European Parliament Press Kit for the European Council of 24-25 May 2021

(Source: European Parliament)

In this press kit, you will find a selection of the European Parliament’s press releases that show MEPs’ priorities in relation to topics on the summit agenda.

Additional information, including contact details for the MEPs involved, can be found on the European Parliament’s website.

European Parliament President, David Sassoli, will represent the European Parliament at the summit and:

– address the heads of state or government at 19:00 on 24 May

– hold a press conference on Tuesday (25 May) at 10:00.

On 24 and 25 May, EU leaders will meet physically to discuss the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the fight against climate change, EU relations with the UK following the entry into force of the trade and cooperation agreement, and relations with Russia.

Response to the COVID-19 pandemic

On 20 May, EP and Council negotiators reached a provisional deal for an EU Digital Covid certificate to facilitate free movement in Europe during the pandemic. The certificate will be available in either digital or paper format. It will attest that a person has been vaccinated against coronavirus or has a recent negative test result or has recovered from the infection. The regulation on the EU Digital Covid Certificate should be in place for 12 months. The certificate will not be a precondition to exercise the right to free movement and will not be considered a travel document. The agreed text will be put to a vote in the Civil Liberties Committee on 26 May. If confirmed by the committee, the text will be tabled for adoption in plenary during the June session (7-10 June).

Member states should not impose additional travel restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as quarantine, self-isolation or testing, “unless they are necessary and proportionate to safeguard public health”. In addition, to make “affordable and accessible testing” more widely available, the European Commission committed to mobilise “at least €100 million” under the Emergency Support Instrument for the purchase of tests for the purpose of issuing EU Digital Covid test certificates. This should particularly benefit persons who cross borders daily or frequently to go to work or school, visit close relatives, seek medical care, or to take care of loved ones.

Concerning access to vaccines, MEPs differ on the benefits of a temporary waiver of patent rights for COVID-19 vaccines but criticised the US and the UK for hoarding doses to excess at a time when poorer countries have little or no access to jabs. A resolution will be put to a vote at the next plenary session (7-10 June).

More information

EU Digital Covid Certificate: provisional deal between Parliament and Council

MEPs split over waiver for COVID-19 vaccine patents

Getting a patent waiver is not enough, says WTO chief to Trade Committee

COVID-19 lessons learned: impact of the pandemic on cancer care

MEPs to contact

Juan Fernando LOPEZ AGUILAR (S&D, ES), Rapporteur on the EU Digital Covid Certificate.

Pascal CANFIN (Renew, FR), Chair of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee.

Monika HOHLMEIER (EPP, DE), Chair of the Budgetary Control (CONT) Committee.

Bartosz ARLUKOWICZ (EPP, PL), Chair of the Special Committee on Beating Cancer (BECA).

Véronique TRILLET-LENOIR (Renew Europe, FR), BECA Rapporteur.

Climate change

Parliament has played an important role in pushing for more ambitious EU climate legislation and declared a climate emergency on 28 November 2019. More recently, on 20 April, MEPs reached an informal agreement with member states on the EU Climate Law, a few days before US President Biden hosted a Leaders’ Summit on Climate.

The new EU Climate Law increases the EU’s 2030 emissions reductions target from 40% to at least 55% compared to 1990 levels, while boosting the contribution from removals that can bring the target to 57%. It transforms political promises that the EU will become climate neutral by 2050 into a binding obligation, and gives European citizens and businesses the legal certainty and predictability they need to plan for the transition to climate neutrality. After 2050, the EU shall aim to achieve negative emissions.

On 18 May, MEPs adopted the Just Transition Fund (JTF) that will help EU countries address the social and economic impact of the transition to climate neutrality. The package comprises €7.5 billion from the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework, and an additional €10 billion from the EU Recovery Instrument. To be eligible, projects must focus on economic diversification, reconversion or job creation, or they must contribute to a transition to a sustainable, climate-neutral and circular economy.

At Parliament’s initiative, a “Green Rewarding Mechanism” will be introduced to the JTF if the fund’s resources are increased after 31 December 2024. These additional resources would be distributed among member states, with those that succeed in reducing industrial greenhouse gas emissions receiving more funding.

More information

MEPs reach deal with Council on obligation for EU to be climate neutral by 2050

A €17.5 billion fund to ensure no one is left behind on the road to a greener economy

MEPs to contact

Jytte GUTELAND (S&D, SE), Rapporteur on EU Climate Law.

Pascal CANFIN (Renew, FR), Chair of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee.

Manolis KEFALOGIANNIS (EPP, GR), Rapporteur on the Just Transition Fund.

Younous OMARJEE (The Left, FR), Chair of the Regional Development (REGI) Committee.

EU-UK relations

On 27 April, Parliament voted with a large majority in favour of granting its consent to the Trade and Cooperation Agreement setting the rules of the future EU-UK relationship. To minimise disruption, the agreement has been provisionally applied since 1 January 2021.

MEPs condemned the UK’s unilateral actions, which are in breach of the Withdrawal Agreement. They called on the UK government “to act in good faith and fully implement the terms of the agreements which it has signed”, including the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, and apply them based on a timetable jointly set up with the European Commission. MEPs also underlined that Parliament plays a full role in monitoring how the agreement is applied, including by being involved in unilateral EU actions under the agreement and having its views taken into account.

More information

Parliament formally approves EU-UK trade and cooperation agreement

MEPs to contact

David MCALLISTER (EPP, DE), Chair of the UK Coordination Group.

Andreas SCHIEDER (S&D, AT), Rapporteur for the Trade (INTA) Committee, and member of the UK Coordination Group.

Christopher HANSEN (EPP, LU), Rapporteur for the Foreign Affairs (AFET) Committee, and member of the UK Coordination Group.

EU-Russia relations

Parliament is deeply concerned about Russian military build-up on Ukraine’s border and revelations by Russian agents behind explosions in Czechia. In a resolution adopted on 29 April, MEPs stressed that should military build-up lead to Russian invading Ukraine, the EU must make clear that the consequences for such a violation of international law and norms would be severe. Such a scenario must result in an immediate halt in imports of oil and gas from Russia to the EU, Russia’s exclusion from the SWIFT payment system and the freezing of assets and cancellation of visas for Europe of all oligarchs tied to the Russian authorities. The resolution also deplores the revelation that the Russian intelligence services set off the explosion of an arms depot in Vrbětice, Czechia, in 2014, in which two Czech citizens were killed.

Parliament reiterated its call for the immediate and unconditional release of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, whose sentencing is politically motivated and runs counter to Russia’s international human rights obligations.

More information

Russia: MEPs deplore military build-up, attack in Czechia and jailing of Navalny

MEPs criticise visit of EU foreign policy chief to Moscow

MEPs to discuss security issues related to Russia

MEPs to contact

David MCALLISTER (EPP, DE), Chair of the Foreign Affairs (AFET) Committee.

Andrius KUBILIUS (EPP, LT), standing rapporteur on Russia.

Ryszard CZARNECKI (ECR, PL), Chair of the EP Delegation to the EU-Russia Parliamentary cooperation committee.

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