Plenary highlights: Covid certificate, LUX Prize, biodiversity  

 
 

Back in Strasbourg, MEPs had a full agenda with votes on the Covid certificate, rule of law, Belarus, the EU's biodiversity strategy, as well as the LUX Prize

Covid-19


On Wednesday, Parliament approved the EU Digital Covid Certificate. It will be signed into law next week. In a debate ahead of the vote, MEPs urged EU countries to implement it by 1 July. While the certificate is widely seen as a tool to restore freedom of movement, MEPs underlined the importance of its compliance with people's rights.


On Thursday, MEPs backed a temporary waiver of patents for Covid-19 vaccines. They said this should improve global access to affordable vaccines and address supply shortages. The plenary vote came after a lively debate on the topic in May.


Biodiversity


Parliament adopted its position on the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030: bringing nature back into our lives and tackling the current biodiversity crisis. MEPs want at least 30% of EU land and sea to be protected by 2030.


LUX Audience Award


President David Sassoli announced the winner of the LUX Audience award on Wednesday: Collective is a documentary by director/producer Alexander Nanau about the press investigation into corruption in the Romanian healthcare system in the wake of a tragic fire. For the first time the audience also had a say in determining the winner.


Rule of law


The regulation that makes payments from the EU budget conditional on the respect for rule of law by member states has been in force since 1 January; so far the Commission has not taken any measures and is yet to finalise guidelines for implementation. In a resolution adopted on Thursday, MEPs gave the Commission two weeks to fulfil its obligations or Parliament will sue the Commission for failure to act.


In another resolution adopted on Thursday, MEPs demanded action on the now-confirmed conflict of interest of Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.


European Social Fund+


On Tuesday, Parliament adopted the EU’s main instrument for investing in people and tackling inequalities for the next seven years. The European Social Fund+ programme focuses on fighting child poverty and youth unemployment in Europe.


Global Europe


Parliament also approved the new Global Europe programme, which will invest €79.5 billion in development and international cooperation in neighbouring countries and further afield by 2027.


Belarus


On 10 June, Parliament called on the EU to punish those involved in forcing a plane to land in Minsk and in the detention of the Belarus journalist Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend Sofia Sapega. MEPs urge the Council to sanction the Belarusian individuals and entities involved in the forced landing and the abductions as soon as possible.

Recovery plans


National recovery plans that use EU recovery funds should focus on supporting the green and digital transitions, boost growth potential and respect EU values, MEPs said in a resolution on Thursday.


Animal welfare


In response to the European citizens’ initiative called End the Cage Age, signed by 1.4 million people from across the EU, MEPs called on the Commission to come up with a proposal to ban caged farming in the EU by 2027.


Support for Brexit impact


MEPs called for the €5 billion Brexit Adjustment Reserve to be made readily available for sectors such as fisheries and small and medium-sized enterprises worst affected by the UK's withdrawal from the EU.