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EuropePlenary highlights: farm policy, Belarus, EU 2022 budget

Plenary highlights: farm policy, Belarus, EU 2022 budget

News | European Parliament

MEPs approved a new EU farm policy, set out recommendations on medicines and adopted the EU’s budget for 2022 during the plenary session on 22-25 November.

Common Agriculture Policy

On Tuesday, MEPs adopted a new fairer, greener and more transparent EU farm policy. MEPs ensured that the reformed Common Agricultural Policy, which will come into effect in 2023, will allocate a minimum of 10% of direct payments to support small and medium-sized farms and at least 3% of its budget will go to young farmers.

Covid-19

Also on Tuesday, MEPs highlighted the need for a greater rollout of vaccinations, including outside the EU. They also stressed the need for better cooperation between EU countries.

Belarus

On Wednesday, Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya addressed Parliament and urged Europe to amplify the Belarusian people’s voice. She said the EU should coordinate sanctions against the regime with the US and the UK to make the sanctions “effective and not only symbolic”. During a debate on Tuesday, MEPs called for a new migration policy to prevent instrumentalising refugees.

Legal migration

To respond to Europe’s demographic challenges and effectively match immigrants’ skills with labour market needs, MEPs called for an ambitious admission scheme for low- and medium-skilled workers from outside the EU, as well as a framework for recognition of their skills and qualifications.

EU budget

On Wednesday, Parliament adopted the EU’s budget for 2022, which was then signed into law by Parliament President David Sassoli. It includes nearly €480 million in additional funding for priorities such as health, young people and climate action. MEPs agreed an extra €190 million for the Neighborhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument, with a particular focus on fighting the pandemic.

Pharmaceutical strategy

In a report adopted on Wednesday, the Parliament set out a series of recommendations for a new EU pharmaceutical strategy aimed at ensuring affordable medicines, more transparent prices and stronger supply chains to avoid shortages.

Critical raw materials

Also on Wednesday, MEPs called on the European Commission to come up with a strategy to make Europe less dependent on imports of critical raw materials. While crucial to strategic EU industries, the sourcing of such materials should respect minimum environmental and social standards, the report said.

Violence against women

On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women Thursday, MEPs urged the six EU countries that have not yet ratified the Istanbul Convention – Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia- to do so without delay.  The convention aims to tackle violence against women, including domestic violence.

Social security pass

On Monday MEPs questioned the Commission on the state of play of the European Social Security Pass. They called for the speedy introduction of this digital tool to help reduce the administrative burden for mobile workers.

Minimum wage directive

On Thursday MEPs agreed a mandate for negotiations with the Council on the minimum wage directive, which aims to ensure decent living standards for workers in every EU country.

 

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