In a debate with Presidents Michel and von der Leyen, MEPs called for continued support for Ukraine and a common EU response to the US inflation reduction act.
“We are seeing more examples of Russia’s strategy of terror in Ukraine but its people will continue to resist and the EU will support their efforts”, said European Council President Charles Michel. He added that the EU must rapidly boost the competitiveness of European companies so they can compete with those in the USA and China that receive massive state aid. President Michel also highlighted the significant progress made in the EU’s coordinated response to high energy prices and underlined the importance of the upcoming reform of the electricity market, talks on migration and the need to strengthen sanctions against Iran for its continued repression of its citizens. “2023 will be a key year for the European project”, he concluded.
On Russia’s war against Ukraine, the Commission President said that “we need strength and resolve”. Europe has shown unity and joint efforts, for example regarding energy, have paid off, with gas prices now lower than before the invasion and gas storage at 80%. “For this winter we are safe, but we now have to prepare for the next one”, she continued and announced that the first energy supply contracts will be signed before summer.
To boost the competitiveness of Europe’s industry, President von der Leyen presented the “Green Deal industrial plan”, based on four pillars: speed and access, by simplifying and fast-tracking procedures; boosting investment in clean tech production by temporarily adapting state aid rules; supporting workers to improve their skills set to create good and well-paid jobs; and trade agreements to secure strong and resilient supply chains.
MEPs welcomed the EU’s continued support for Ukraine‘s stand against Russia’s aggression. They were convinced the European model will prevail over the Russian dictatorship, because Europe puts people first and does not use them to push through the will of a political leader.
Some MEPs demanded an increase in support for the most vulnerable during the cost of living crisis, and to ensure better conditions for platform workers. Others welcomed the Commission‘s action plan for European industry and called for an EU fund in response to the US inflation reduction act.
Some MEPs suggested better targeting of EU subsidies and more investment in research and development, a major prerequisite for improving the EU’s competitiveness. On the green transition, several MEPs urged the EU to maintain the momentum and advance the work set out in the European green deal.
Watch the full debate here.