European Parliament Press Kit for the 17-18 October European Council 

 
 

In this press kit, you will find a selection of press releases from the EP related to the topics discussed by heads of state or government during their meeting on 17 and 18 October.

EP President David Sassoli will represent the European Parliament at the summit and:

  • address the European Council at around 15.00
  • hold a press conference at the European Council at around 16.00

Brexit: EP's consent is required

In its latest resolution adopted on 18 September 2019, the European Parliament reiterates its support for an “orderly Brexit”. On 3 October, the European Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group recalled that it is open to workable and legally operational solutions addressing the issues which are crucial for MEPs, namely the all-island economy, full respect of the Good Friday Agreement and safeguarding peace and stability on the island of Ireland, protecting the rights and life choices of European and British citizens as well as the EU’s legal order and the integrity of the Single Market.

Any withdrawal agreement and future association or international agreement with the UK will need to be approved by the European Parliament. Once the Council has referred the agreement and political declaration to the EP, the relevant Committee will prepare and vote on a proposal, which will then be submitted to the full House. Once the consent procedure has been completed in the European Parliament (plenary vote - simple majority), the text will be sent to the Council, which needs to approve it by qualified majority.

In the above-mentioned resolution, Parliament recalled that it will not proceed with any consent vote until the UK Parliament has approved an agreement with the EU.

New European Commission: One month delay to investiture of new college of commissioners

The public hearings of Commissioners-designate in the parliamentary committees to examine whether a candidate is qualified both to be Member of the College of Commissioners and to carry out their assigned duties started on 30 September. Each Commissioner-designate faced a three-hour hearing in one or several committees related to their assigned portfolio. MEPs assessed their ability and willingness to address citizens’ concerns and deliver on the programme that President-elect Ursula von der Leyen presented to MEPs in July.

In a democratic and transparent process, 23 Commissioners-designate got the green light from MEPs; three did not. Therefore, the vote in plenary on the College of Commissioners cannot take place as foreseen on 23 October and has been postponed by Parliament’s Conference of Presidents (EP President Sassoli plus political group leaders) to a later session.

Parliament is willing to reschedule the vote to allow the new Commission to take up its duties on 1 December subject to the swift nomination of the three new commissioners-designate to continue and finalise the hearings process in time.

EU long-term budget: risks of funding disruption by 2121

In a resolution adopted on 10 October, MEPs warn of a “clear risk” that the 2021-2027 EU investment plan will not be successfully agreed in time with Council and that delaying the long-term EU budget would harm citizens and businesses. Parliament says it has been ready to negotiate since November 2018 and now calls on member states to urgently agree a negotiating position on the EU long-term budget. MEPs also demand a contingency plan to mitigate consequences for citizens and businesses, as delays will cause funding disruption from 2021.

Climate Change: more to be done to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050

MEPs outlined their ideas on the EU’s long-term emissions reduction strategy, in a resolution adopted in March. They say that in order to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in 2050 in the most cost-efficient manner, the 2030 ambition level will need to be raised. The EU must therefore send a clear message that it stands ready to review its contribution to the Paris Agreement. Parliament also voices support for the demonstrations, in particular in the form of climate marches and school strikes that are raising awareness of these climate risks. MEPs ask national, regional and local governments, as well as the EU, to take concrete and swift action in order not to overshoot the 1.5°C climate limit.

Albania and North Macedonia: support for accession talks

During the plenary session next week, MEPs are set to reiterate their support for opening accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia. The European Parliament has, in previous resolutions, expressed its strong support to start talks with both countries.

In the latest EP resolution, adopted on 29 November 2018, MEPs fully support the Commission’s recommendation that accession negotiations be opened in recognition of the reform efforts made by Albania and North Macedonia. On the latter, Parliament “considers that a swift opening of the screening process and accession talks will sustain and deepen the reform momentum” and that the “opening of negotiations would provide further incentives for democratisation and enhance scrutiny and accountability.”

Turkish military operation in north-east Syria

MEPs are likely to condemn the Turkish military operation in north-east Syria and its consequences during a debate next Wednesday morning. A resolution will be put to the vote on Thursday.

Parliament already discussed the issue during its plenary session on 9/10 October, expressing concern over the possible displacement of people and a humanitarian catastrophe. MEPs stressed that Syria is currently not safe for refugee returns and that the EU must not support such returns. They also highlighted the Kurdish role in the fight against ISIS and warned that ISIS will benefit and seize this opportunity to regroup.