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EU Parliament: European Council, dictatorships, Brexit and Italian budget – hot topics in Strasbourg

(Strasbourg) The debate currently underway at the European Parliament on the results of the 17-18 October European Council has brought to light the modest outcomes of the Summit, as was stressed by the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, the Vice President of the Commission, Frans Timmermans, and numerous MEPS who took the floor. Tusk noted that border control was one of the most raised issues with regard to migration; as for the MFF (multiannual financial framework), “we are far from reaching an agreement”, and governments hold opposing views on the matter. Timmermans urged the Council to act and “deliver” what citizens expect from us, “also in view of the elections in May 2019”. Concerning Brexit, he said there is “no sufficient progress”, but “we will not” sacrifice “our principles” to accommodate British interests. Also, the issue of the Irish border is still unresolved. According to Timmermans, further decisions and actions are required in different areas, including our partnership with Africa (investment for development), the strengthening of the Economic and Monetary Union, and the creation of the banking union, also to prevent future crises. Concerning migration, the vice president also recalled that there are “three areas in which action is urgently needed: border and coast control, repatriation, and the reform of the Dublin system” which regulates the reception of refugees.
Speaking of the Summit, the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, recalled the three points he had previously raised, on which the Parliament will “have a firm stance”, namely: the reform of Dublin, the MFF (passing from 1.1 to 1.3% of GDP, “also financed by own resources”), and Brexit (citizens’ rights, financial issue, Ireland). During the ensuing debate, there was fierce discussion about three topics: first, a verbal confrontation on the historical significance of the Nazi and communist dictatorships, which provoked a lively discussion; then the “financial drift” of Italy and the threat it poses to the stability of the euro; and the urgent need to find a solution to Brexit.

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