War in Ukraine, energy prices to dominate EP agenda in Strasbourg

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The drafting of Russian reservists, sham referendums in occupied parts of Ukraine and Putin’s nuclear threats will be the focus of a debate in the Plenary session of the European Parliament being held in Strasbourg this week. MEPs are expected to call on the EU and its member states to respond strongly to Russia’s escalation of the war and its preparations to annex Ukrainian territories. The latest security crisis caused by several unexplained ruptures in the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea will also be on the agenda.

It is expected that MEPs will ask for military support for Ukraine to be upgraded and coordinated more effectively, and for economic sanctions against Russia to be bolstered. They are also likely to urge the EU to step up its efforts to stop sanctions from being circumvented, particularly with the help of non-EU countries. A resolution will be put to the vote on Thursday.

Energy will also rank high on the EP agenda this week, with Parliament adopting a resolution assessing the proposals tabled by the European Commission to shield consumers and businesses from rising energy costs. To ease the increased pressure that energy prices are putting on European households and businesses, the European Commission has proposed exceptional measures to reduce electricity demand, which should help reduce the cost of electricity for consumers, and measures to redistribute the energy sector’s surplus revenues to final customers.

Strasbourg is also set to approve the new law establishing a single charging solution for mobile phones, tablets and other portable electronics in the EU. By the end of 2024, a whole range of small and medium-sized portable electronic devices, such as mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras and headphones, will have to be equipped with a USB Type-C charging port. This law is part of a broader effort to make products in the EU more sustainable, reduce e-waste and make consumers’ lives easier. The directive further harmonises fast charging technology, provides consumers with clear information on charging characteristics and lets buyers choose whether they want to purchase new electronics with or without a charging device.

These new obligations will lead to more chargers being reused and will help consumers save up to 250 million euro a year on unnecessary charger purchases. Disposed of and unused chargers account for about 11 000 tonnes of e-waste annually. Maltese MEP Alex Agius Saliba is leading the EP’s efforts as a rapporteur on this theme.

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