Belarus, climate action, COVID-19: MEPs assess EU summit results

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.


On Wednesday morning, Parliament debated the outcome of May’s special summit with European Council President Michel and Commission President von der Leyen.

A large majority of members backed the firm and united response of the European Council to Belarus and endorsed the swift imposition of sanctions on the regime. MEPs stressed the EU must step up its support for and protect civil society, journalists and all those fighting for democracy and fundamental values, inside and outside the Union.

MEPs also acknowledged the Council’s discussions on climate matters, underlining the EU must maintain climate action leadership and turn its pledge on climate neutrality into a reality. Speakers referred to different issues the EU should take into account on the path to achieving its green ambitions, including the social impact of change and the slower pace of transition in some member states.

Many MEPs stated the COVID-19 situation is steadily improving, mainly due to vaccination efforts across the EU. They also urged member states to implement quickly and consistently the EU Digital COVID certificate, in order to facilitate safe cross-border travel.

To listen to individual speakers, click on the names below.

Charles Michel, European Council President

Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission President

Manfred Weber (EPP, DE)

Iratxe García Pérez (S&D, ES)

Dacian Cioloş (Renew, RO)

Ska Keller (Greens/ALE, DE)

Mara Bizzotto (ID, IT)

Beata Szydło (ECR, PL)

Manon Aubry (The Left, FR)

Watch the entire debate again.

Background

At the special meeting of the European Council that took place on 24 and 25 May, EU heads of state or government took stock of the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination efforts across Europe and debated several foreign policy topics, including Russia, Mali and EU relations with the United Kingdom.

EU leaders also strongly condemned the forced landing of a Ryanair flight in Minsk, Belarus, on 23 May, as well as the abduction of journalist Raman Pratasevich and Sofia Sapega, and tasked the Council with preparing new sanctions on Belarusian individuals and entities involved in this dramatic incident.

In addition, EU leaders welcomed the agreement reached by Parliament and Council on the EU Climate Law and urged the Commission to adopt its “fit for 2030” legislative package swiftly, including an in-depth impact assessment at member state level.

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