PRESS RELEASE BY THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARIAT FOR THE EU PRESIDENCY 2017 AND EU FUNDS

Three more legislative acts signed under the Maltese Presidency – the European Parliament sets out views on the principles and priorities set to shape Brexit negotiations

Whilst addressing the European Parliament Plenary Session in Strasbourg, Parliamentary Secretary Ian Borg together with European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, signed three more legislative acts under the Maltese Presidency.

The first signed act concerns the decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on establishing an information exchange mechanism with regard to intergovernmental agreements and non-binding instruments between member states and third countries in the fields of energy and repealing.

The second act concerns the regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on medical devices and amending the directive, whilst the third act concerns the regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on in vitro diagnostic medical devices.

During the signing ceremony on the agreed legislative laws between the EU Council of Ministers and the European Parliament, Parliamentary Secretary Ian Borg and President Tajani also signed two budgetary files concerning the decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund, and the decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund.

Earlier in the day the Parliament also held a debate on negotiations with the United Kingdom following its notification that it intends to withdraw from the EU.

Parliamentary Secretary Ian Borg said that achieving an agreement that will minimize cost and uncertainty for EU citizens, businesses, stakeholders, and international partners, whilst being based on a balance of rights and obligations, remains crucial. Dr Borg also referred to the forthcoming European Council meeting on April 29, and underlined the importance of adopting guidelines that will shape this important agreement. It is precisely why it was so opportune, remarked Dr Borg, that the European Parliament was able to set out its views on the principles and priorities for such negotiations.

Parliamentary Secretary Ian Borg also opened the debate on ‘Hate speech, populism, and fake news on social media – towards an EU response’, and said this was a topic of common concern in light of concrete evidence from different sources such as the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights and the Council of Europe, confirming an alarming increase of unjustified intolerance and hatred across Europe. Dr Borg also mentioned the proliferation of various news sources leading to manipulation and propaganda being spread through fake news causing prejudices and in some cases real damage to the lives of affected citizens.

Dr Borg said that the Council was determined to address the challenges related to this matter, adding that the Council was determined to combat this serious challenge so as to ensure effective implementation of existing legislation as well as to protect victims. Dr Borg reminded that in all of this, it was highly commendable to discuss countermeasures but equally crucial remains the role of education and youth work, and more precisely the need to develop democratic resilience, media literacy, tolerance, critical thinking, and conflict-resolution skills in the learning process.

When speaking on a recommendation to the Council about the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), Dr Borg said the EU was committed to promote equality between men and women, including in the labour market and in terms of women’s economic independence and empowerment. He said the Presidency underlined the importance of combating gender stereotypes whilst condemning all forms of violence against women and girls. He also stressed that women’s financial independence is of the essence for them to be able to get out of abusive relationships.

Dr Borg added that there was a high degree of convergence between the European Parliament’s and the Council’s views on this matter – it was clear that sustainable development goals cannot be reached without the active participation of women.

Parliamentary Secretary Ian Borg also opened the debate on the 2016 Report on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. He said that the Council attaches great importance to moving forward with this – without overlooking the admittedly seriously fragile domestic political situation.

Source: Government of Malta