EUCO must show unity now and defend citizens, PES Europe ministers urge

EUCO must show unity now and defend citizens, PES Europe ministers urge

Ministers from Finland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Sweden met to coordinate ahead of the EU General Affairs Council this morning, exchanging on key items on the agenda for the upcoming European Council.

Meeting Chair and Finnish Minister for European Affairs and Ownership Steering, Tytti Tuppurainen, said:

“Tomorrow marks three months since the brutal Russian invasion of Ukraine began. We continue to stand with Ukraine, supporting them in all ways that we can.

“Since the end of February, we have had to make unprecedented choices to protect what is most important: people. During the pandemic, Member States proved that they could act together in challenging times. European leaders must show the same unity now.

“In Finland and Sweden, we have taken the historic step to apply for NATO membership, and we are counting on Europe to support us along this journey. Our membership will strengthen the Alliance, and the European Union too.

“EU unity will be important for strengthening the sanctions against Russia. We want to see the sixth package agreed, so that we can stop funding Putin’s war. At the same time, Europe must swiftly embrace the REPowerEU plan put forward by European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans. It is a blueprint to reduce our dependence on Russian energy whilst also protecting vulnerable citizens from price volatility. It is important to shield vulnerable households from the social and economic consequences of this conflict.”

The meeting also exchanged on the Conference on the Future of Europe. This important democratic exercise must live up to its potential and the deliver on the ambitious and constructive proposals made by citizens, civil society, national parliaments, and regional and local authorities, ministers agreed. It will be vital for progressives to lead the follow-up process, to build the more just, equal and sustainable future citizens want.  It is a positive sign that many of the proposals made by the citizens can already be advanced within the framework of the EU’s existing policies. The PES will push to ensure the EU has the tools available to achieve the reforms citizens highlighted.

Ministers also exchanged on the Rule of Law and on the on-going hearings under Article 7 and welcomed EU action to fight violations by Member State governments. They vowed to continue their efforts to ensure that all fundamental rights of European citizens are protected.

The meeting was attended by:

  • Tytti Tuppurainen, Meeting Chair, Minister for European Affairs and Ownership Steering, Finland
  • Vincenzo Amendola, Undersecretary of State, delegated to European Affairs, Italy
  • Tiago Antunes, Secretary of State for the European Union, Portugal 
  • Pascual Navarro, Secretary of State for the European Union, Spain
  • Hans Dahlgren, Minister for European Affairs, Sweden
  • Yonnec Polet, Deputy Secretary General, PES