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  • Frances Fitzgerald

EU Enlargement and Gender Equality feature as key themes in final State of the EU address

Press Statement from Frances Fitzgerald MEP

Wednesday 13th September 2023

EU Enlargement and Gender Equality feature as key themes in final State of the European Union address - Fitzgerald

MEP for Dublin Frances Fitzgerald, today (Wednesday), welcomed Ursula Von Der Leyen’s final State of the EU address ahead of next year’s European elections.

Speaking after the State of the European Union debate, MEP Fitzgerald said, ‘the challenges now facing Europe are greater than ever before but now is the time to be ambitious when it comes to supporting SMEs, competitiveness, enlargement and gender equality’.

Reacting to President von der Leyen’s speech, MEP Fitzgerald said, ‘I welcome and support the President’s commitment to further EU enlargement and for setting out a vision for candidate countries’.

Ukraine, Moldova and the Western Balkans belong in Europe – those who aspire to join the EU and uphold our values of Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law deserve a clear and timely pathway to EU membership. Enlargement can and must be a catalyst for EU progress.’

‘Ireland has a long history of supporting countries who seek to join the EU. It has developed and effectively maintained a strong partnership with the Western Balkans and Eastern states’.

‘Furthermore, I want welcome the inclusion of my report on a Directive on combatting Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence in the President’s annual address to MEPs.’

I echo the President’s comments in regards to consent that, “No, means no” and that “there can be no true equality without freedom from violence.”

Other announcements of interest to Ireland include:

  • A European Wind Power package – which includes fast-track permitting

  • An anti-subsidy investigation into electric vehicles coming from China

  • A strategic dialogue on the future of agriculture in the EU to support farmers

  • A new Social Partner Summit to focus on challenges – from skills and labour shortages to changes stemming from AI

  • A new EU SME envoy and legislative proposals towards reducing reporting obligations at EU level by 25%

  • A new three pillar approach to Artificial Intelligence

  • Proposal to extend the temporary protection to Ukrainians in the EU

‘It is just 300 days until the next European elections and we have much to achieve in this time together for the benefit of all Europeans’.


Notes to the editor:


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