European Parliament Press Kit for the European Council of 23 and 24 June 2022 

Press Releases 
 
 

In this press kit, you will find a selection of the European Parliament’s press releases that show MEPs’ priorities in relation to topics on the summit agenda.

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola will represent the European Parliament at the summit and address the heads of state or government at around 15.00 on 23 June. She will hold a press conference in the European Council press room at around 16.00.

The 23-24 June EU summit will focus on Russia’s war against Ukraine, the Conference on the Future of Europe, and economic issues. On 23 June, EU heads of state or government will also meet with Western Balkan leaders to discuss the region’s accession perspectives.

Additional information, including contact details for the MEPs involved, can be found on the European Parliament’s website.

Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine

Candidate Status of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia

On 23 June, Parliament adopted a resolution calling on the heads of state or government to grant EU candidate status to Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova “without delay”. They should do the same with Georgia “once its government has delivered” on the priorities indicated by the European Commission.

In the context of the brutal Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, this move would equate to showing leadership, resolve and vision, say MEPs. They insist that there is no ‘fast-track’ for EU membership and that accession remains a merit-based and structured process, which requires EU membership criteria to be fulfilled and is dependent on the effective implementation of reforms.

The resolution stresses that there is no alternative to enlargement, which is “more than ever a geostrategic investment” in a stable, strong and united EU. The prospect of full EU membership for the countries striving to become member states is in the European Union’s own political, economic and security interests. MEPs also demand that the enlargement process be “re-energised” and unblocked as regards the Western Balkans.

EP President Roberta Metsola welcomed the Commission’s recommendation of 17 June to grant candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova. “Candidate status for Ukraine sends a strong political signal. Against autocracy. For freedom. We also welcome the recommendation to give Moldova candidate status. And to work towards giving the same opportunity to the people of Georgia. Our door must remain open. To strengthen Europe, to protect our values, and to stand up for freedom”, she said.

In a statement on 9 June, Parliament’s Conference of Presidents (President Metsola and political group leaders) urged the EU’s heads of state or government “to grant EU candidate status to Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova, in line with Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union and as the start to a merit-based process, and to work towards granting the same status to Georgia, fulfilling the legitimate aspirations of the Georgian people.”



Plenary debate on the EU summit

On 22 June, MEPs outlined their expectations for the 23-24 June European Council in a plenary debate with the French Presidency of the Council and Commission President von der Leyen. An overwhelming majority of MEPs said that Ukraine and Moldova should become EU candidate countries as soon as possible. Georgia is also part of the European family but needs to implement more reforms. Many speakers said that reforms remain necessary -especially in Georgia-, with some stating that the path will not be a short one and referencing the Copenhagen criteria for EU accession. MEPs also highlighted that Western Balkan countries need to be treated fairly and their accession process should be unlocked.



Speaker of the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada Ruslan Stefanchuk

On 8 June, the Speaker of the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada (parliament) Ruslan Stefanchuk addressed MEPs and called on the EU to endorse his country’s membership application. Welcoming Mr Stefanchuk to the hemicycle in Strasbourg, Parliament’s President Roberta Metsola underscored that the European Parliament will continue to actively support Ukraine’s efforts to be granted EU candidate status. In his speech, Mr Stefanchuk expressed his deep wish for the European Union to strongly support his country’s desire to be granted EU candidate status. Ukraine and its people need this powerful message from Europe, he underlined, while pointing out that any other political signal would only benefit Russian President Vladimir Putin and his regime. He also thanked the European Parliament for its strong support for his country.

Sanctions

During a debate on 8 June on the latest European Council with Presidents Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen, MEPs very broadly welcomed the unity heads of state or government showed when adopting an additional packet of sanctions against Russia and the determination to tackle the food insecurity caused by Russia. Various MEPs also stressed the urgent need to arm Ukraine better, arguing that although sanctions were an effective weapon against Russia, their effect would be felt in the long term only, not in the next few months when Ukraine most needed Russia to be weakened.

Food corridors

A delegation from the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, led by Chair Norbert Lins, travelled to the Polish-Ukrainian border on 20-21 June 2022. During the visit, MEPs visited the Medyka (rail) and Korczowa (road) border crossings to assess the import of Ukrainian agricultural commodities and the potential for alternative routes. The capacity for storing agricultural products was the subject of an exchange of views between MEPs and Ukrainian business and trade representatives.

On 24 March, Parliament adopted a resolution calling for food corridors to be established to and from Ukraine and called for robust long-term humanitarian food aid for Ukraine from both the EU and at international level. Food corridors to and from Ukraine should serve as an alternative to closed Black Sea ports and Ukrainian farmers should also be provided with scarce seeds, fuels and fertilisers.




Further reading

Grant EU candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova without delay, MEPs demand

Statement by EP groups’ leaders ahead of 23-24 June European Council

MEPs say EU leaders must grab the opportunity to expand and reform the EU

Ruslan Stefanchuk urges EU to grant Ukraine candidate status

Speech by Ruslan Stefanchuk in Parliament on 8 June

EU summit: MEPs welcome further sanctions against Russia

MEPs: All EU sanctions against Russia must apply to Belarus

https://ukraine.europarl.europa.eu/en/home.html

MEPs to contact

David McALLISTER, (EPP, DE) Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Co-Chair of the Fact Finding Mission to Ukraine

Nathalie LOISEAU (Renew, FR) Chair of the Subcommittee on Security and Defence and Co-Chair of the Fact Finding Mission to Ukraine

Michael GAHLER (EPP, DE) Standing Rapporteur on Ukraine

Andrius KUBILIUS (EPP, LT) Standing Rapporteur on Russia

Conference on the Future of Europe

Parliament adopted a resolution on 9 June calling for the European Council to start the process to revise the EU Treaties that would set up a Convention. This would ensure that the EU takes action on the outcomes of the Conference as soon as possible and shows its will to respond to citizens’ demands for institutional reform.

MEPs used their prerogative to call for the Treaties to be changed by: reforming voting procedures in the Council to enhance the European Union’s capacity to act; adapting the EU’s powers, especially in the areas of health and cross-border health threats, in the completion of the energy union, in defence, and in social and economic policies; making the EU economy more resilient; providing Parliament with the right to initiate, amend or revoke legislation, and with full rights as a co-legislator on the EU budget.

During their debate on the 23-24 June EU summit, many MEPs argued that the European Union’s prospects do not rely only on its enlargement. Pointing to the multitude of recent, ongoing, and expected future crises, they demanded EU leaders vote in favour of a revision of the EU Treaties as Parliament has asked. This would, they said, take advantage of a historic moment for the EU - especially in relation to reforming unanimity voting in the Council.



On 9 May in Strasbourg, EP President Roberta Metsola, French President Emmanuel Macron on behalf of the Council Presidency, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen received from the Co-Chairs of the Conference Executive Board its final report. This includes 49 proposals comprising more than 300 measures across 9 themes, based on 178 recommendations from the European Citizens’ Panels, input from the National Panels and events, ideas from the European Youth Event, and 43 734 contributions on 16 274 ideas recorded on the multilingual digital platform.

Further Reading

Parliament activates process to change EU Treaties

The Conference on the Future of Europe concludes its work

Conference on the Future of Europe: Key proposals and relevant positions taken by Parliament

MEPs to contact

Guy Verhofstadt (Renew Europe, BE), Co-Chair of the Executive Board

Parliament’s Delegation to the Conference on the Future of Europe



Western Balkans

On 14 June, Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs outlined their assessment of the political situation in three accession countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Serbia.

In their assessment report on Bosnia and Herzegovina, MEPs reconfirm their support for the country’s Euro-Atlantic orientation. Members strongly denounce all hate rhetoric and disruptive action, including the withdrawal from and obstruction of state institutions, notably by the leadership of the Republika Srpska entity. They urge all political actors to return unconditionally to these state institutions and advance the work on EU-related reforms, notably the rule of law.

On Kosovo, MEPs commend the country’s increased political stability and strong commitment to its European path and reiterate their call on EU member states in the Council to proceed urgently with adopting a visa-free regime for the citizens of Kosovo, underlining that any further delays undermine the EU’s credibility and reputation as a reliable partner.

The report on Serbia welcomes the fact that EU membership continues to be Serbia’s strategic goal, while regretting the lack of progress and even backsliding on issues that are fundamental for EU accession. Praising the return to a more pluralistic parliament following the elections in Serbia on 3 April 2022, Members call for progress on the rule of law, fundamental rights, freedom of expression, strengthening media pluralism and normalisation of relations with Kosovo.

Those reports will now be submitted to a vote in the European Parliament as a whole at the plenary session in July.



On 23 June, Parliament adopted its 2021 report on Montenegro. MEPs welcome the country’s continued commitment to European integration, repeating their position that Montenegro should advance in its electoral and judicial reforms and its fight against organised crime and corruption. In their report, MEPs are disappointed that since 2017, none of the negotiations on 33 screened accession chapters have been closed, slowing Montenegro’s positive track record and status as the country in the Western Balkans furthest along in the EU’s accession process.

Parliament welcomes a new minority government composed of pro-European parties, especially in light of the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine and the continuing influence of pro-Russian political parties and narratives in Montenegro.

In two reports adopted on 19 May in plenary, which assess Albania and North Macedonia’s progress on the path towards EU membership, the Parliament asks the Council to officially start accession negotiations with these two countries, noting the geostrategic context of relations with Russia and its aggression against Ukraine. MEPs call on the EU to critically assess the historically important security implications of such a decision for stability and unity on the European continent and the Western Balkans.



Further reading:

Montenegro: political tensions slow progress of EU-related reforms

EU enlargement: MEPs take stock of developments in the Western Balkans

Albania and North Macedonia: MEPs demand EU starts accession talks



MEPs to contact:

Rapporteur for Montenegro: Tonino Picula (S&D, Croatia)

Rapporteur for Bosnia and Herzegovina: Paulo Rangel (EPP, Portugal)

Rapporteur for Kosovo: Viola von Cramon-Taubadel (The Greens/EFA, Germany)

Rapporteur on Serbia: Vladimír Bilčík (EPP, Slovakia)

Rapporteur for Albania: Isabel Santos (S&D, PT)

Rapporteur for North Macedonia: Ilhan Kyuchyuk (Renew, BG)



Eurobarometer: In the face of Ukraine war, citizens close ranks in support of EU

Russia’s war against Ukraine has strengthened public support for the EU, the EP spring Eurobarometer survey published on Wednesday finds. Almost two-thirds (65%) of Europeans see EU membership as a good thing. This is the highest result since 2007, when it was at 58%. EU membership is seen as ‘a good thing’ by a relative majority of citizens in all countries except Greece and Slovakia, where more respondents view it as ‘neither a good nor a bad thing’. Compared to Parliament’s last Parlemeter survey conducted at the end of 2021, results have increased significantly in most countries, particularly in Lithuania (+20 pp), Malta (+12 pp) and Estonia (+9 pp).

52% of Europeans today have a positive image of the EU, against 12% negative. This result is an increase of 3 points for positive image since November-December 2021 and equals the best result measured by European Parliament’s surveys since 2007. National results for a positive EU image range from 76% in Ireland to 32% in Greece.

Recent events have also shaped the image Europeans have of other major actors on the international scene. Russia is seen positively only by 10% of respondents, down from 30% in 2018 when this question was last asked. China returns the second lowest ranking with 22% (-14 pp). By contrast, Europeans have a more positive image of the UK (65%, +1 pp) followed by the USA with 58% (+13 pp).

Further reading:

EU-Wide Survey: In the face of Ukraine war, citizens close ranks in support of EU