The members of the European People’s Party (EPP) Political Assembly (PA) met via video-conference today to discuss the ongoing political situation in Belarus and Albania, the hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh, to adopt policy papers on China and the EU Recovery Fund respectfully and receive an update on Brexit negotiations from EU Chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.
The PA discussed the ongoing situation in Belarus and expressed concern at events following the recent presidential election, which was not free or fair. The PA stressed EPP’s support for the Belarusian people in their fight for freedom and democracy and recognises the Coordination Council as the legitimate representatives of Belarusian citizens.
The EPP fully supports Albania’s roadmap towards EU integration, including free and fair elections as a fundamental prerequisite. The electoral reform of 5 June was consensually approved and internationally supported and should be implemented as agreed. Unilateral changes at this stage are against OSCE/ODIHR recommendations as well as the EU Council decision for opening the accession negotiations. The EPP urges the authorities to refrain from any unilateral changes and respect the consensual agreement as committed to.
EPP is also deeply concerned by new large scale military aggression along the line of contact between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan and by the civilian casualties including children. All parties must honour international commitments to resolve the conflict peacefully, through exclusively political means. Practical steps must be taken immediately to cease the military actions and withdraw troops to the positions they had before 27 September 2020. We strongly support a return to the negotiation process mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs.
The members of the PA adopted the position paper: EU-China Relations in a COVID-19 World and Beyond. The time has come to redefine the EU’s relationship with China and to recognise the challenge China poses. Guided by EPP values, EPP remains committed to dialogue and to working with China as an essential global partner based on reciprocity and mutual respect, but also to countering its influence where it weakens democracy, freedom and the rule of law.
The PA also adopted the paper: Europe’s Recovery Building the future of fair and resilient societies including all generations in response to the challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. All generations count the same and must be heard in the upcoming process of European recovery. Europe can only recover by aiming to build a future of resilient societies together.
EU Chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier addressed the members and gave an overview of the current state of play of Brexit negotiations. The EPP is seriously concerned by the UK Internal Market Bill which it views as a significant breach of trust. However, the party remains focused on reaching an agreement before the October deadline.