First half 2021: Covid-19, future of Europe, climate law 

 
 

Parliament tackled the Covid-19 pandemic, launched the Conference on the Future of Europe and approved the EU Climate Law.

Covid-19


In June, Parliament approved the EU Digital Covid Certificate, urging 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.

Parliament also backed a temporary waiver of patents for Covid-19 vaccines and in February said that the EU must continue a concerted effort to fight the pandemic and take urgent measures to ramp up vaccines production.


In March, MEPs adopted the new EU4Health programme, which will enable the EU to better prepare for major health threats, while making affordable medicines and medical devices more readily available.


Check out how the EU is tackling the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in 2021

The Conference on the Future of Europe was officially launched on 9 May in a ceremony at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The Conference allows Europeans to share their ideas of Europe and formulate proposals for future EU policies.


The inaugural event followed the launch of the Conference's  multilingual digital platform in April to collect contributions and facilitate debate. In June, Parliament hosted the first plenary session with representatives of the EU institutions, national parliaments, civil society and social partners as well as regular people.

Climate and environment


Parliament approved in June the new EU Climate Law, which increases the EU’s 2030 emissions reductions target from 40% to at least 55%. Parliament also adopted its position on the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 to tackle the current biodiversity crisis. MEPs want at least 30% of EU land and sea to be protected by 2030.


In May, Parliament approved the €5.4 billion Life programme for 2021-27. It’s the only EU programme solely dedicated to the environment and climate, but one of many programmes approved during the first six months of 2021.


The Circular Economy Action Plan, adopted in February, aims to achieve a sustainable, toxic-free and fully circular economy by 2050 at the latest.


Belarus


In June, Parliament called on the EU to punish those involved in forcing a plane to land in Minsk in May and holding Belarussian journalist Roman Protasevich in detention. MEPs also urged EU countries to continue sanctions against human rights violations in the country.


Rule of law


In a resolution adopted in June, MEPs instructed Parliament President David Sassoli to call on the European Commission to fulfil its obligations and take action under the new Rule of Law Conditionality Regulation, designed to protect EU funds from possible misuse by EU governments.


In response to backsliding on LGBTIQ rights in some EU countries, MEPs in March declared the EU an LGBTIQ Freedom Zone. They also raised concerns about attacks on media freedom and called on the Commission to do more to protect journalists in Europe.


EU-UK relations


Parliament approved the EU-UK trade and cooperation agreement in April, setting the rules for the future partnership. MEPs argued the deal was the best option to minimise the worst effects of the UK's withdrawal from the EU.

EU-US relations


MEPs welcomed in January the inauguration of the new US president Joe Biden as an opportunity for Europe to strengthen EU-US ties and tackle common challenges and threats to the democratic system. In June, the first EU-US summit since 2014 was held in Brussels.