Plenary highlights: Ukraine, foreign interference, golden passports | News

Ukrainian refugees

In a debate on Tuesday on how to help the millions of refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine, MEPs highlighted the dramatic impact the Russian invasion has had on people in the country and warned that sustained solidarity across the EU will be needed.

The EU’s role in a changing world

In the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, MEPs joined Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas during a debate on Wednesday in calling for a more united effort towards EU defense, reduced energy dependence on Russia and more solidarity with Ukraine.

International Women’s Day 2022

On 8 March, Parliament marked International Women’s Day with an address by Ukrainian author Oksana Zabuzhko, who spoke about the plight of her fellow citizens. Reacting to her speech, MEPs praised the courage of Ukrainians in both defending their country and the values the EU shares with them.

Foreign interference

Parliament approved a report by the committee looking into foreign interference, which calls for sanctions on foreign interference and disinformation campaigns. The report says that there’s a general lack of awareness of the severity of foreign interference and information manipulation, often by Russia and China.Hostile foreign powers exploit loopholes in legislation and insufficient coordination between EU countries, it says.

Golden passports

MEPs adopted a report that proposes to ban so-called golden passports, where non-EU nationals essentially buy citizenship. MEPs also want to regulate residence by investment schemes and asked the European Commission to make a proposal in the next two years.

Rule of law

Parliament urged the Commission to take immediate action and start proceedings to defend the EU budget from rule of law violations on Thursday. Parliament’s call comes after the European Court of Justice last month upheld the validity of the legislation that allows the suspension of EU funds to member states found to be in breach of the rule of law.

Batteries

Parliament approved its negotiating position on proposed new EU measures for the design, production and disposal of batteries. The aim is to make batteries more sustainable and easier to replace and set standards across the entire value chain.

Combating racism in media, education and sports

In a resolution adopted on Tuesday, MEPs called for EU and state funding to be withdrawn from media outlets that are proven to be promoting hate speech and xenophobia. They also want school curricula to be revised to combat bias and eradicate stereotypes and called for the elimination of racial and ethnic segregation in education and sports.

EU environment action programme

Parliament endorsed the EU environment action programme until 2030. Priorities include zero-pollution and a move towards a wellbeing economy.. In order to limit global warming to 1.5C, one of the objectives is the phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies.

New special committees

Parliament agreed to set up three new temporary committees on Pegasus spyware, foreign interference and the Covid-19 pandemic.

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