Issue 531 | 1 March 2021

Gracing the cover this issue is Irish EPP deputy Frances Fitzgerald. A staunch defender of women’s rights, Fitzgerald says she believes we are entering a new era of equality, telling deputy editor Lorna Hutchinson that despite recent setbacks, fresh momentum for change is building.

Staying on the topic of gender equality, in our first feature, we look ahead to International Women’s Day on 8 March. First up is chair of the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee, Evelyn Regner (AT, S&D), who asks us to spare a thought for the women who have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We also bring you MEP comment from across Parliament, featuring FEMM Committee vice-chair Eugenia Rodríguez Palop (ES, GUE/NGL), Samira Rafaela (NL, RE), as well as LIBE Committee members Assita Kanko (BE, ECR) and Alice Kuhnke (SE, Greens/EFA). Last but not least, our colleague from Dods Diversity & Inclusion, Grace McLoughlin previews their upcoming ‘Supporting Women at Work’ online conference, which we will be covering in a later issue.

In our second feature, we look at another global health crisis: obesity. Speaking ahead of World Obesity Day on 4 March, MEPs Marc Tarabella (BE, S&D), Alex Agius Saliba (MT, S&D) and João Ferreira (PT, GUE/NGL) set out why and how European policymakers should address this health crisis which affects 70 percent of EU citizens.

Elsewhere, members of the European Parliament’s MEP Lung Health Group, Željana Zovko (HR, EPP) and Jutta Paulus (DE, Greens/EFA), raise awareness of respiratory diseases such as COPD and the health implications of air pollution. Chair of the Delegation for relations with Australia and New Zealand, Ulrike Müller (DE, RE), explains why the EU must strengthen ties with likeminded countries, while European Parliament vice-president Pedro Silva Pereira (PT, S&D) weighs up the future of EU-UK relations.

Next, we look at how the new EU-Africa Strategy can reform relations between the blocs, featuring AFET Committee shadow rapporteur Janina Ochojska (PL, EPP) and INTA Committee opinion rapporteur Joachim Schuster (DE, S&D).

Meanwhile, Industry, Research and Energy Committee vice-chair César Luena (ES, S&D) and member Henrike Hahn (DE, Greens/EFA) set out how the Energy Taxation Directive can put Europe on track not only to carbon neutrality but also make our society fairer.

Also inside, Christophe Grudler (FR, RE), vice-chair of Parliament’s Sky & Space Intergroup, and aviation sector leaders Olivier Jankovec, ACI EUROPE (Airports Council International), Thomas Reynaert, Airlines for Europe (A4E) and Tanja Grobotek, Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) Europe, look at how the aviation sector can recover from the pandemic and build back better. While Parliament Magazine’s Jon Benton and Ana Gallego report on CERRE’s recent 5G event which featured Telefónica Chairman and CEO José María Álvarez-Pallete López, Vodafone CEO Nick Read, as well as Qualcomm’s CEO-elect and President, Cristiano Amon.

Finally, answering our five questions this issue is Belgian GUE/NGL deputy Marc Botenga.