NextGenerationUE: European Commission provides 231 million euros in pre-financing to Slovenia
During the annual State of the European Union debate, MEPs questioned Commission President von der Leyen on the EU’s most immediate challenges, AFCO plenary session.
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen began her second State of the European Union address by stressing that, in the biggest global health crisis in a century, the deepest global economic crisis in decades and the most serious planetary crisis of all time, “we chose to go together. Like one Europe. And we can be proud of it ”. She stressed that Europe is among the world leaders in terms of vaccination rates, while sharing half of its vaccine production with the rest of the world. The priority now is to speed up global vaccination, to continue efforts in Europe and to prepare well for future pandemics.
Looking ahead, she noted that “digital is the decisive issue” and announced a new European chip law, bringing together Europe’s world-class research, design and testing capabilities and coordinating investments. European and national in semiconductors. On climate change, von der Leyen made it clear that “since it is man-made, we can do something”. She stressed that with the Green Deal, the EU was the first major economy to present comprehensive legislation in this area and pledged to support developing countries by doubling funding for biodiversity and pledging € 4 billion. additional funds for climate finance until 2027 to support their green economy. transition.
Speaking on foreign and security policy, she called for a European cyber defense policy and a new European law on cyber resilience and announced a European defense summit to be held under the French presidency.
Manfred WEBER (EPP, DE) underlined the social and economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis and said that Europe urgently needs to create new jobs, also in the health sector where the EU is leading with COVID-19 vaccines . He advocated for an EU-US trade emergency program for the transport, mobility and digital sectors and a plan to cut red tape. European defense should be reinforced with a rapid reaction force, and Europol has turned into a European FBI, he concluded.
Iratxe GARCÍA (S&D, ES) positively assessed the EU’s fight against the pandemic and its consequences: “70% of the population is vaccinated, freedom of movement is once again a reality and NextGenerationEU funds are already distributed”. The transition to a green economy is also on track, she added, but “we have not done enough to ensure the well-being of citizens”, noting that the crisis has exacerbated inequalities and hit harder. the most vulnerable.
Dacian CIOLOŞ (Renew, RO) complained that too often the Commission has engaged in diplomacy with the Council instead of engaging in policy making with Parliament. Stressing that European values are the foundations of our Union, he urged the Commission to start using the conditionality mechanism put in place to protect the EU budget from violations of the rule of law – in force for almost ‘one year but never applied – to stop the funding of illiberal movements in many regions of Europe where judicial independence is eroded, journalists murdered and minorities discriminated against.
Philippe LAMBERTS (Greens / ALE, BE) demanded more climate ambition: “faster, higher, stronger: it is high time to apply the Olympic objectives to our efforts to save the planet”. He also called for changes in the tax and social systems to ensure a life of dignity for all. On foreign policy, Lamberts noted that only by sharing sovereignty could the EU become a ‘heavyweight’ on the world stage, and made it clear that ” Fortress Europe ‘will never be a player. geopolitics respected “. Finally, he regretted that the EU countries’ the main concern regarding Afghanistan is to prevent any Afghan from setting foot on European territory.
EU citizens don’t need ‘flowery speeches’, they just want ‘to be left alone’, said Jörg MEUTHEN (ID, DE). He criticized the Commission’s plans for “massive spending” – for the Green Deal, for the stimulus fund, for “Fit for 55”, which citizens would ultimately have to pay. He warned of the growing bureaucracy and lamented the transition to green energy, arguing for more nuclear power.
Raffaele FITTO (ECR, IT) warned that “NextGenerationEU’s resources are not enough on their own” and demanded reform of the Stability Pact. He also called for a change in state aid rules and a more autonomous trade policy. “The environmental transition cannot be approached without taking into account what is happening in the world and especially the impact on our production system”, he added. On the rule of law and Poland, Fitto denounced “a political imposition by a majority which does not respect the competences of individual states”.
According to Martin SCHIRDEWAN (La Gauche, DE)Mrs von der Leyen congratulated herself but gave no answer to today’s problems. He demanded that patent protection for vaccines be removed and lamented that Europe’s 10 richest billionaires have further increased their fortunes during the pandemic as one in five children in the EU grows up in poverty or there is threatened.
Ursula VON DER LEYEN, President of the European Commission
Manfred WEBER (EPP, DE)
Iratxe GARCÍA PÉREZ (S&D, ES)
Dacian CIOLOŞ (Renew, RO)
Philippe LAMBERTS (Greens / ALE, BE)
Jörg MEUTHEN (ID, DE)
Raffaele FITTO (ECR, IT)
Martin SCHIRDEWAN (The Left, DE)