Plenary highlights: Ukraine, Conference on the Future of Europe, AI 

 
 

MEPs discussed the impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine on the EU, called for revision of rules on EU elections and discussed EU preparedness against cyberattacks.

Ukraine

 

On Wednesday, in a debate with Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, MEPs discussed the social and economic consequences for the EU of Russia’s war in Ukraine. Members called for united support for EU citizens and businesses affected by the war.

On Thursday, MEPs called on the EU to protect Ukrainian women refugees from violence and in a separate resolution demanded Russia return stolen planes.

Conference on the Future of Europe

 

After one year of meetings and ideas, the Conference on the Future of Europe will deliver its proposals during an event on 9 May. MEPs called for a convention to be convened in order to bring about the changes to the EU treaties needed to implement reform.


Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi also underlined the need to reform the EU to guarantee sustainable economic growth and transition, during a plenary debate on Tuesday.


Revision of rules on EU election

On Tuesday, Parliament adopted a proposal to change the rules governing EU elections. The changes would allow voters not only to choose their candidate for Parliament, but to support a European political party and a candidate for the president of the European Commission.


Common charger


On Wednesday Parliament adopted its position on new rules for a common charger and is ready to start negotiations with EU governments. The new rules aim to decrease the amount of electronic waste by approving the USB Type-C port as the new standard for portable devices in the EU.

Artificial intelligence


The EU has fallen behind in artificial intelligence development, research and investment and needs to step up its game, warns the final report of the Parliament’s special committee on artificial intelligence in a digital age, adopted on Tuesday.

The EU must set global AI standards and unlock its potential to address challenges in the fields of health, the environment and climate change, the report says. It also proposes an AI Roadmap up to 2030.

EU preparedness against cyberattacks


In the wake of hundreds of cyber-attacks against Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, MEPs debated the EU’s cyber defence capabilities and stressed the need to increase its resilience against the Kremlin’s hybrid warfare.

Harmful chemicals in waste


In order to create a toxic-free circular economy in the EU, MEP approved new rules to reduce the amount of persistent organic pollutants allowed in products and in the recycling chain.

Threats to the safety of journalists and media freedom


On Tuesday, MEPs debated threats to the safety of journalists and media freedom, on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day. The Parliament also officially launched the call for submissions for entries to the Daphne Caruana Galizia Prize for Journalism.  The Prize rewards outstanding journalism that promotes or defends core EU principles and values.

Extension of Covid certificate


Parliament backed a one-year extension of the Covid certificate to June 2023, but want a review after six months. Negotiations with the Council to agree on the extension can begin immediately.

Budget discharge


Parliament signed off on the 2020 budgets of most EU bodies on Wednesday, except the EU’s border control agency Frontex, the European Economic and Social Committee, and the Council. Frontex's discharge has been withheld until the full investigation report by the European Anti-Fraud Office becomes available. Also, as has been the case for more than a decade now, MEPs postponed discharge for the Council, due to non-cooperation.