna Fotyga on The Arctic: opportunities, concerns and security challenges, followed by votes on Wednesday. The ECR Group believes that a change in perception of the Arctic is urgently needed as the increasingly tense international situation forces the EU to revise its policy in the region. After extensive consultation with local and international stakeholders, the ECR Group sees that the Arctic will no longer be a remote or inaccessible region but will play a key role in our future. The EU’s Arctic strategy must reflect the new security realities in the region, such as the rising geopolitical tensions and new players such as China. Moscow looks to the Arctic in the long term, seeking to impose a range of legal, economic and military realities. In this way, it introduces global tensions to a region that the ECR group wants to preserve as an area of peaceful and fruitful cooperation. The growing role of the Arctic in the areas of trade, navigation, environment and climate, and issues relating to local communities, particularly indigenous peoples, must be taken into account. Rare earth minerals are critical to the further development of new technologies - both environmental and military. Therefore, Europe needs to reduce its dependence on China for these minerals, and the Arctic should play a central role in the European Raw Materials Alliance. The ECR Group calls for greater European visibility in the region, greater coordination at the EU level, and cooperation with partners committed to respecting international law, developing peaceful cooperation, and guaranteeing freedom of navigation.

Debate: Tuesday @ 15:00
Votes: Wednesday @13:00 & @ 20:00

Rebuilding fish stocks in the Mediterranean Sea

On Monday, the ECR MEP Raffaele Stancanelli will present his own initiative report on rebuilding fish stocks in the Mediterranean Sea. The report, to be voted on Tuesday, focuses on the importance of protecting the fishery sector and related activities, taking into account socio-economic aspects and recognising that EU fishermen often face dangerous situations because third countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea don’t respect international agreements. In the Committee on Fisheries, the report has been unanimously approved.

Presentation: Monday @ 20:30
Vote: Tuesday @ 13:00 & @ 20:00

European Union Agency for Asylum

On Thursday morning, MEPs will hold a debate on the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA). The ECR Group supports the idea of the EUAA as an agency assisting Member States upon request. However, the ECR deems it problematic that the Agency will be legally obliged to work with NGOs and that the Monitoring Mechanism – a mechanism to improve the functioning of the Common European Asylum System – can be enforced. The vote will be held at a future plenary session.

Debate: Thursday @ 9:00

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