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 Full text 
Wednesday, 17 July 2019 - Strasbourg Provisional edition

Presentation of the programme of activities of the Finnish Presidency of the Council (debate)

  Ska Keller, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Mr President, I welcome the Prime Minister to the European Parliament and to the European scene. Good luck with the Presidency. We’re also happy to hear your priorities, especially the one on the climate because it is very urgent. This is the one and only planet that we have, that we all live on and where we need to make sure that it is also possible to live on it in the future.

While we absolutely share the ambition on the goals – and I think the rest of Europe could learn a lot from Finland in setting very ambitious targets – we all know, of course, that setting ambitious targets is only half – if that – of the job. The real job is in putting very concrete measures into place right now because in order to end up with good and ambitious targets you need to add ‘now’. It’s not enough to just put some numbers for later on into the paper. That’s why I would like to also ask you to push ahead on the reform of the agricultural policy. What we have right now on the table is far from enough to secure biodiversity and climate protection. We need a fresh start here, including with the multiannual financial framework (MFF), where a lot of money is still being put into climate—harmful subsidies. We need a reversion here, we need to make sure that the money that we spend in the European Union is put into places which will help the ecological and social transition, and there we need much more action.

You’ve also mentioned the rule of law and we very much agree with that priority because it’s really urgent. Therefore, I would also urge you to take up the issue of the parliamentary report on Hungary, to discuss it in the Council and to also make sure that Parliament, our rapporteurs, are being invited and are being heard by the Council, by the Member States, and that it doesn’t fall under the carpet.

Refugees are another big issue. Rescue at sea is right now not happening in the Mediterranean and we cannot allow that people are drowning in the Mediterranean and no one is there to help. I think you can lead by example, making sure that even if there is not an agreement of all Member States – which is a pity, it’s a disgrace – still some Member States can go ahead in order to stop this disgraceful and inhumane situation we have right now at our borders.

Lastly, I also want to congratulate Finland for setting a precedent on the issue of transparency as Council. I think in the past we had less interesting precedents being set there, with lobbyism, with sponsorship and I don’t know what. So it’s very good that you are taking a first step and are putting more transparency into lobby meetings. We hope that all the other Member States and the future presidencies can learn from that and that maybe you will also find some space for even more transparency. We would have some ideas if you were interested. Thank you very much and good luck and we’re ready to support you on those issues.

Last updated: 18 July 2019Legal notice