EPP Group to discuss security in Lyon, France
EPP Group MEPs will meet next week in Lyon (France) to discuss various subjects related to security in the European Union. Among them, the fight against radicalisation, communication in times of fake news or how to improve the EU's counterterrorism strategy. EPP Group Bureau Members will exchange views with experts on Thursday and Friday and finalise a position paper on security. The Chairman of the centre-right party Les Républicains, Laurent Wauquiez, will deliver a speech and specialists such as Frontex Executive Director, Fabrice Leggeri, and the former Director General of French internal security agency DGSI, Patrick Calvar, will participate on the panels. EPP President Joseph Daul will also participate in the event. #StandAsOn
Russian Trojan horses in the EU
At the initiative of Sandra Kalniete, EPP Group Vice-Chair responsible for Foreign Affairs, the EPP Group is organising a hearing on Russia’s interference within the EU on Tuesday. Entitled 'Russia’s Trojan Horses in the EU: Populism, Cash and Fake News', the event will provide an opportunity to discuss, with leading experts working on disclosing the Kremlin’s network, the multifaceted strategy used by the Russian Federation in influencing the European Union. This interference goes beyond meddling in domestic elections. Russia’s agents are supportive of anti-EU rhetoric and populism, as well as controversial energy projects, which are depicted as projects of purely business interest. Dr Alina Polyakova, Fellow at the Brookings Institution, Boris Reitschuster, German journalist and the author of “Putin’s Hidden War”, Ilya Zaslavskiy, Research Expert at the Free Russia Foundation, Brian Whitmore, Senior Fellow and Director of the Russia Programme at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) and David Alandete, Managing Director of “El País” will be guest speakers at the hearing.
A common procedure for international protection in the EU
The Common European Asylum System is based on rules determining the Member State responsible for applicants for international protection, and setting common standards for asylum procedures, reception conditions and recognition and protection of beneficiaries of international protection. However, there are still differences between the Member States in the types of procedures used, the reception conditions provided to applicants, the recognition rates and the type of protection granted to beneficiaries of international protection. The main elements of this new proposal are the provision of time-limits for an applicant to accede to the procedure, the provision of procedural guarantees for the applicants and obligations for applicants to cooperate with the authorities. The EPP Group is pushing for rules granting international protection that reflect new realities. The LIBE Committee will vote on this report and on the decision to enter into interinstitutional negotiations on Thursday 12 April.
CAP post 2020
An EPP Group hearing on European food and farming takes place on Wednesday. Chaired by Albert Dess, EPP Group Coordinator on the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, the debate will be about the post-2020 CAP. The list of speakers includes Commissioner Phil Hogan and EPP Group Member Herbert Dorfmann, who will present his soon-to-be-voted report on the future of farming. The hearing takes place on the same day as the expected proposal from the European Commission on improving the EU food supply chain.
EPP Group hearing on Digitalisation for Development
An EPP Group Hearing on 'Digitalisation for Development: reducing inequalities through technology' will take place on Wednesday 11 April from 14.30 to 17.30 hrs. The event will be hosted by Bogdan Wenta MEP, the EPP Group Spokesman in the committee. The European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel will be giving a keynote speech. Digitalisation is considered a strong driver of sustainable development and inclusive growth. The importance of digitalisation for sustainable development was recognised in the Council Conclusions of November 2016. As a follow-up in May 2017, the Commission released a Staff Working Document entitled Digital4Development: mainstreaming digital technologies and services into EU development policy. The requested hearing would be an opportunity to consult subject-matter experts in support of the preparation of an INI Report on mainstreaming digitalisation into EU development policy in line with the Commission’s strategy.
A European Values Instrument to support civil society organisations
Recent political and social evolution in Europe has shown that fundamental European values such as democracy, the rule of law and human rights cannot be taken for granted. A new financial instrument is therefore being proposed to support civil society organisations (CSOs) that promote European values and norms. The instrument, tentatively called European Values Instrument (EVI), would provide operating grants as well as grants for specific actions to CSOs engaged in promoting European norms inside the EU. It would focus on supporting organisations and activities that are especially relevant for advancing and safeguarding EU norms at the local and national level. The vote on the adoption of the motion for resolution will be taken on Monday 9 April in the LIBE Committee.
Religious rituals and fundamental rights
The EPP Group's Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue Group will next Tuesday, 10 April, host a conference on religious rituals and fundamental rights. Freedom of religion, as a fundamental right, is a central pillar of our society and is at the origin of manifold cultures as we know them today. Despite this legacy, very often today religion is portrayed as something divisive or is manipulated by religious extremists and cynical opportunists. The EPP Group would like to re-assert the central role religions and ideologies can play in bringing together and shaping a modern, pluralist, liberal democratic European society. Religion identifies and promotes the intrinsic shared values of life: respect for others, the sanctity and vision of a world that can and must achieve peace. Dialogue between cultures and differing ideologies is key to social cohesion and the overall health of our society.