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Tuesday 14 January

Presentation of the programme of activities of the Croatian Presidency

"Over the next six months Croatia’s first presidency of the EU will focus on giving Europe a strong voice in the world. The EU is facing difficult challenges in a changing world, and its leadership is needed more than ever to defend multilateralism and preserve an international system that respects international law and human rights. This means not only strong and united diplomacy but also security and defence capabilities. The Union must continue to lead by example in the transition to a model for sustainable energy, and on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. This also requires a strong social pillar, which means investments for a just transition. We expect the Croatian presidency to ensure ambitious financing for the European Green Deal, which implies finalising the next multiannual financial programme. The Rule of Law must continue to be protected in the EU, especially in the cases of Hungary and Poland. Finally, the common migration policy remains urgent, and we expect the Croatian presidency to persuade the Council to start negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania."

Iratxe García Pérez, president of the S&D Group
S&D Press Contact - President's spokesperson, Victoria Martin De La Torre, +32 473 23 41 73,
victoria.martindelatorre@ep.europa.eu

Tuesday 14 January

Implementing and monitoring provisions on citizens’ rights in the UK Withdrawal Agreement

"With the UK due to leave the EU on 31 January, there is a sense of uncertainty for millions of EU citizens. People need security to be able to get on with their lives without fear or discrimination. That's why, next week the European Parliament will call for clear and concrete reassurances that citizens' rights will be protected throughout the transition period and beyond. Citizens do not deserve to have their lives put on hold. When it comes to the future relationship between the EU and the UK, we will continue to make sure that commitments on citizens' rights are fully implemented at every step of the way."

Pedro Silva Pereira, S&D spokesperson on Brexit
S&D Press Contact: Ewan Macphee, +32 478 96 19 14, ewan.macphee@ep.europa.eu

Tuesday 14 January

Situation in Iran and Iraq following recent escalations

"The reckless actions by President Trump in the Middle East and his provocative and disproportionate escalation culminating in the assassination of General Suleimani have created the most dangerous spiral of instability the region has witnessed in recent times. We, as the EU, must reach out to all relevant parties, both regional and international, in order to urgently promote dialogue and diplomatic answers to the outstanding issues between the U.S., Iran and Iraq, fostering a regional political solution. It is also of utmost importance to preserve the Iran nuclear deal, not only for the security of the region, but also for our continent´s security. The EU must also continue and if necessary step up its support for unity and democracy in Iraq. This is all the more important should there be a full withdrawal on the part of the United States. Finally, the latest events highlight once again the widening rift in vision between the EU and the current US Administration. This requires a paradigm shift in transatlantic relations as well as a reassessment of the role of the EU in the Middle East."

Kati Piri, vice-president of the S&D Group responsible for Foreign Affairs
S&D Press Contact: Inga Czerny-Grimm, +32 474 62 28 84, inga.czerny-grimm@ep.europa.eu

Wednesday 15 January

The European Green Deal

“The European Green Deal must be the industrial revolution that combines social rights, workers’ rights, sustainability and industries’ competitiveness. Binding targets and measures should be in place, both at the EU and Member States level. All sectors have to contribute. Fossil fuel subsidies should be phased-out and stopped. Policies in favour of direct investments for cleaner technologies across the board and in all sectors should be implemented. We need a 55% CO2 reduction for 2030 to be able to reach the carbon neutrality target by 2050 and we should seriously consider an interim target for 2040. If the Commission and the EU Climate ambassador, vice-president Frans Timmermans, are ready to deliver socially, economically and environmentally, the S&Ds are on board.”

Miriam Dalli, S&D vice-president responsible for the European Green Deal
S&D Press Contact: Jan Bernas, + 32 471 64 87 77, jan.bernas@ep.europa.eu

Wednesday 15 January

Ongoing hearings under article 7(1) of the TEU regarding Hungary and Poland

"On the request of our Group, the Parliament will debate the situation in Hungary and Poland who continue to push the boundaries when it comes to undermining democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights. Since the Article 7 procedures were triggered, we have not seen any improvement – quite the contrary. While the Council contents itself with irregular and hearings which lack transparency, not putting forward any concrete recommendations, both Orban and Kaczynski happily continue to reinforce their autocratic rule. In Poland, we have now reached the unprecedented stage with judges risking facing severe disciplinary action and harassment against them when they apply EU law as interpreted by the European Court of Justice. The new law, currently before the Polish Senate, would even facilitate firing judges who are critical of the government's judicial policies. In Hungary, Orban now attempts to restrict how the culture and arts are run to put them under his political control and by aiming to restructure the financing and leadership of cultural institutions. The Council remains silent. We must therefore keep the pressure on the Council as well as on the new European Commission. They have to use all instruments at their disposal to defend democracy in Europe, including potential budgetary consequences. Furthermore, we reiterate our call for an EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights to assess the situation in all EU Member States on an annual, independent basis with country specific recommendations."

Birgit Sippel, S&D spokesperson on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs
S&D Press Contact: Inga Czerny-Grimm, +32 474 62 28 84, inga.czerny-grimm@ep.europa.eu
S&D Press Contact: Ewan Macphee, +32 478 96 19 14, ewan.macphee@ep.europa.eu

Wednesday 15  January

European Parliament's position on the Conference on the Future of Europe

"This year, we will start debating the future of Europe but we need to do it in a different way. With regular and interactive discussions and debate with people all over Europe, the S&D Group has led the way in citizen engagement in recent years. Now, we must have citizens and civil society at the heart of the Conference on the Future of Europe. Next week, MEPS will call to ensure that we have a bottom-up approach with the European Parliament leading the way. This way, we can start a real conversation with people on a future Europe that we all believe in and that provides solutions for current and future challenges."

Gabriele Bischoff, S&D member on the Working Group on the Conference on the Future of Europe
S&D Press Contact: Ewan Macphee, +32 478 96 19 14, ewan.macphee@ep.europa.eu

S&D Pressekontakt

Tuttlies Utta
Head of Department

TUTTLIES Utta

Deutschland
Hélin-villes Solange
Head of Unit

HÉLIN-VILLES Solange

Frankreich
Martin De La Torre Victoria
President's spokesperson

MARTIN DE LA TORRE Victoria

Spanien
Bernas Jan

BERNAS Jan

Press Officer
Italien
Chiru Dana

CHIRU Dana

Press Officer
Rumänien
Czerny-grimm Inga

CZERNY-GRIMM Inga

Press Officer
Polen
Macphee Ewan

MACPHEE Ewan

Press Officer
Vereinigtes Königreich
Pelz Silvia

PELZ Silvia

Press Officer
Deutschland