Foreign affairs MEPs called on Thursday on the Council to grant Albania EU candidate status without undue delay. In separate resolutions, they also assessed last year’s progress by Serbia, Kosovo and Iceland. While stressing their commitment to the pursuit of EU enlargement, MEPs underlined the need for greater involvement of civil society in these countries in the European integration process.
EU foreign-policy spending from 2014 will be more efficient, effective and democratically accountable, under new rules backed by foreign affairs MEPs on Thursday and development MEPs on Wednesday. The rules govern six foreign-policy funds for pre-accession, neighbouring and partner countries and peace-keeping, democracy and human-rights actions, worth over €51 billion.
The EU and the US need to find ways to restore their mutual trust so as to enable them to build a joint economic area under the Transatlantic Partnership agreement (TTIP), said Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee chair Elmar Brok (EPP, DE), opening Tuesday’s debate with the US Senate’s European Affairs Sub-Committee chair Chris Murphy and House of Representatives members Mario Diaz-Balart and Gregory Meeks.
The Ukrainian authorities must refrain from using force against the Euromaidan Square protestors, demonstrating peacefully against the Ukrainian government's decision not to sign the Association Agreement with the EU, said two key MEPs responsible for the Eastern Partnership policy, Foreign Affairs Committee chair Elmar Brok (EPP, DE) and rapporteur Jacek Saryusz-Wolski (EPP, PL), who warned: "Otherwise, there will be serious consequences".
Member states must demonstrate political will and a new mindset on European defence to make the EU a relevant global actor and security provider with real strategic autonomy, foreign affairs MEPs said on Thursday. The December EU summit must make clear that the European dimension is more relevant in defence than ever, they said, stressing that the EU has to be able to provide security for its citizens.
Foreign affairs MEPs praised Commissioner Stefan Füle's approach of "fundamentals first" in assessing countries' readiness for EU membership, in a debate with him on Wednesday. They also backed the Commission's fifth recommendation to the Council to open accession negotiations with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM).
Belarusian political prisoners Ales Bialatski, Eduard Lobau and Mykola Statkevich, US spying whistleblower Edward Snowden and Pakistani campaigner for girls' education Malala Yousafzai are the shortlisted finalists for this year's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The laureate will be announced on 10 October, and the €50,000 prize will be awarded in Strasbourg on 20 November.
Foreign Affairs MEPs today criticised Russian trade restrictions imposed on Ukraine, ahead of a possible EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. In a separate debate on the future of Ukraine, opposition leaders Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Vitali Klitschko told MEPs that the country's future lies with Europe.
The following is a summary of the priorities of the Lithuanian Council Presidency outlined to the different parliamentary committees by Lithuanian ministers this week, from 8 to 12 July. This text is going to be updated daily
The EU must do everything in its power to prevent a bloody civil war in Egypt, foreign affairs MEPs said on Tuesday. They also stressed that the EU could only support an inclusive and genuine election process, in their debate with the EU special envoy for the Southern Mediterranean, Bernardino Leon.