In the debate on the European summit of 10-11 December, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen updated MEPs on progress made in Brexit negotiations and on COVID-19. Vaccinations can start before the end of the year if member states get the logistics in place quickly, she said.
She also called on the Polish and Hungarian governments to stop withholding much-needed recovery funds from EU citizens; they can turn to the European Court of Justice if they contest Rule of Law conditionality being in line with the Treaties, she said. Finally, she pointed to the climate crisis “rumbling on”, urging member states to agree on ambitious carbon reduction targets. She also announced that the Commission will table a new agenda on the fight against terrorism on 9 December.
COVID-19 vaccines and the recovery budget
All political group leaders urged the European Council to agree on the long-term budget and thus allow EU funds to alleviate the economic crisis. ECR and ID group speakers considered the veto by the Hungarian and Polish governments to be legitimate, while all other group speakers called for the deadlock to be broken without giving in on rule of law principles. “No horse-trading”, said the S&D group leader, echoed by her EPP counterpart: “Take the EU to the court, but lift the irresponsible veto”. COVID-19 vaccines are proof that the EU is able to achieve quick progress when all parties and member states work as a team. The same should be true for the recovery, most insisted.
Decisive EU summit on EU/UK deal, climate action, Turkey
On the future EU-UK partnership, many pointed out that Parliament needs time to look into the details of any deal before giving its consent. If necessary, Parliament could meet at the end of December, said the GUE/NGL speaker. Both Greens and Renew Europe chairs stressed that European leaders need to act decisively on the climate now, while the EPP insisted that there must be consequences for Turkey’s long list of breaches of international law and sanctions must be considered.
To review individual speakers and the full debate, click here .