ENVIRONMENT
From CAP to Iran – MEPs face a packed programme in last plenary of current term

By Martin Banks

The Greens/EFA Group says it objects to the Commission’s proposal to re-open the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

The group says this will weaken the CAP’s environmental conditionality rules and “remove essential ecological and agronomic elements that have been in place for decades.”

The Greens/EFA Group says it has long argued for a fairer, greener CAP that supports farmers and the environment over the interests of large agro-industrial companies.

The issue is topical as it will be on the agenda for MEPs in Strasbourg next week – the last plenary of the current mandate before the EU elections in June.

The majority of MEPs have endorsed an urgent procedure on the proposal, which the Greens says “makes a mockery of democratic procedures and co-decision.”

The legislative changes, it claims are being rushed through “via additional pressure from the Council, without proper scrutiny in any committee, no trilogues, and no impact assessments or any supporting data from the Commission.”

Following the opinion of Parliament’s Legal Service, a possible breach of the EU Climate Law cannot be excluded, said the Greens in a statement.

It adds: “The Commission’s proposal undermines EU strategies on climate, biodiversity, and soil protection, all of which help farmers adapt to climate change.

“At the same time, meaningful measures to improve farmers’ revenues – for example, by strengthening farmers’ protections against unfair trading practices and unfair competition, improving their bargaining power in the supply chain, and protecting against land grabbing and concentration – are not on the table.”

MEPs head off to Strasbourg on Monday with a range of issues facing them, from Iran and domestic violence to industrial policy.

It will be the last session of this parliamentary term,

The EPP Group says it has spearheaded efforts to tackle violence against women and domestic violence across the continent.

On Wednesday, the European Parliament will vote on groundbreaking EU legislation aimed at combating what the EPP calls these “heinous crimes.”

The EPP Group‘s vice-chair Frances Fitzgerald,who negotiated the draft law on behalf of the Parliament, emphasised the importance of the legislation.

The MEP said, “With this law, we have taken the first step towards making Europe the first continent in the world to eliminate violence against women.“

Elsewhere, on Tuesday the Parliament will draw conclusions from last week’s EU summit, which focused on European competitiveness.

Christian Ehler, EPP Group spokesman on Industry, Research and Energy says, “It is time now for all the Institutions to start working on a serious industrial policy agenda for the next term. We need a coherent plan for investment, improving the regulatory environment and other framework conditions such as R&D investment.

“This will be the main task for all EU institutions during the next term.”

The EPP Group says it is convinced that the completion of the EU Single Market in all its dimensions is more important now than ever.

“We can only master the Green and Digital Transitions if we quickly remove all remaining barriers and extend the internal market to further sectors, with priority given to the energy, telecommunications and the capital market,” says Andreas Schwab, EPP Group Internal Market spokesperson.

Meanwhile, in the aftermath of Iran’s attack against Israel, the EPP Group has called for the reinstatement of UN sanctions against Iran and for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah in its entirety to be declared terrorist organisations.

“Complacency or appeasement towards dictators does not bring peace, democracy or advance human rights – we should have learnt that when we tried the soft approach with Vladimir Putin”, said David Lega,  group spokesperson on Iran.

“The EU must become a main actor in the Middle East and our role is to help avoid an escalation of the conflict. Israel has been attacked once more. Unity against terrorism and anti-democratic regimes is the only way for democracy and peace in the Middle East,” stressed Antonio López-Istúriz White, head of the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with Israel.

The European Parliament, meantime, will vote on Thursday on an urgent procedure to simplify the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) strategic plans.

It says that “given the extensive recent farmer protests and the need to assess the administrative burden on farmers, the Commission has finally proposed a number of changes to the CAP.

“All of these proposed adjustments aim to simplify the lives of farmers, reducing bureaucratic burdens and consequently contributing to ensuring food security,” added a spokesman.

The ECR Group says it supports this file being passed as an urgent procedure “so that Europe’s farmers can benefit from the changes immediately.”

On Iran, the ECR says, “this unprecedented escalation poses a threat to regional security. The ECR Group vehemently condemns Iran’s attack on Israel, reaffirms its unwavering support for Israel’s security, and endorses the call to classify the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organisation.”

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