Issue 523 | 26 October 2020

Our cover star this issue is Swedish S&D deputy Jytte Guteland. As rapporteur of the European Climate Law, Guteland is keenly aware of the climate struggles facing our planet. She tells Lorna Hutchinson of her determination to build a more sustainable future.

Our first feature this issue examines the future of Europe’s research and innovation sector, beginning with Director-General of the European Commission’s DG Research and Innovation, Jean-Eric Paquet, who gives us an overview of the current state of play around the next EU research and innovation investment programme, Horizon Europe. Meanwhile co-chair the European Parliament’s Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA), Ivars Ījabs (LV, RE), and ITRE Committee member Valter Flego (HR, RE) explain how Europe can take the global digital lead.

Elsewhere, we look at one of the most topical pieces of legislation this term – the Pharmaceutical Strategy. First up is Parliament’s rapporteur on the Shortage of Medicines report, Nathalie Colin-Oesterlé (FR, EPP), who explains how the COVID-19 health crisis has highlighted just how fragile Europe’s medicinal supply chains are. Peter Liese (DE, EPP), a physician and ENVI Committee member, meanwhile warns that it should not be up to China or any other third country to decide whether Europe has access to sufficient medicines and argues for more EU and national action to safeguard the security of supply of medicines.

We also bring you a mini-feature on European SME week, featuring the co-vice chair and the co-chair of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on Small and medium-sized enterprises, Ville Niinistö (FI, Greens/EFA) and Angelika Winzig (AT, EPP), who discuss how policymakers can better support this crucial economic sector as Europe prepares for further lockdowns.

Also inside: Co-chairs of the European Parliament Informal Carers Interest Group, Sirpa Pietikäinen (FI, EPP), Luke Ming Flanagan (IE, GUE/NGL) and Marisa Matias (PT, GUE/NGL), shed light on Europe’s carers and call for MEPs to help provide them with a strong Parliamentary voice.

We also have Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz (PL, S&D) and his assistant, Marcin Bylica, assessing the priorities of Parliament’s recently formed Special Committee on Foreign Interference in all Democratic Processes in the European Union, including Disinformation.

MEPs Geoffroy Didier (FR, EPP), Eva Maydell (BG, EPP), Marcel Kolaja (CZ, Greens/EFA) and Ibán García Del Blanco (ES, S&D) share their thoughts on the EU’s White Paper on AI.

Commissioning editor Rajnish Singh recaps this year’s European Health Forum Gastein, and also looks at the relationship between artificial intelligence and racism. Deputy Editor Lorna Hutchinson reports on the latest Brexit developments.

Answering our five questions this issue is Spanish S&D MEP Inma Rodríguez-Piñero.

Finally, following UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s latest bout of Brexit theatrics, our Editor, Brian Johnson looks at why that quintessential British cultural institution, the Pantomime, provides the ideal metaphor for the trade treaty negotiations.