The recent developments in Ukraine have deeply shaken the European Union and its institutions to the point of redefining their agenda. The European Parliament met in an extraordinary plenary session on 1 March to discuss the Russian aggression. During the session, a Resolution was adopted inviting Member States to provide further humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. The plenary was also attended by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, the President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, all condemning Russia’s actions.
From the reports on foreign interference in all democratic processes in the EU, to cohesion policy as a means to promote innovative and smart transformation and regional ICT connectivity and cohesion policy as an instrument to reduce healthcare disparities and enhance cross-border health cooperation, the week of the 7 – 11 March will be packed with activities. As well, the European Commission will be presenting a Communication on a “Joint European Action for more affordable, secure, and sustainable energy” to further tackle the issue of high energy prices. Commissioner Timmermans will meet members of the ENVI Committee to discuss the impact of the current crisis in Ukraine on the European Green Deal and the bloc’s climate goals. As for the Council, the ministers of telecommunications will meet on Tuesday 8 and Wednesday 9 March, while the heads of state or government will meet in Versailles for an informal meeting on Thursday 10 and Friday 11 March 2022.
Following are the main appointments at European level for the upcoming week regarding the digital, energy and health fields, and further important meetings.
- Monday 7, Tuesday 8 and Wednesday 9 March 2022: The Parliament will debate and vote on the final report of the Special Committee on foreign interference in democratic processes in the European Union, including disinformation (INGE). The Special Committee established in 2020 stresses the need for an adequate sanctioning regime at European level to tackle interference and disinformation campaigns conducted by foreign parties. The rapporteur of the report, the Latvian MEP Sandra Kalniete (EPP), underlines the delicate role that online platforms play in the fight against disinformation and how European legislators and citizens still lack awareness of the possible risks arising from this scenario.
- Monday 7 and Tuesday 8 March 2022: During the Plenary session in Strasbourg, the MEPs will also be voting on the report by the Committee on Regional Development (REGI) on the role of cohesion policy as an instrument to promote innovation and regional ICT connectivity. The report by Spanish MEP Cristina Maestre Martín De Almagro (S&D) underlines the importance of a fair and inclusive digital transition and urges Member States to commit to bridging their “digital divide” by making the most of the different funds available at EU level (European Structural and Investment Funds and NextGeneration EU).
- Monday 7 and Thursday 10 March 2022: Council Working Party on Competitiveness and on Competitiveness and Growth focusing on the Internal Market which will delve into EU strategic dependencies and capacities.
- Monday 7 March 2022: On Monday evening members of the Committee for the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) will meet with Vice-President and European Commissioner for Climate, Frans Timmermans, to discuss the impact the war in Ukraine will have on the European Green Deal and on European climate goals. Romanian MEP Cristian Buşoi (EPP), Chair of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) will also be attending the meeting.
- Monday 7 and Tuesday 8 March 2022: The European Climate Conference will be held in Nantes, France. The conference will bring together representatives from institutions, civil society, the scientific community, and industries to discuss the steps forward for reaching the EU goal of neutrality by 2050.
- Tuesday 8 March 2022: The European Commission is expected to present a new Communication on the “Joint European Action for more affordable, secure and sustainable energy”. The measure aims to update the toolbox presented last October by the Commission to tackle the spike in energy prices.
- Tuesday 8 and Thursday 10 March 2022: The Council Working Groups on Energy continue to meet. The meetings next week will respectively address the revision of the regulation on the internal markets for renewable and natural gas and for hydrogen, and the revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED).
- Monday 7 March 2022: Within the ‘One Health’ approach, on Monday, a Ministerial Conference will be held in Paris to discuss Antimicrobial Resistance and to update the European Union’s roadmap on the fight against this phenomenon.
- Monday 7 and Tuesday 8 March 2022: Discussion and vote on the report on cohesion policy as a tool to reduce health inequalities and strengthen cross-border health cooperation. Croatian MEP Tomislav Sokol (EPP), rapporteur for the own-initiative REGI Committee report, proposes to improve the synergies among programmes for cohesion policy, and encourage the shift to e-health, robotic surgery and 3D printing in healthcare in order to improve access to healthcare and increase efficiency.
- Thursday 10 March 2022: Virtual press conference of the World Health Organisation (WHO)/Regional Office for Europe, for the launch of the European Health Report 2021. The report will provide an analysis of the progress made at regional level towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to health, as well as the effects of the pandemic on the population’s health.
- Tuesday 8 March and Friday 11 March 2022: Meeting of the Council Working Party on public health.
- Tuesday 8 and Wednesday 9 March 2022: The 27 EU telecommunications ministers will gather in Nevers, in France, to discuss the outlook for digital policy in Europe at the informal meeting of telecommunications ministers.
- Thursday 10 and Friday 11 March 2022: In Versailles, France, an informal meeting of heads of state or government will be held, where EU leaders will address some of the main current dossiers.