European Parliament Press Kit for the European Council of 15 December 2022 | News


Press Conference with President Roberta Metsola

Thursday 15 December at around 10.30

European Council press room

The 15 December EU summit will focus on the latest developments in Russia’s war against Ukraine, the EU’s continued support for Ukraine, energy and economy, security and defence, the EU’s southern neighbourhood and further external relations issues.

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.

Parliament’s 2022 Sakharov Prize awarded to the Ukrainian people

During a ceremony in Strasbourg on 14 December, the 2022 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought was awarded to the brave Ukrainian People represented by their president, elected leaders, and civil society.

EP President Roberta Metsola said: “The message from Europe has been clear: We stand with Ukraine. We will not look away. The Ukrainian people are not just fighting a war of independence but fighting a war of values. The values which underpin our life in the European Union and that we have long had the luxury of taking for granted each and every day.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who addressed plenary remotely, said: “We must act now, not waiting for the war to end, to bring to justice all those who unleashed it and to prevent any repetition of aggression. This will be the most effective protection of freedom, human rights, the rule of law and other common values, which are embodied in particular by this award by the European Parliament.”

Further reading:

Russia’s war against Ukraine

Following the atrocities carried out by Vladimir Putin’s regime against Ukrainian civilians, MEPs have recognised Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, in a resolution adopted on 23 November. They highlight that the deliberate attacks committed by Russian forces and their proxies against civilians in Ukraine, the destruction of civilian infrastructure and other serious violations of international and humanitarian law amount to acts of terror and constitute war crimes. In light of this, they recognise Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism and as a state that “uses means of terrorism”.

The resolution further calls on EU member states in the Council to swiftly complete its work on a ninth sanctions package against Moscow. MEPs also want EU countries to actively prevent, investigate and prosecute any circumvention of current sanctions and, together with the European Commission, consider possible measures against countries trying to help Russia circumvent restrictive measures already put in place.

To provide Ukraine with power generators, EP President Metsola and Dario Nardella, Mayor of Florence and President of Eurocities – the network of Europe’s more than 200 largest cities – launched the Generators of Hopecampaign on 23 November. The campaign calls on cities to donate power generators and transformers to help Ukrainians get through the harsh winter ahead. These generators will help to keep essential facilities in the country running, providing energy to hospitals, schools, water supply facilities, relief centres, shelters, phone masts and more. On Thursday 8 December, President Metsola, on behalf of the European Parliament, also contributed to the campaign by donating a generator to Ukraine.

On 14 December, Parliament agreed to a modified regulation allowing the €18 billion support package to be transferred to Ukraine after Hungary had vetoed the original proposal. The long-term loan, given on preferential terms but conditional on reforms, will cover essential public services, including running hospitals, schools and providing housing. It is also intended to help maintain macroeconomic stability and to rebuild infrastructure in Ukraine, which has been under constant attack by Russia.

On 24 November, Parliament endorsed a decision not to accept passports and other travel documents issued by Russia in illegally-occupied Ukrainian regions and so-called breakaway territories of Georgia. According to the proposal, the Commission should consult EU member states and draw up a list of Russian travel documents, notably passports, which should not be accepted. However, those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine will still be able to enter the EU on humanitarian grounds.

Further reading:

MEPs to contact:

David McALLISTER, (EPP, DE) Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs

Nathalie LOISEAU (Renew, FR) Chair of the Subcommittee on Security and Defence

Michael GAHLER (EPP, DE) Standing Rapporteur on Ukraine

Andrius KUBILIUS (EPP, LT) Standing Rapporteur on Russia

Juan Fernando LÓPEZ AGUILAR (S&D, ES), Chair of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

Bernd LANGE (S&D, DE), Chair of the Committee on International Trade

Eurobarometer survey

The European Parliament’s Autumn 2022 Eurobarometer survey, of which results were published on 14 December, shows that 74% of EU citizens approve of the European Union’s support for Ukraine following Russia’s invasion, according to the survey conducted between 12 October and 7 November 2022.

In all EU Member States, a majority of citizens approve of the EU’s support, with highest support levels shown in Sweden (97%), Finland (95%), the Netherlands (93%), Portugal (92%), and Denmark (92%). Ten months into the war in Ukraine, support for the concrete measures taken by the EU – such as sanctions against the Russian government or financial, military or humanitarian support to Ukraine – continues to be equally high at 73%.

EP President Roberta Metsola said: “The Russian aggression has caused terrible human suffering and massive destruction. The courage and resilience of Ukrainians in the face of terror is impressive. The best response and support we as European Union can give is European solidarity and European unity. Ukrainians can count on the unwavering support of the European Parliament.”

The impact of the Russian war in Ukraine is felt clearly by European citizens. Because of the war and its consequences, close to two thirds of EU citizens believe that their life will change (65%), +4pp compared to April/May 2022.

A presentation of these results can be found here.

Energy and Economy

On 10 November, MEPs agreed on the inclusion of REPowerEU measures in national recovery plans to support independence from Russian fossil fuels and accelerate the green transition. EU countries that submit an amended recovery and resilience plan after the entry into force of this proposal will be required to include measures to save energy, produce clean energy and diversify energy supplies, as foreseen in the EU’s REPowerEU plan.

On 18 October, Parliament discussed with Council and Commission the social and economic consequences of the war in Ukraine and the introduction of a windfall tax. During the debate, MEPs called on the Commission to be more proactive in addressing the current price shock. Some called for the EU to work on a solidarity package for the winter with fiscal transfers to offset the energy prices, while others proposed a “shield” to protect citizens and businesses. Other MEPs urged the EU to cushion the risk of variable interest rates on mortgages, and warned against national fiscal measures distorting competition in the single market.

In a resolution adopted on 5 October, MEPs call for the EU’s response to focus on the most vulnerable. They alert member states that consumers that cannot afford their energy bills should not have their supply cut off and underline the need to avoid home evictions for vulnerable households that are unable to pay their bills and rental costs. Consumers should be better protected from their fixed-rate contracts being suspended or withdrawn by suppliers, as well as from exorbitant pre-payments for gas and electricity.

Parliament also called for an appropriate price cap for imports of pipeline gas, measures to tackle speculation, an immediate and full embargo on oil, coal, nuclear fuel and gas from Russia and for further steps needed towards introducing a tax on windfall profits. The revenues from windfall profits should benefit consumers and businesses, in particular vulnerable households and SMEs. This should go hand in hand with massive innovation and investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency and infrastructure, rather than incentivising households and companies to consume more subsidised energy.

Companies that have benefited from windfall profits must contribute to mitigating the negative consequences of the crisis, MEPs say. They welcome in principle a Council agreement to establish a cap on revenues from so-called inframarginal technologies used to produce electricity, such as renewables, nuclear, and lignite.

Further reading:

MEPs to contact:

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

Cristian-Silviu BUŞOI (EPP, RO), Chair of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

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

Siegfried MUREŞAN (EPP, RO), co-rapporteur on REPowerEU chapters in recovery and resilience plans

Eider GARDIAZABAL RUBIAL (S&D, ES), co-rapporteur on REPowerEU chapters in recovery and resilience plans

Dragoș PÎSLARU (Renew, RO), co-rapporteur on REPowerEU chapters in recovery and resilience plans

Security and Defence

In their annual report on the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy, adopted on 30 November, Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs called for a strengthened EU defence of European security and demanded to switch to qualified majority voting for foreign and security policy decisions as soon as possible. They argue that exceptions should only be allowed when military missions or operations are set up with an executive mandate under the Common Security and Defence Policy, for which unanimity must be maintained.

After the vote, Rapporteur and Chair of the Foreign Affair Committee David McAllister (EPP, DE) said: “2022 marks the greatest turning point in our security policy since the end of the Cold War. The world has returned to the rules of power politics. In our foreign policy, we need to adapt to these new realities to ensure that our goals are consistent with our means. To be a global player, the European Union needs strategic goals that can be implemented. Only then can we provide clarity internally and make the EU a reliable international partner.”

During the same meeting, the Foreign Affairs Committee also voted on the annual 2022 report on the implementation of the Common Security and Defence Policy. MEPs highlight the dramatic deterioration in European security caused by Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine and that the EU must be able to defend itself. They stress that Ukraine needs to be provided with the necessary aid, including lethal weapons, and that European defence capabilities must be strengthened with more and smarter spending.

After the vote, rapporteur Tom Vandenkendelaere (EPP, Belgium) said: “Russia’s war underlines that security and defence has become one of the EU’s most challenging and urgent priorities. I welcome the broad support for my annual report on the implementation of the CSDP in the Foreign Affairs Committee today. It includes ambitious proposals towards a fully-fledged European Defence Union, for instance by getting a Rapid Deployment Capacity up and running quickly.”

Further Reading

MEPs to contact:

David McALLISTER, (EPP, DE) Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs

Nathalie LOISEAU (Renew, FR) Chair of the Subcommittee on Security and Defence

Tom VANDENKENDELAERE (EPP, BE), rapporteur on Common Security and Defence Policy

Transatlantic relations

On 14 December, MEPs discussed with the Commission how the EU is handling the massive tax breaks to companies producing in the US, a scheme that puts European industry at a disadvantage.

The roughly €350 billion Inflation Reduction Act aims to build a new green economy by giving subsidies and tax credits to companies which manufacture with local parts or produce in the US from 1 January 2023, to the detriment of European manufacturers and in potential breach of World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

After a recent EU-US meeting, the EU expressed its expectation that “the US address[es] its concerns constructively”. In recent debates, several MEPs in the International Trade Committee criticised the measure as being distortive to trade and competition.

MEPs to contact:

Bernd LANGE (S&D, DE), Chair of the Committee on International Trade

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