Plenary highlights: Poland, Sakharov Prize, climate, food  

 
 

MEPs said the primacy of EU law must be upheld in Poland, welcomed the EU's new farm to fork strategy and awarded Alexei Navalny the 2021 Sakharov Prize.

Poland


After a heated plenary debate with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Slovenian Foreign Affairs Minister Anže Logar on Tuesday, MEPs condemned the Polish Constitutional Tribunal’s ruling challenging the primacy of European law in a resolution on Thursday. Parliament asked the European Commission to act immediately to defend Polish citizens and the foundations of EU law, including by triggering the rule of law conditionality mechanism.


On Wednesday, members discussed the near-total ban on abortion in Poland.


2021 Sakharov Prize winner


Russian activist and political prisoner Alexei Navalny was named the 2021 laureate of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought on Wednesday, for his tireless fight against the corruption of Vladimir Putin’s regime. With the award, the European Parliament “recognises his immense bravery and [reiterates its] call for his immediate release,” Parliament President David Sassoli said.


New EU food strategy


Parliament welcomed the farm to fork strategy and put forward proposals to revamp the EU’s food systems, to produce healthier food, reduce the environmental impact of agriculture and ensure food security and a fair income for farmers. MEPs want the Commission to reinforce efforts to strengthen the position of farmers in the supply chain.


Extension of the roaming rules


MEPs backed the extension of the roaming regulation, which would ensure that European consumers can continue to call and transfer data across EU borders for the same cost as at home for another 10 years. New rules would also improve quality and services for the consumer and make sure that the system is sustainable for operators and does not stifle innovation.


Climate goals


Ahead of the UN COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow that starts on 31 October, Parliament called on Thursday for accelerated climate action worldwide and for the EU to remain a world leader in fighting climate change. MEPs called on all EU countries to focus on the green recovery and to increase 2030 climate targets in line with the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.


Pandora papers


MEPs condemned the massive tax avoidance uncovered by the Pandora papers investigation. They callied for thorough investigations to be launched into any exposed wrongdoing that took place in EU jurisdictionsm and asked the Commission to analyse whether more legislation should be proposed.


Better protection from asbestos


On Wednesday, MEPs adopted a resolution calling for a European strategy for the removal of all asbestos and improvement of existing rules to better protect workers at risk. They want to reduce the exposure limit, introduce mandatory screening and ensure the removal of asbestos before renovations can start. They also want all occupational diseases to be recognised, so victims can get decent compensation.


Motor vehicle insurance


On Thursday, MEPs endorsed a deal with the Council updating motor insurance rules to ensure better protection and equal treatment of people involved in road accidents or when they are insuring their vehicles across the EU. The new rules will protect people who have an accident in another EU country and victims of an accident caused by a driver from another EU country.


MEPs call for increase to 2022 EU budget


MEPs adopted their position on a new budget ahead of negotiations with member states on Wednesday. The 2022 EU budget should support the recovery from the Covid-19 crisis, boost investment, tackle unemployment and lay the foundations for a more resilient and sustainable EU, they said.


Cultural recovery and the media


To protect cultural and creative sectors in the EU, the Parliament proposed the creation of common EU social standards for artists and improved cross-border mobility.


MEPs also voiced concerns about attacks on the media in some EU countries and called for urgent action to make news media fit for the digital age.