PES GAC: EUCO must put Europe on right path for progress in 2023

PES GAC: EUCO must put Europe on right path for progress in 2023

Pictured from left: meeting Chair and Finnish Minister for European Affairs and Ownership Steering, and Yonnec Polet PES Deputy Secretary General

From the cost-of-living crisis to international security, to the climate emergency, the European Council this week must offer citizens hope that progress is coming, socialist Europe ministers said today.

Meeting in Brussels to coordinate ahead of the EU General Affairs Council later today, progressive ministers discussed the strategic challenges for Europe in 2023, including protecting citizens from rising prices, Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine, European enlargement and defending the rule of law.

Tytti Tuppurainen, Finnish Minister of European Affairs and Ownership Steering and meeting Chair, said:

“This has been another year full of challenges. With the Russian’s invasion of Ukraine, the displacement of millions of people, the energy crisis and high inflation, the rise of the far right and rule of law challenges, Europe is going through a very difficult time.  As socialists and democrats, we have been giving the fights to overcome these challenges, both in our own countries, but also in the European Commission and the European Parliament, to overcome these problems. We owe our citizens strong, inclusive, transparent, and stable leadership, capable of meeting the needs of all, especially the most vulnerable.

“As we look ahead to 2023, it will be important to continue our work to protect citizens. Socialists and democrats will continue to ensure that all European citizens can rely on sustainable solutions to the challenges ahead.

“The European Union must redouble its efforts to protect and support citizens facing high energy costs this winter and propose measures to effectively tackle the cost-of-living crisis.

“And finally, with regard to the rule of law and democracy, the EU must do its utmost to protect our fundamental rights.

“In the face of these challenges, no one should be left behind.”

Pictured from left: Portuguese Secretary of State for the European Union Tiago Antunes, Spanish Secretary of State for the European Union Pascual Navarro, and Slovenian State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Marko Štucin

The meeting agreed, building on the October 2022 EuCo conclusions, that the EU must step-up the protections and support for citizens experiencing high energy costs this winter, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable. For the European economy, progressives expect EU leaders to provide further guidance for the months and years ahead – taking into account the valuable work done by Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni – on ways to support member states to weather economically turbulent times.

Ministers again condemned Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine and reaffirmed their support for Ukraine and the efforts to stop President Putin’s brutal campaign against the country, including innocent civilians. Europe’s socialist family supports the work of progressive Commissioner Ylva Johansson to assist internally and externally displaced Ukrainian citizens and help Ukraine financially. Progressives support the strategic assessments that have been undertaken across a number of other areas affected by the war, led by progressives European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič. Achieving strategic autonomy is an important future goal.

The meeting welcomed that the EU has started accession negotiations with Albania and Northern Macedonia after a long period of deadlock. It looked forward to also making progress for other nations in the region, reaffirming the PES view that the six Western Balkan nations belong to the European family. Ministers took stock of the annual rule of law dialogues which will be presented today and underline, once again, that fundamental values– including judicial independence – must be upheld by all member states. The EU must act firmly against those who persistently breach them, as is currently the case in Hungary with the government led by Viktor Orbán.

The meeting was attended by:

  • Tytti Tuppurainen, meeting Chair, Minister for European Affairs and Ownership Steering, Finland
  • Tiago Antunes, Secretary of State for the European Union, Portugal
  • Pascual Navarro, Secretary of State for the European Union, Spain
  • Marko Štucin, State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Slovenia
  • Yonnec Polet, Deputy Secretary General, PES