European Parliament Press Kit for the European Council of 24 and 25 March 2022 | News


European Parliament President Roberta Metsola will represent the European Parliament at the summit and address the Heads of State or Government at 17.00 on 24 March. She will hold a press conference in the European Council press room at around 17.30.

EU leaders will meet to discuss further measures in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its consequences on Europe’s security and sovereignty. US President Joe Biden will participate in the meeting. Besides security and defence and external relations, the EU Heads of State or Government will take stock during their summit of the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic recovery, in the midst of rising energy prices further fuelled by Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

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

Russian invasion of Ukraine

As a result of the cooperation with Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada in the field of democracy support, Parliament launched the “The EU stands with Ukraine” website (in English and Ukrainian) on 11 March. It provides the latest news, videos and podcasts, relevant legislation and resolutions to show how the EU is helping Ukraine. Content from the Ukrainian Parliament can also be shared on the site.

During its 23-24 March session, MEPs debated with the Council and the Commission the need for an urgent EU Action Plan to ensure food security inside and outside the EU in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. A resolution was put to the vote today. Parliament also discussed

“The Power of the EU”, the joint European action for more affordable, secure and sustainable energy. More information on both debates and the adopted resolution can be found here.

In a debate with European Council President Charles Michel and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on 23 March, MEPs unanimously condemned Russia’s brutal invasion and urged the EU to further sanction Moscow and protect the European economy. On the same day, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed MEPs and stressed that NATO and the EU are more resolved and united than ever and that more pressure must be put on Putin. Opening this debate, Parliament President Roberta Metsola emphasised the shared core values of the EU and Canada were under attack. “This is our generation’s moment to live up to the world we have inherited”, she added.

In a resolution on the need for an urgent EU action plan to ensure food security in and outside the EU following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, adopted on 24 March, Parliament calls for immediate and substantial food aid to Ukraine and for the EU to make its food production more independent. The EU should open food corridors to and from Ukraine, serving as an alternative to closed Black Sea ports. Ukrainian farmers should be provided with scarce seeds, fuel and fertilisers. MEPs also say that the EU needs to reduce its dependence on imports from too few suppliers. They call for supply from third countries to be diversified, and demand, in the short term, that the Commission assess how to cushion the impact of high fertiliser prices on farmers.

On 24 March, MEPs heard from the European Commission and the Council on plans for a Joint European Action for more affordable, secure and sustainable energy. Most MEPs advocated a faster deployment of renewables in order to make Europe independent from Russian fossil fuels. Some speakers called on EU member states to reduce energy taxation, and wanted electricity and gas prices to be decoupled. Others pointed to the effect of speculation on the energy market, emphasised the importance of reducing consumption, and proposed the introduction of additional taxation on energy companies benefiting from skyrocketing prices.

On 1 March, Parliament held an extraordinary plenary session in Brussels to assess Russia’s military assault on Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the Speaker of the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada (parliament) Ruslan Stefanchuk spoke live from Kyiv.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, “in a break between missile strikes”, that the Parliament and the EU’s leaders must now “prove that the EU is with Ukraine. We are fighting for our rights, our freedoms, our lives, and currently – for our survival. We are also fighting to be equal members of Europe. So now, prove that you are with us”, he told MEPs. “Prove that you indeed are Europeans and then life will win over death, and light will win over darkness. Glory to Ukraine”.

In a resolution adopted on 1 March, MEPs called for a tougher response to Russia and new efforts to grant Ukraine EU candidate status. The EU should restrict imports of most important Russian export goods, such as oil and gas, adopt sanctions that strategically weaken the Russian economy and industry, provide Ukraine with defensive weapons more swiftly and extend the SWIFT ban to Belarus, MEPs said.

During a debate on 9 March with Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas and EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell, MEPs outlined their vision for Europe’s future security. They stressed the need for the EU to cut its use of Russian gas and oil, for more investments in green technologies and energy storage and to introduce a proper migration system for welcoming and sharing responsibility for refugees. MEPs also called for more EU defence efforts and urged for a joint push to advance the European Defence Union, but called for efforts from all member states to transform their pledges into reality.

On 8 March, Parliament held a debate on the situation of refugees as a consequence of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. MEPs praised frontline states for their extraordinary engagement so far, but warned that sustained solidarity across the EU will be necessary in the long-term.

Further reading

MEPs to contact

David McALLISTER, (EPP, DE) Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and co-Chair of the Fact Finding Mission to Ukraine

Nathalie LOISEAU (Renew, FR) Chair of the Subcommittee on Security and Defence and co-Chair of the Fact Finding Mission to Ukraine

Michael GAHLER (EPP, DE) Standing Rapporteur on Ukraine

Andrius KUBILIUS (EPP, LT) Standing Rapporteur on Russia

COVID-19 pandemic

On 10 March, Parliament set up the 38-member Special Committee on “COVID-19 pandemic: lessons learned and recommendations for the future”. It will look into the European response to the pandemic in the areas of health, democracy and fundamental rights, economy and society, and the EU’s global relationships. It will have twelve months to compile its recommendations. The names of the MEPs who will sit on the committee were announced on 24 March (more info here).

Further reading:

MEPs to contact:

Pascal Canfin (Renew, FR), Chair of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

European Semester

MEPs on 9 March debated their priorities for this year’s so-called “European Semester”, the EU’s mechanism for the surveillance and coordination of economic and employment policies across member states, and adopted their recommendations on the economy on 10 March, in light of the war in Ukraine.

In the resolution, Members underline that the severe sanctions imposed by the EU on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine will unavoidably entail negative effects on the EU economy. They call on the Commission to identify and facilitate ways to address the economic and social consequences of the sanctions. MEPs also urged EU countries to coordinate their economic and fiscal policies more effectively and to use the opportunities offered by the EU’s recovery funds to modernise their economies. Finally, MEPs raise concern over the different rates of recovery across the EU, with expected GDP growth ranging from 2.8 % to 13.7 %.

Further reading:

MEPs to contact:

Irene Tinagli (S&D, IT), rapporteur and Chair of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs

Dragoş Pîslaru (Renew, RO), Chair of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs

Helmut Geuking (EPP, DE), rapporteur

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