[Press Conference] EPP highly criticised by Left and Right factions

The MEU Tallinn press conference with Members of the European Parliament set the tone for the upcoming Plenary discussions. Coalitions on social rights, defence cooperation and geo-blocking are expected, as well as significant dissatisfaction towards the European People’s Party’s (EPP) positions.

Representatives of the majority of political factions of the European Parliament (EP) were present at this press conference, which preceded the first EP Plenary Session of Model European Union Tallinn (MEUT) this afternoon. After multiple rounds of inter-parliamentary discussions and individual parliamentary working sessions, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) were able to submit their proposed amendments to the Proposals passed onto them by the EPSCO, FAC and COMPET Councils, and discuss the state of negotiations so far.

Presenting their initial statements, most of the EP representatives considered the negotiations to have been “very fruitful” and “overall pleased” with the support from other factions for the amendments they had proposed. Nevertheless, MEPs clashed during the conference over sensitive topics such as geo-blocking, social rights such as paternal leave and flexible working arrangements, and funding for European military and defence activities.

When confronted with earlier reported remarks from the Greens/EFA about how the EPP is not concerned about citizens when it comes to geo-blocking issues, EPP MEP Adriano di Gioia countered that they have the voters’ interests at heart and “wants to look his son in the eye and be proud to say that we’ve done all we could for a stronger and better Europe”. ECR MEP Alexandra Zagaynova also state her factions’ dissatisfaction with the amendments concerning geo-blocking, saying that “it takes away the power from the member states and their people to regulate on such important affairs”.  Similarly, when confronted about Green/EFA accusations that the EPP was seeking voting trade-offs instead of relying on the strength of logical arguments, MEP di Gioia stated that “as different factions, forming coalitions is a necessary part of our job, there’s nothing wrong with that”.

Not only the left-leaning parties seemed to be dissatisfied with the EPP. Representing EFDD, MEP Jimmy Dögerl confirmed his previously reported discontentment with both EPP and ALDE for not supporting measures that would benefit productivity and business on both COMPET and EPSCO Proposals, as well as giving the choice back to the people and national parliaments, reiterating his assumption that the other factions were “a bunch of communists (which prompted a fist raise from Green/EFA MEP Rémi Carton). At the same time, they were also extremely dissatisfied with the aforementioned parties’ agreement that the budget and scope of EU military cooperation should be increased, which prompted ALDE MEP Irene Doda to reassure him that “no one is trying to take sovereignty away from the member states with these amendments”. On the same topic, GUE/ENL MEP Giovanni Facchini stated that, being completely against armament and military activities, “we are pleased with the negotiations we’ve had with other factions on this regard”.

When asked about the progress on the efforts to expand flexible work arrangements and parental leave (both transferable and non-transferable), and whether the reports of a coalition on the left-leaning parties had been formed for this effect, S&D MEP Giorgio Chiara declined to comment on “the specifics of the negotiations”, but stated his optimism that “an amendment to expand and improve those provisions will be approved during the Plenary voting”. Answering to EFDD’s “communists” comments regarding the lack of cooperation for their amendments, S&D MEP Jessica Klemeier added that “we are happy to negotiate and engage in dialogue with all EP parties, but some of the amendments proposed are in direct conflict with S&D’s core values. On that, we will not compromise”.

For Greens/EFA MEP Remy Carton, whatever the outcome of the inter-parliamentary negotiations and the upcoming plenary discussions, “the Greens will do their utmost best to respect the provisions and rules stated on the EU Treaties and implement them as thoroughly as possible. That’s what we stand for”.

The Directives received from the COMPET, EPSCO and FAC Councils will be presented and discussed in a two-day EP Plenary Session – starting this afternoon with the COMPET document, which presented by Commissioner Lukas Spielberger and COMPET Council representatives Tomáš Jančar and Marie Helen Felderman.

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