As summer comes to an end, policymakers throughout the European Union are eager to get back to Brussels and dig into the key issues affecting their respective constituencies.
Of particular significance this September are concerns over soaring energy prices, a result of Moscow drastically cutting gas exports. In addition to mitigating the impact of the Russian war of aggression, EU leaders will be considering issues related to artificial intelligence, gender equality and fair wage practice.
While the European Parliament did not meet as a group until 12 September, the week prior saw five new MEPs join a variety of committees as members and substitutes.
Of them, Ana Miranda has taken her seat in Parliament as part of a dual mandate. Previously serving as an MEP from 2012 to 2013 and 2018 to 2019, she is a committed member of the Bloque Nacionalista Galego (Spain) and the Greens/EFA group. She has already joined various committees and delegations as a substitute including, among others, the Committee on Regional Development (REGI), the Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) and the Delegation for relations with Israel (D-IL).
Patricia Chagnon, a National Rally politician from the north of France, has joined European Parliament, together with two other National Rally politicians, Marie Dauchy and Eric Minardi. All three are members of the Identity and Democracy Group and will be replacing their National Rally compatriots Helene Laporte, Joelle Melin and Julie Lechanteux, who were elected to the National Assembly, France’s parliament.
Finally, Marina Mesure from the La France Insoumise party will be joining the European Parliament, representing the Left Group. Already a substitute for the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI), Mesure replaces Manuel Bompard.
And in case you missed it in May, Chrysoula Zacharopoulou of the La Republique en marche party and Renew Europe group has also left the Parliament. The former Vice-Chair of the Committee on Development (DEVE) and the Delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (DACP) is now serving in the French government as the Secretary of State for Development, Francophonie and International Partnerships.
The European Commission continues to work towards accomplishing the six priorities set for 2019 to 2024:
- A European Green Deal. Europe aims to be the first climate-neutral continent by becoming a modern, resource efficient economy.
- A Europe fit for the digital age. The EU’s digital strategy will empower people with a new generation of technologies.
- An economy that works for people. The EU must create a more attractive investment environment and growth that creates quality jobs, especially for young people and small businesses.
- A stronger Europe in the world. The EU will strengthen its voice in the world by championing multilateralism and rules-based global order.
- Promoting our European way of life. Europe must protect the rule of law if it is to stand up to justice and the EU’s core values.
- A new push for European democracy. To give Europeans a bigger say and protect our democracy from external interferences such as disinformation and online hate messages.
Mauro Petriccione, head of the Directorate-General for Climate Action (DG CLIMA), died on 22 August. He previously served as Deputy Director-General of the Directorate-General for Trade (DG TRADE), where he worked on trade relations with Asia, Latin America and several countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. He joined the European Commission in 1987 and served until the time of his death.
The Joint Research Centre (JRC)
The Commission has appointed Alessandra Zampieri as Director ‘Sustainable Resources’ at the JRC. She will assist in researching issues such as food security, land, soil, water, forest, and raw materials. Additionally, Guy Van den Eede has been appointed Director ‘Health, Consumers and Reference Material’ at the JRC and will research public health, food and feed safety.
Under the leadership of President Charles Michel, the European Council met early this summer to discuss Wider Europe, the membership status of Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, the Western Balkans and external relations. They concluded having formally granted candidate status to Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova. The European Council expressed deep concern regarding recent actions by Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Earlier this summer representatives of the governments of EU Member States appointed four judges of the General Court. Ioannis Dimitrakopoulos (GR) Tihamer Toth (HU) and Gerhard Hesse (AU) were reappointed as judges of the General Court, while Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger (AU) was appointed as judge of the General Court for a first term of office.
The week ahead…
European Parliament plenary will resume in Strasbourg from 12 to 16 September. On Monday, the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development met to discuss the New EU Forest Strategy for 2030, with a focus on sustainable forest management in Europe. ENVI met to discuss deforestation regulation throughout the EU. Also on Monday, a Joint Debate saw MEPs discuss fisheries measures and conservation measures applicable in the Regulatory Area of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organizations (NAFO).