The European Union and its institutions act across a range of areas including EU enlargement and accession negotiations, international relations, issues relating to the EU’s institutional structure and external action matters, all with the aim of offering and promoting an EU as a community of values, advocating a comprehensive and efficient approach to protecting and promoting the rule of law in the EU.
To this effect, we point out below significant events in this agenda:
30-31 October 2021, G20 summit, Rome (Italy)
El 30 y 31 de octubre de 2021, los dirigentes del G20 se reunieron en una cumbre de dos días organizada en Roma por la presidencia italiana del G20.
COVID-19 frontline responders were invited to join the G20 leaders for a summit family photo
On 30 and 31 October 2021, G20 leaders met for a two-day summit hosted by the Italian G20 presidency in Rome.
Charles Michel, President of the European Council, and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, represented the EU.
At the end of the meeting, the G20 leaders adopted a G20 leaders’ declaration.
At the summit, the G20 leaders agreed to:
- keep the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees compared to pre-industrial levels within reach
- accelerate their actions towards achieving global net zero greenhouse gas emissions or carbon neutrality by or around mid-century
- reaffirm developed countries’ climate finance commitment to jointly mobilise $100 billion per year, and welcome new commitments by some G20 members
- implement the new rules for a more stable and fairer international tax system, including a 15% global minimum corporate tax, by 2023
- advance efforts to ensure better and more timely access to COVID-19 vaccines in low- and middle-income countries
- establish a G20 Joint Finance-Health Task Force to ensure adequate financing of pandemic prevention, preparedness and response
To address persisting vaccination gaps, the G20 leaders committed to substantially increasing the provision of and access to vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, with particular regard to the needs of low- and middle-income countries.
This should enable progress towards the goal of vaccinating at least 40% of the population in all countries by the end of 2021 and 70% by mid-2022, as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Ensuring swift and equitable vaccine distribution worldwide will involve strengthening supply chains, expanding and diversifying manufacturing capacity, promoting vaccine acceptance and confidence, and fighting disinformation.
The G20 leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to the Rome Declaration, adopted at the Global Health Summit in May, as a “compass for collective action”.
Pandemic prevention, preparedness and response (PPR)
With the aim of providing adequate, sustainable and better coordinated financing of pandemic PPR, the G20 leaders established a G20 Joint Finance-Health Task Force.
By early 2022, the task force will make arrangements for establishing a financial facility, to be coordinated by the WHO, to enhance global financing for pandemic PPR.
The creation of the task force was proposed by G20 health and finance ministers on the eve of the summit.
Infographic – 10 incentives and benefits of an international treaty on pandemics See full infographic
The leaders also noted that strengthening pandemic PPR may involve an international instrument or agreement in the context of the WHO.
Ahead of the summit, President Michel had stressed the benefits of an international treaty on pandemics.
“The principle of an international treaty on pandemics rooted in the World Health Organization’s constitution will be the subject of a special World Health Assembly in November. We believe that such a treaty will be the best instrument to improve global pandemic preparedness and response.”
Charles Michel, President of the European Council
Climate and energy
The G20 leaders pledged to work collectively to ensure a successful UN climate conference (COP26), which started in Glasgow, UK, immediately following the G20 summit.
They reaffirmed their commitment to the full and effective implementation of the United Nations climate convention (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement.
The G20 leaders noted that keeping the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees compared to pre-industrial levels within reach will require meaningful and effective action and commitment by all countries, taking into account differing approaches.
The G20 will accelerate their actions in the areas of mitigation, adaptation and finance, acknowledging the key relevance of achieving global net zero greenhouse gas emissions or carbon neutrality by or around mid-century.
The leaders also committed to taking further action this decade and to formulating, implementing, updating and, where necessary, enhancing their 2030 nationally determined contributions (NDCs).
The leaders recalled and reaffirmed the climate finance commitment made by developed countries to jointly mobilise $100 billion per year by 2020 and through 2025 to support developing countries in their efforts to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate and adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change.
They also welcomed the new commitments made by some G20 members to each increase and improve their overall international public climate finance contributions through to 2025; they look forward to new commitments from others too.
The leaders reaffirmed their 2009 commitment to phasing out and rationalising, in the medium term, inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption.
They committed to stopping international public finance for new unabated coal power generation abroad by the end of 2021.
The G20 leaders stressed their commitment to maintaining energy security, while addressing climate change, and to guaranteeing energy system transitions that keep energy affordable for the most vulnerable households and businesses.
They also emphasised the importance of maintaining undisrupted flows of energy from various sources, suppliers and routes, and promoting open, competitive and free international energy markets.
Biodiversity and environment
The G20 leaders committed to strengthening actions to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030.
They will strive to ensure that at least 30 % of global land and at least 30 % of the global ocean and seas are conserved or protected by 2030, and will help members to make progress towards this objective in accordance with national circumstances.
The leaders urged other countries to join forces with the G20 to reach the aspirational goal of planting 1 trillion trees by 2030, with the involvement of the private sector and civil society.
The G20 leaders expressed their deep concern about the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, especially in developing countries. They reaffirmed their commitment to a global response to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and to support a sustainable, inclusive and resilient recovery across the world.
The leaders pledged to strengthen their actions to implement the G20 Action Plan on the 2030 Agenda and the G20 Support to COVID-19 Response and Recovery in developing countries. They also reaffirmed their continued support for African countries through a range of initiatives, such as the G20 Compact with Africa.
The leaders welcomed the new general allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDR), which has made available the equivalent of $650 billion in additional reserves globally. The G20 will be working on ways of increasing its impact by voluntarily channelling part of the allocated SDRs towards helping vulnerable countries.
The G20 leaders called on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to establish a new Resilience and Sustainability Trust (RST) to provide affordable long-term financing for low-income countries, including in the African continent, small island developing states and vulnerable middle-income countries.
The leaders welcomed the progress achieved under the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), which is estimated to have enabled the deferral of at least $12.7 billion of total debt service between May 2020 and December 2021, benefitting 50 countries.
21-22 October 2021, Consejo Europeo
On 21 October, EU leaders met in Brussels to discuss COVID-19, energy prices, trade and external relations. They also held a debate on the rule of law. On 22 October, they talked about migration and the EU’s digital transition. European Council conclusions, 21-22 October 2021
EU leaders noted that vaccination campaigns around Europe have brought about significant progress in the fight against COVID-19. Nevertheless, the situation in some member states remains very serious. Leaders called for efforts to overcome vaccine hesitancy to be stepped up, including by tackling disinformation, notably on social media.
The European Council called for further coordination to facilitate free movement within the EU and travel into it. It encouraged the Commission to accelerate its work with third countries on the mutual recognition of certificates.
Preparedness for future health emergencies
To ensure better prevention of, preparedness for and response to future health emergencies in the EU, the European Council called for the conclusion of the negotiations on the Health Union legislative package and for member states’ involvement in the governance of the Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA).
Leaders called for the rapid removal of obstacles hampering the global rollout of vaccines, and invited the Commission to further engage directly with manufacturers in this respect. This will allow member states to speed up the delivery of vaccines to countries most in need. The EU will continue to support the production and uptake of vaccines in partner countries.
Ahead of the G20 meeting and the special session of the World Health Assembly, the European Council underlined its support for a central role of the World Health Organization in future global health governance and for an international treaty on pandemics.
The European Council addressed the recent spike in energy prices and considered the impact of these price rises on citizens and businesses, especially those striving to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. EU leaders noted that the toolbox presented by the Commission contained useful measures for both the short and the longer term.
Remarks by President Michel on energy prices at the press conference following the summit
The European Council invited the Commission to study the functioning of the gas and electricity markets, as well as the EU ETS market with the help of the European Securities Markets Authority (ESMA). Subsequently, the Commission will assess whether certain trading behaviours require further regulatory action.
EU leaders also invited the member states and the Commission to urgently make the best use of the toolbox to provide short-term relief to the most vulnerable consumers and companies, taking into account the diversity and specificity of the situations of the member states.
The Commission and the Council should also swiftly consider medium and long-term measures, which would:
- contribute to energy at a price that is affordable for households and companies
- increase the resilience of the EU’s energy system and the internal energy market
- provide security of supply and support the transition to climate neutrality, taking into account the diversity and specificity of the situations of the member states.
Finally, EU leaders called on the European Investment Bank to examine how to speed up investment in the energy transition.
The extraordinary meeting of the TTE Council (Energy) on 26 October 2021 will take this work forward immediately. The European Council will keep the situation under review and come back to it in December 2021.
The European Council held a strategic discussion on EU trade policy.
The European Council discussed the preparations for the upcoming ASEM Summit on 25-26 November 2021, as well as for the Eastern Partnership Summit, which will be held on 15 December 2021. The European Council reiterated its call for the Belarusian authorities to release all political prisoners.
Ahead of the COP26 meeting in Glasgow, EU leaders called for an ambitious global response to climate change. It is essential to keep the 1.5°C global warming limit within reach. The European Council recalled the commitment by the EU and its member states to continue scaling up their climate financing, and called on other developed countries to urgently increase their contribution to the collective climate finance goal of USD 100 billion per year through to 2025.
EU leaders also took note of preparations for the meeting of COP15 on biological diversity in Kunming, China. They called for an ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework in order to halt and reverse biodiversity loss.
The European Council welcomed the EU strategy on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life, adopted by the Commission on 5 October 2021.
Following the European Council of 24 and 25 June 2021, the European Commission and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy presented eight action plans for priority countries of origin and transit.
To prevent loss of life and to reduce pressure on European borders in accordance with EU and international law, EU leaders called on the Commission and the High Representative to make those plans operational, implement them without delay and underpin them with adequate financial support.
EU leaders called on the Commission to:
- urgently present proposals and mobilise financing for actions on all migratory routes
- make the best possible use of at least 10% of the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI)
The leaders also reiterated their expectation that the financing for Syrian refugees and host communities in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and other parts of the region, including Egypt, would be mobilised in a timely manner.
The European Council made it clear that it will no accept any attempt by non-EU countries to instrumentalise migrants for political purposes. It reiterated its determination to ensure effective control of the EU’s external borders and stressed the need to ensure effective returns and the full implementation of readmission agreements and arrangements.
EU heads of state and government said that the EU will continue countering the ongoing hybrid attack organised by the Belarusian regime, including by adopting further restrictive measures against persons and legal entities.
EU leaders discussed Europe’s digital transformation and its value for economic growth, job creation and competitiveness. They stressed the need to strengthen the EU’s digital sovereignty in a self-determined and open manner and underlined the need for inclusive and sustainable digital policies, particularly in terms of digital skills and education.
Digital agenda and key legislative files
The European Council called for a swift examination of the Commission’s proposal for the policy programme “Path to the Digital Decade” with a view to implementing the 2030 Digital Compass, thereby setting specific digital targets for this decade.
The European Council also reviewed progress on a series of key legislative files, and encouraged the Council and the Parliament to reach an agreement on the Roaming Regulation, the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act as soon as possible. EU leaders also stressed the need to make rapid progress on initiatives relating to:
- a roadmap for establishing specific sectoral data spaces
- an innovation-friendly regulatory framework for artificial intelligence
- a European Digital Identity framework
- a European microchip ecosystem
The European Council addressed the marked increase in malicious cyber activities aimed at undermining the EU’s democratic values and the security of its societies, and reaffirmed the EU’s commitment to an open, free, stable and secure cyberspace.
The European Council also called for work to be advanced on the proposal for a revised Directive on Security of Network and Information Systems, the proposed Directive on the Resilience of Critical Entities and the Cyber Diplomacy Toolbox, and for an EU cybersecurity crisis management framework to be developed further.
12 October 2021, EU-Ukraine summit, Kyiv, Ukraine,
The 23rd summit between the European Union and Ukraine took place in Kyiv on 12 October 2021.
Three agreements were signed at a ceremony following the summit
Charles Michel, President of the European Council, and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, represented the EU. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy represented Ukraine.
“Behind official meetings, there are concrete achievements that change people’s lives, bring freedom, more capacities to support the rule of law, and more prosperity. That’s the real meaning of the ties between Ukraine and the EU.” European Council President Charles Michel
At the end of the summit, the leaders adopted a joint statement. Joint statement following the 23rd EU-Ukraine Summit, 12 October 202
Political association and economic integration
The leaders reaffirmed the continued commitment to strengthening the political association and economic integration of Ukraine with the European Union.
They welcomed the results achieved under the EU-Ukraine association agreement (AA) and the success of the deep and comprehensive free trade area (DCFTA). Since the beginning of the DCFTA’s application in 2016, bilateral trade flows have substantially increased.
Both sides welcomed the exchange of their assessments of the AA with a view to presenting a joint assessment at the next bilateral summit in Brussels in 2022.
“We belong to the same European family. 17,000 Ukrainian students have had a chance in recent years to participate in the Erasmus+ project. 50 million European citizens have enjoyed visa-free movement to the EU”. Remarks by President Michel following the EU-Ukraine summit
President Michel emphasised the benefits of EU-Ukraine ties for citizens
The leaders agreed to further enhance economic integration and cooperation within the framework of the AA, including in the following areas:
- approximation of Ukraine’s policies and legislation with the European Green Deal
- integration of Ukraine’s energy markets and energy systems with the EU energy market, establishing a level playing field
- continued gas transit via Ukraine beyond 2024, modernisation of Ukraine’s gas transmission system and strengthening of European energy security
- alignment of Ukraine with the EU Digital Single Market within the remit of the association agreement.
The EU and Ukraine also signed three agreements in the margins of the summit:
- a civil aviation agreement creating new commercial opportunities for Ukrainian and EU member state airlines
- an agreement on Ukraine’s accession to the Horizon Europe programme and the Euratom Research and Training programme
- an agreement on Ukraine’s accession to the Creative Europe programme
In the run-up to the Eastern Partnership summit, the leaders welcomed the progress made in implementing the AAs and DCFTAs with Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, and called for their full implementation. The summit will take place in Brussels on 15 December 2021.
The leaders recognised the substantial progress made by Ukraine in its reform process, such as the historic opening of the agricultural land market.
They highlighted the need to step up these efforts, in particular with regard to judicial reforms, the fight against corruption and reform of the security sector.
The EU reaffirmed its continued substantial support for Ukraine with a clear link to the effective implementation of reforms and policy measures. Since 2014 the EU and European Financial Institutions have mobilised an unprecedented package of more than €17 billion in loans and grants for Ukraine.
The leaders noted that the EU’s support to help Ukraine tackle the socio-economic impact of the pandemic goes far beyond what the EU has provided to any other partner, with an allocation of €1.2 billion of macro-financial assistance plus a €190 million support package.
The EU and Ukraine will cooperate closely to ensure Ukraine has access to COVID-19 vaccines in the framework of the COVAX platform, including through the EU Vaccine Transfer Mechanism.
The leaders also welcomed the fact that Ukraine is among the non-EU countries and territories connected to the EU Digital COVID Certificate. This means that a Ukrainian COVID certificate is accepted in the EU under the same conditions as the EU Digital COVID Certificate. Likewise, the EU Digital COVID Certificate is accepted by Ukraine.
President Michel reiterated the EU’s unwavering solidarity with Ukraine regarding its territorial integrity
Foreign and security policy
The EU reaffirmed its unwavering support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The leaders noted the importance of further enhancing cooperation in the area of Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and of Ukraine’s increased convergence with Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP).
They also acknowledged the importance of further strengthening cooperation in countering hybrid threats and tackling disinformation.
“Security also means stepping up efforts to counter hybrid threats and cyberattacks. That’s why we will further strengthen our cyber dialogue.”
Remarks by President Michel following the EU-Ukraine summit
The leaders reiterated their strong condemnation of the clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces since February 2014.
The EU welcomed the establishment of the International Crimean Platform launched at the kick-off summit that took place on 23 August in Kyiv, and supports the implementation of the joint declaration which the EU and its member states have signed up to.
Ukraine welcomed the conclusions of the European Council in June, where EU leaders reaffirmed that full implementation of the Minsk agreements remains the key condition for any substantial change in the EU’s stance in its relations with Russia.
EU sanctions against Russia
The leaders highlighted that the EU had again extended its economic sanctions on Russia, which had been adopted since 2014 in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and the deliberate destabilisation of Ukraine.
The duration of these sanctions remains clearly linked to the full implementation of the Minsk agreements.
Infografía – EU sanctions against Russia over Ukraine
Moreover, the day before the summit, the Council imposed restrictive measures on an additional eight individuals for actively supporting actions and implementing policies that undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.
EU relations with Ukraine
EU-Ukraine relations are based on an association agreement (AA) which entered into force in 2017. The economic part of the AA is a deep and comprehensive free trade area (DCFTA).
06 October 2021, EU-Western Balkans summit, Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia,
Hosted by the Slovenian presidency of the Council in Brdo pri Kranju, the EU-Western Balkans summit brought together leaders from:
- EU member states
- the six Western Balkans partners: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, the Republic of North Macedonia and Kosovo*
Charles Michel, President of the European Council, chaired the summit. President Michel and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, represented the EU.
Remarks by President Michel on EU support and necessary reforms at the press conference following the summit
During the summit, EU leaders adopted a declaration, with which the Western Balkans leaders have aligned themselves. Brdo declaration, 6 October 2021
The declaration reaffirms the EU’s unequivocal support for the European perspective of the Western Balkans. It sets out initiatives to support connectivity and the green and digital transitions in the region, and commitments in the area of political and security cooperation.
The declaration also refers to a range of concrete deliverables benefiting the Western Balkans, including:
- the €30 billion Economic and Investment Plan (EIP)
- the pledge to boost COVID-19 vaccination rates
- the path towards lower roaming costs
- an Innovation Agenda for the Western Balkans
- Green Lanes and Transport Community Action Plans
The leaders reaffirmed their unequivocal support for the European perspective of the Western Balkans, which is of mutual strategic interest and remains a shared strategic choice.
The EU reconfirmed its commitment to the enlargement process and relevant decisions taken, based upon credible reforms by partners, fair and rigorous conditionality and the principle of own merits.
EU leaders also recalled the importance for the EU of being able to maintain and deepen its own development, ensuring its capacity to integrate new members.
The Western Balkans partners reiterated their dedication to European values and principles and to carrying out necessary reforms in the interest of their people.
Infographic – COVID-19: over €3.3 billion support for the Western Balkans
The leaders recalled that through their close and effective partnership with the EU, the Western Balkans have been closely involved in a number of EU initiatives to combat the pandemic.
EU leaders committed to further improving partners’ access to vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics. They pledged to help all Western Balkans partners reach similar vaccination rates to the EU average by the end of 2021.
Ahead of the summit, the EU and its member states had already provided 2.9 million vaccine doses to the region, in addition to health and socio-economic support totalling an unprecedented €3.3 billion.
A €30 billion Economic and Investment Plan (EIP)
The EU is the Western Balkans’ main political, economic and trade partner. Through the EIP, the EU is now providing unprecedented financial support mobilising some €30 billion for the region over the next seven years.
The EU will provide €9 billion worth of grant funding through 10 investment flagships. In this way the EIP aims to:
- spur long-term economic recovery
- accelerate a green and digital transition
- support regional cooperation
- foster convergence with the EU
The EIP will also help attract public and private investments, backed by the Western Balkan Guarantee Facility, which has a potential to mobilise €20 billion.
A shared responsibility
The EIP investments are meant to be a driver for positive change for the Western Balkans. However, this will only be sustainable through a joint effort by all sides.
The EU support is therefore linked to tangible progress on the rule of law, socio-economic reforms and adherence to European values, rules and standards.
Connectivity, integration, green and digital transitions
The EIP will be complemented by a range of new initiatives to support the green and digital transitions, regional integration, and connectivity as well as social and economic recovery.
The leaders welcomed the agreement on the action plan for the Green Agenda, which will be a key driver for the transition to modern, carbon-neutral, climate-resilient and resource-efficient economies.
The EU will continue to support inclusive regional cooperation.
The leaders agreed to step up efforts to enhance the market integration of the Western Balkans with the EU Single Market, including SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area).
They welcomed the roadmap for roaming, which will chart the course for lower roaming costs between the EU and the Western Balkans, building on the free roaming regime applicable in the region since 1 July.
The leaders also welcomed the concept of EU-Western Balkans Green Lanes to reduce border waiting times, and the recently endorsed Transport Community Action Plans for smart transport and sustainable connectivity.
They also launched an Innovation Agenda for the Western Balkans to promote excellence and opportunities in the areas of innovation, research, education, culture, youth and sport.
Political and security cooperation
EU leaders noted that standing together with the EU was a clear sign of the Western Balkans partners’ strategic orientation. This should be reflected through the full alignment with EU foreign policy positions.
“We re-assert our expectation that partners will further deepen cooperation in the area of Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and make tangible and sustainable progress towards full alignment with EU foreign policy positions and act accordingly, including with positions in international fora as an important part of their European path.” Brdo declaration
With the EU and the Western Balkans facing numerous common security challenges, the leaders agreed to strengthen their cooperation on:
- contributing to EU security missions and operations
- addressing disinformation and other hybrid threats
- enhancing cyber security and cyber diplomacy
- fighting against terrorism, radicalisation and organised crime
- combating money laundering and human and drug trafficking
- responding to developments in Afghanistan
The EU also expressed its readiness to strengthen its support for Western Balkans partners in addressing migratory challenges. The focus should be on the improvement of asylum systems, tackling migrant smuggling and illegal migration, returns processes, border management, information exchange, and reception capacity.
To reflect the importance of the close relationship between the EU and the Western Balkans, the leaders decided to regularly hold EU-Western Balkans summits, with the next one planned for 2022.
Informal European Council
On 5 October, on the eve of the summit, President Michel invited EU leaders to discuss the EU’s role in the world. They recalled that the EU is a staunch supporter of multilateralism and a defender of a rules-based international order. They debated the following topics:
- working with allies and like-minded partners, in particular the US and NATO
- strengthening the EU’s resilience by reducing its critical dependencies
- increasing the EU’s capacity to act autonomously as an economic power, as well as in the area of security and defence
- pursue the EU’s own interests, in particular vis-à-vis China, which is considered as a competitor, a partner and a systemic rival
The summit was part of the implementation of the European Council’s 2019-2024 Strategic Agenda.
20 – 24 September 2021, UN General Assembly, New York
Charles Michel, President of the European Council, addressed world leaders on behalf of the EU at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on 24 September.
President Michel warned that the world was facing a turning point in human history.
“What world do we want for tomorrow? We want a world inspired by reason. […] We want a fairer and a safer world. Cooperation rather than confrontation. Solidarity rather than isolation. Transparency not secrecy.”
President Michel at the 76th UN General Assembly
President Michel urged world leaders to take decisive action against climate change
In light of the increasingly disastrous effects of climate change, President Michel said that humans had been waging war against nature, and that nature was fighting back
“No one can say: “I didn’t know”. […] It is time to stop waging war against our natural world. It is time for humans to sign an armistice with nature. A peace treaty with our planet.”
President Michel at the 76th UN General Assembly
The President of the European Council highlighted the importance of partnerships and integration for a more peaceful world
President Michel stressed that the EU had taken a leading role in upholding the Paris Agreement, being the first bloc that decided to become climate-neutral by 2050 and increasing its targets for 2030.
President Michel also emphasised the EU’s role as the leading sponsor of peace and sustainable development.
“Peace is much more than the absence of war. […] It is sustained by the mutual connections between our societies. The more interests we share, the less we come into conflict. […] Peace is fostered by regional or continental integration projects, and by major partnerships between these new integrated areas. Whether they be in Latin America and the Caribbean, in Asia…or Africa.”
President Michel at the 76th UN General Assembly
President Michel said the EU was developing its strategic autonomy in order to be less dependent and to strengthen its positive influence in the world, as well as to consolidate the Atlantic alliance.
“Our Atlantic alliance is anchored in our democratic values and an unshakeable pillar of our security and stability in the world. Stronger allies make for a stronger alliance, underpinned by transparency and loyalty.”
President Michel at the 76th UN General Assembly
In view of the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, President Michel urged world leaders to ensure that the global community would be more resilient and better prepared for future pandemics through an international treaty on pandemics.
“This pandemic has led us back to the essential: life and human dignity. To safeguard these, we have taken exceptional measures. […] But overcoming this pandemic is not enough. We need to prevent the next pandemics and build global resilience. To this end, with Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, we have proposed an international treaty on pandemics.”
President Michel at the 76th UN General Assembly
The world must be better prepared for future pandemics, President Michel warned
16 September 2021, Gender-based violence should be considered a crime in the EU, say MEPs.
Parliament calls for gender-based violence to be included as a new area of crime under EU law.
Parliament calls for online and offline gender-based violence to be treated as a “particularly serious crime with a cross-border dimension”.
On Thursday, MEPs adopted by 427 votes in favour, 119 against, and 140 abstentions a legislative initiative demanding targeted legislation and policies to address all forms of violence and discrimination based on gender (against women and girls, but also against LGBTIQ+ persons), whether offline or online. They call on the Commission to list gender-based violence as a new area of crime under Article 83(1) TFEU, alongside other crimes that need to be combatted on a common basis, such as human, drug, and arms trafficking, computer crime and terrorism.
Parliament approved the inclusion of gender-based violence as a Euro-crime 16 September vote
This would serve as a legal basis for a victim-centred EU Directive using the standards of the Istanbul Convention and other international standards, and should notably include:
- prevention measures, including via gender-sensitive and intersectional education programming;
- support services, protection and reparation measures for victims;
- measures to end all forms of gender-based violence, including violence against LGBTIQ+ persons;
- minimum standards for law enforcement;
- provisions to ensure that incidents of gender-based violence are taken into account when determining child custody and visitation rights; and
- cooperation among member states and the exchange of best practices, information and expertise.
MEPs also denounce femicide as the most extreme form of gender-based violence against women and girls, and highlight that denying safe and legal abortion care is also a form of gender-based violence. They point to the many adverse personal, social and economic effects of gender-based violence, and reiterate that the situation has been exacerbated by the pandemic. They also refer to survivors’ lack of trust in law enforcement authorities and the judicial system as a significant factor that contributes to incidents being underreported.
Co-rapporteur Malin Björk (The Left, SE) said: “Parliament wants to see some bold action to combat gender-based violence – not only in the form of EU-wide legislation, but also through more investments in women’s shelters, in law enforcement and in feminist education. The report also recognises that sexual and reproductive rights such as abortion rights are crucial, and that not only women but also LGBTI people can be victims of gender-based violence, as this type of violence is based on gender inequalities and patriarchal stereotypes.”
Co-rapporteur Diana Riba i Giner (Greens/EFA, ES) added: “The message from Parliament has been clear. We need more and better tools to combat gender-based violence. We therefore call for common legal definitions, standards and minimum criminal penalties throughout the EU. It is time to act to include gender-based violence in the list of EU crimes, and to present a holistic and inclusive Directive to fight what is one of the most serious and persistent human rights violations in human history.”
One third of women in the EU have experienced physical and/or sexual violence. Around 50 women lose their lives to domestic violence every week, and 75% of women within a professional setting have experienced sexual harassment.
During her second State of the EU address in plenary on Wednesday, Commission President von der Leyen told MEPs that, by the end of the year, the Commission will propose a law to combat violence against women that will include prevention, protection and effective prosecution, online and offline.