The last weeks and months have been very successful for the EPP. Since our last summit, EPP member parties have won in parliamentary elections in Finland, Bulgaria, and Greece, as well as in local and regional elections in Spain, and presidential elections in Latvia. Those victories consolidate the EPP’s approach for a strong Europe that prioritizes people and their interests. The Swedish EU Council Presidency was equally successful, particularly by reaching agreements on core EPP priorities such as economic governance, European competitiveness, as well as migration and security. The upcoming Spanish EU Council Presidency starts at a pivotal time for the EU. In this respect, the national elections on 23 July will be crucial for Spain, and for Europe. Only a strong Partido Popular, led by Alberto Núñez Feijóo, will be able to provide the necessary political leadership to boost Europe’s economy, create jobs, and improve European security.
The EPP has witnessed with great concern the recent moves from the Law and Justice-led government in Poland to adopt the so-called “Lex Tusk” and silence the opposition ahead of elections in the fall. We fully support the millions of Poles who demonstrated against their government and stand by our member party, Civic Platform, and its leader Donald Tusk, in their fight to restore democracy and the rule of law in Poland.
We are witnessing the disintegration of the rule of law and the political takeover of media in Slovenia, as the leftist government has effectively assumed full control over the national public broadcaster RTV through the emergency law and the exertion of unacceptable pressure on the Constitutional Court.
In the first four months of 2023, more than 80.000 people crossed EU borders illegally, which is almost 30% more than a year ago and the highest total number for the comparable period since 2016. The deteriorating situation at our external borders and the suﬀering of refugees are a significant matter of concern to us. Our common Judeo-Christian values in Europe demand decisive action. We strongly welcome the breakthrough achieved by the Swedish EU Council Presidency in reaching a compromise on the New Pact on Asylum and Migration, as it includes long-standing demands of our party. It is absolutely necessary to adopt the new legislation before the European Elections in 2024. Our priorities on migration are clear: we must strengthen order at our external borders to save lives and prevent further human tragedies by setting up an improved border infrastructure and a new European rescue initiative in the Mediterranean. In addition, we must foster true European solidarity to help our Member States at the external borders as well as our Mediterranean neighbours, like Tunisia, based on comprehensive agreements as developed under the leadership of President von der Leyen.
While Yevgeny Prigozhin and the Wagner Group have openly challenged Vladimir Putin's authority, there is at present no realistic prospect for a termination of the Russian war of aggression. President Zelensky’s 10-point formula forms the basis for any just and lasting peace in accordance with the core principles of the UN Charter and respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. However, as of today, the Kremlin has sent no credible signals of being interested in dialogue or diplomacy with Ukraine, the European Union or any western government. The destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam set yet another precedent with devastating consequences and inconceivable suffering. Ukraine as a battered country is now additionally facing an environmental crisis. The answer can only be unwavering support for Ukraine. With the Act in Support for Ammunition Production (ASAP), which the European Parliament adopted overwhelmingly under the EPP leadership through its urgent procedure, the EPP is at the forefront of Europe’s eﬀorts to increase support for Ukraine, while building a common security and defence policy. We support the proposal by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to establish a Ukraine Facility that will provide financial assistance to Ukraine beyond 2023. At its upcoming summit in Vilnius, NATO allies should address the Ukrainian membership perspective by extending an invitation to the country to join the alliance once the war is over. The EPP firmly supports Ukraine’s applications to join both the EU and NATO and we will stand with Ukraine and its people, in particular children, until they win the war and peace returns to Europe. Moreover, we support the notion of providing Ukraine with the necessary security guarantees.
The EU should also use the political momentum following the elections in Turkey, to assume a more active role in trying to overcome the deadlock and resume negotiations within the agreed UN framework on the Cyprus problem, so as to end the almost 50-year-long occupation of Cyprus by Turkey and reunify the island, in line with relevant UNSCRs, EU principles and the acquis. We welcome and support President Christodoulides’ efforts in this regard, and in particular his proposal for a more active EU role, including through the appointment of a representative to facilitate the resumption of negotiations.
For more than a decade, the EPP has been driving the EU climate change agenda and showed leadership in setting binding global climate targets. We strongly support a robust European Green Deal to make the EU a pioneer in the fight against climate change, safeguard Europe’s cleantech leadership and create new jobs. The European Green Deal must prioritize citizens and take into account the new economic and social realities after Russia’s attack on the global world order. Russia’s blackmail on energy has led our citizens, and our small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) in particular, to suffer from soaring energy prices and high inﬂation. All parts of society must be able to embrace the transition. Only together, from families to shop owners and from farmers to energy-intensive industry, we will be able to achieve our targets. We need less rather than more red tape. Therefore, we want a regulatory pause, which takes absorption capacity into account. We welcome the fact that leaders from other political groups now share the views that we have been championing since last year on the need for a regulatory moratorium. In this regard, the EPP cannot support the proposals on the “Sustainable Use of Pesticides” and on the “Nature Restoration Law” in their current form. Food security should not be compromised neither in Europe nor globally.
China's increasingly assertive position, and the intensifying global competition in green and digital transformation challenges Europe's global inﬂuence and competitiveness. The global pandemic has exposed EU’s vulnerabilities in the global supply chains. Europe must overcome its naivety regarding China and its geopolitical and economic priorities on the international scene and especially in the Indo-Pacific region. Today we need a strong political will, as well as coordinated European action instead of unilateral approaches by Member States. The EU needs an updated and all-encompassing China strategy: we must improve the resilience and competitiveness of our economy and industry, and better protect our knowledge base and technological leadership in sensitive high-tech areas. We therefore welcome President von der Leyen’s approach of de-risking, but not decoupling, through reviewing critical and sensitive parts of our political and economic relationship to defuse possible future conﬂicts. With our allies and partners, especially in the G7 framework, we must diversify and strengthen the resilience of our supply chains and reduce economic vulnerabilities through by concluding new free trade agreements with likeminded countries. We thus welcome the new Strategy on Economic Security. Our policy towards China is therefore clear: cooperate where possible, compete where needed and confront where necessary.