Report of the activity of the European Parliament and the Council of the EU regarding external relations – May 23rd / June 13th

Report of the activity of the European Parliament and the Council of the EU regarding external relations – May 23rd / June 13th

European Parliament

From the 6th till the 9th of June in Strasbourg the Plenary meetings took place. The focus was mainly in the approval of the “Fit for 55” plan. However, also from the external relations point of view some decisions were made. The European Parliament welcomed the 6th package of sanctions that was adopted against the Russian economy, reports on the situation of human rights in China, Nicaragua, Georgia and Turkey were endorsed and finally the speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament was invited in the plenary session on the 8th of June.

Turkey persistently further from EU values and standards 07/06/2022

MEPs warned, through a report, that resuming accession negotiations with Turkey is not possible without clear and significant progress.

The Parliament welcomed the small improvement in overall EU-Turkey relations. However, the report focused on the deterioration of human rights situation and they called the Commission for providing sufficient funding for pro-democracy efforts in Turkey.

Moreover, MEPs called on the Turkish government to handle Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership in good faith to solve the issues.

The report was adopted by 448 votes in favour, 67 against and 107 abstentions in which MEPs said that over the past 2 years the country has consistently gone back on its commitments in relation to the accession process.

+ = voted in favour

0 = abstained

– =voted against

+448ECR (5), ID (1), NI (12), PPE (144), RENEW (91), S&D (133), Verts/Ale (62)
0107ECR (42), ID (24), NI (6), PPE (2), RENEW (1), S&D (1), The Left (29), Verts/Ale (2)
67ECR (11), ID (29), NI (13), PPE (8), S&D (2), The Left (4)

MEPs welcomed further sanctions against Russia 08/06/22

During the plenary session, the MEPs welcomed the unity of the governments in adopting the last package of sanctions against Russia. However, many of them have stressed the fact that the negative effects of the war in the daily lives of the citizens hasn’t been considered enough. They called this issue to be properly addressed in the next meeting of heads of state. Finally, MEPs urged the need to arm Ukraine better.

Ruslan Stefanchuk, speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament, urged the EU to grant Ukraine the candidate status 08/06/2022

Ruslan Stefanchuk, during the Plenary session, thanked the European countries for their response to the Russian aggression, for welcoming Ukrainian refugees and for standing with the people of Ukraine.

He asked also for more support and more sanctions on Russia.

Human rights breaches in China, Nicaragua and Georgia 09/06/2022

During the Plenary session 3 resolutions on the respect of human rights in China, Nicaragua and Georgia were adopted.

In the first resolution the Parliament condemned the repression of Uyghur community and other ethnic Turkic people in the autonomous region of Xinjiang. These minority groups are victims of brutal measures such as mass deportation, political indoctrination and family separation, restrictions of religious freedom, cultural destruction and extensive use of surveillance.

For this reason, MEPs have called the EU and its MS to take all necessary steps to end these atrocities. Moreover, they urged the Commission to put a ban on all products produced by forced labour and by Chinese companies listed as exploiting forced labour.

This resolution was adopted by show of hands.

The second resolution is about the use of the justice system as a repressive tool in Nicaragua. MEPs condemned the abusive detention, the lack of trial guarantees and the illegal convictions of political prisoners since 2018.

The Parliament urged the EU to hold the Nicaraguan regime accountable, in particular its judges, for being an active part of the repression system in the country.

Finally, the MEPs called on the Member States and the UN Security Council to open a formal investigation through the International Criminal Court into Nicaragua and Danilla Ortega for crimes against humanity.

The resolution was adopted with 524 votes in favour, 17 against and 29 abstentions.

The last resolution faces the violations of media freedom and safety of journalists in Georgia. The Parliament expressed his concerns over the deterioration of the media situation and safety of journalists in Georgia.

Moreover, MEPs said that Georgia should desist from exploiting the mounting Russian disinformation and propaganda to target their respective political opponents. This resolution was adopted by show of hands.

Council of the EU

In the last two weeks the 6th package of sanctions against Russia was adopted, after long negotiations. Moreover, restrictive measures were put in place for Belarus and for people affiliated to terrorist groups in Syria.

The Council decided to add one group and two persons to the EU sanction list 30/05/2022

These measures target Hurras Al-Din, a Syria based Al Qaeda affiliated group, its leader Faruq al-Suri, and its religious leader Sami Al-Aridi.

Syria: The Council extended sanctions against the regime, for the continued repression of the civil population, for another year. It includes 70 entities and 289 persons 31/05/2022

6th package of sanctions against the Russian economy adopted 03/06/2022

The agreed package includes a series of measures intended to effectively thwart Russian abilities to continue the aggression.

– The phasing out of Russian oil will take from 6 months for crude oil to 8 months for other refined petroleum products. A temporary exception is foreseen for imports of crude oil by pipeline.

– De-swifting of additional Russian and Belorussian banks

– The EU is suspending the broadcasting activities in the EU of 3 more Russian state-owned outlets

– The EU will prohibit the provision of accounting, public relations and consultancy services to Russia

– Finally, the EU decided to sanction additional individuals and entities

Restrictive measures on additional 12 individuals and 8 entities for the ongoing internal repression and human rights abuses in Belarus. These are in addition to the 6th package of sanctions against Russia and Belarus

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