Greens/EFA co-president Philippe Lamberts urged MEPs to do "more and better on migration", calling it “a question of ethics and humanity” during his intervention on the Aquarius ship situation at the 11-14 June plenary in Strasbourg.
The fate of the 630 migrants on board the migrant ship dominated proceedings after Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini refused to let it dock in Italy and migrants were forced to make a long onwards journey to Valencia in Spain.
#Aquarius le naufrage de l'humanit! Rien ne justifie qu'un pays ferme ses ports un bateau charg d'tres humains en dtresse. @matteosalvinimi s'est servi de vies humaines pour se livrer du chantage politique. La suite de mon discours en plnire https://t.co/865yBRAyVS— Philippe Lamberts (@ph_lamberts) June 14, 2018
Echoing his concern, European Green Party co-chair Monica Frassoni in Brussels urged Europe to adopt Dublin regulation reform, adding that French President Emmanuel Macron's inaction was strengthening EU forces.
MEPs from other political groups also showed their solidarity with the migrants and expressed shock at Italy's failure to cooperate. The ship was known to have children and several pregnant women on board.
Human rights in Russia
The plenary also coincided with the Russia World Cup kickoff. The Greens used the occasion to highlight political prisoners held in jails across Russia with this brilliant infographic.
MEP Rebecca Harms, who is leading the campaign, said, “the World Cup cannot be used as a shiny distraction from the Russian regime's devastating human rights record.”
A Dutch ‘Future of Europe’
The Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte was the latest European leader to deliver a ‘Future of Europe’ speech in which he called for a smaller budget and stricter rules.
In response, Green/EFA Group co-president Ska Keller highlighted a long history in the Netherlands of blocking European action on tax avoidance and said his proposals of emphasizing the importance of free trade was effectively maintaining the status quo.
"With the Netherlands as a #taxhaven, multinationals are the winners, citizens the losers. What are we going to do @MinPres Rutte, for the people who are experiencing unemployment, growing inequalities & social insecurity? That's the big question for #FutureOfEurope," @SkaKeller pic.twitter.com/lLOTBq15Mq— Greens in the EP (@GreensEP) June 13, 2018
The European Defence Fund
As part of ongoing negotiations for the next long-term EU budget between 2021-2027, the European Commission presented its legislative proposal for the new European Defence Fund.
In a press release, European Green Party co-chair and MEP Reinhard Bütikofer said the fund could pave the way for the financing of more unethical weapons, such as cluster munitions.
He added that the Commission had unfortunately "brushed aside multiple concerns pertaining to the European Defence Fund that have been publicly debated over recent months."
A circular economy at the heart of cohesion policy
Greens took another step towards helping to reduce social and economic inequality across Europe by adopting by a large majority a report from Greens/EFA rapporteur Davor Škrlec on how cohesion policy can be aligned with the Circular Economy.
Škrlec said this would be a chance to create Green jobs in disadvantaged areas across Europe.
Other topics at the plenary included a debate on Brexit ahead of the June 28-29 Council meeting, the Composition of the European Parliament for 2019-2024 period, and a series of other topics. The next plenary is due to take place between 2-5 July and will include a Future of Europe speech by Prime Minister of Poland, Mateusz Morawieck