Reviewing the latest EU Council, MEPs called for EU action to enhance the industrial sector, support households and businesses and continue backing Ukraine.
“The world is more dangerous today”, acknowledged European Council President Charles Michel, stressing the EU’s support for multilateralism and a rules-based order and highlighting the need to “deal with China and not decouple” from it. He welcomed the leaders’ endorsement to send additional weapons and ammunitions to Ukraine, a major step towards a European defence system. Regarding long-term competitiveness, Mr Michel said that Europe must become “a powerhouse of innovation”, particularly on renewable energy and clean technologies.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the EU, given its ambitious targets for the deployment of renewables, needs to create a better regulatory environment for European manufacturers of clean technologies, while highlighting the importance of critical raw materials to ensure the green and digital transitions.
Moving on to the war in Ukraine, she reiterated that the EU will keep supporting Kyiv whatever the cost and described the decision by the International Criminal Court to issue a warrant for the arrest of Russian President Vladimir Putin, as a “step forward”. Von der Leyen also stressed that the international community needs to do everything possible to bring home all the Ukrainian children illegally deported to Russia since the outbreak of the war.
Many MEPs focused on international industrial competitiveness and strategy, with some highlighting the need to stop the loss of industrial strength and jobs in Europe. Others called on the EU to speak with a single voice for example with regards to China, and to reduce dependence on third countries.
On migration, most speakers insisted that ambition and courage are needed to succeed in the negotiations on the migration and asylum pact, referencing key topics like the fair distribution of migrants and asylum-seekers among member states and tackling the root causes of migration.
Several MEPs argued that more international trade agreements are needed (with existing ones requiring updates), while others focused on security and foreign policy concerns, calling for transatlantic relations to be protected and strengthened. Many also highlighted the need to continue supporting Ukraine and make sure that Russia will be held accountable for its war of aggression.
Some speakers criticised the EU’s approach to handling recent crises and common policies like the European Green Deal, and called for more decisions to be taken at member state level. In contrast, many others demanded enhanced cooperation, an end to vetoes and no more time-wasting in the Council to support households and businesses from threats like surging inflation and energy bills.
You can watch the full debate here.