Ahead of the EU summit on 17 July, MEPs – returning today in a plenary session, will make their stance clear on the EU’s budget for 2021-2027 and the recovery plan in a debate in the Plenary with European Council president Charles Michel and Commission president Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday.
Maltese S&D MEP Alex Agius Saliba said that the European Parliament will make a strong case for a significant support package to help European economies not only survive through the current crisis but to emerge strengthened and ready to face the challenges of the next years. Addressing a virtual press conference, organised by the EP Office in Malta, Agius Saliba, argued that Europe must not repeat the mistakes made in 2008, when during the financial crisis it had resorted to austerity: “this will not solve the economic and employment challenges we face as a result of the pandemic”.
Germany took over Council presidency under the motto “Together for Europe’s recovery” on 1 July and Chancellor Merkel will be in plenary on Wednesday to debate her country’s strategy and goals over the next six months, notably Europe’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Alex Agius Saliba recalled that the European Parliament had already made its position in favour of strong financial outlay to support Member States, but unfortunately so far the Council had failed to reach a deal. He therefore expressed hopes that the German Presidency would be able to find an agreement without diluting the original proposals made by the Commission.
The Parliament will also call for a stand-alone European health programme in May, which led to the creation of EU4Health. MEPs will discuss the shortcomings in public health policies revealed by the Covid-19 crisis and how to be better prepared for future challenges.
The Maltese MEP also noted that the German Presidency is committed towards identifying a solution related to immigration, recalling the challenges being faced by Malta following the recent wave of migration from Libya. He added that this commitment reflects Malta’s position which is calling for more solidarity from its European partners, a point also stressed by Prime Minister Robert Abela during a meeting held yesterday with EU High Representatives Josep Borrell.
Agius Saliba said that while the German Presidency’s priorities were largely in line with the those of the S&D Group, he expressed disappointment that little importance seemed to be given to the issue of consumer protection in the EU.
A number of votes are expected from today till Friday including on two resolutions coordinated by Agius Saliba, concerning persons with intellectual disabilities as well one concerning child abductions in the Far East.