Parliament's priorities and achievements 


With lessons learnt from the pandemic and the recent geopolitical and energy crisis, lawmakers focus on Europe’s green and digital transition to build a resilient economy and strengthen democratic oversight and fundamental rights.

Learn more about Parliament’s achievements in policy areas that Parliament, Council, and the Commission identified as common priorities and committed to deliver on before the next European Elections in 2024.

Parliament’s Legislative Observatory is the central data base and monitoring tool to turn to for complete information on all past and ongoing parliamentary work, be it legislative or non-legislative. It offers a very responsive research tool to filter content.

Learn more about the political priorities of Parliament’s political groups

Final votes in plenary ©EP2023  

Democracy in Action

  • In 2020, Parliament’s negotiators successfully fought for the biggest EU financial package ever to tackle the repercussions of the COVID-19 crisis and finance a new generation of EU programmes for 2021-2027.

    The EU long-term budget and a unique €750 billion (more than €800 billion in current prices) recovery instrument (see also NextGenerationEU, RRF) aim to get European societies better prepared for crises and to boost the digital and green transitions, with particular support for young people, SMEs, rescue and health systems and research. Additional measures in support of regions and vulnerable populations (e.g. the Just Transition Fund and the Social Climate fund) were adopted in 2021 and complemented in 2023 to speed up actions to reach climate neutrality and cut dependence on Russian energy (REPowerEU).

    Parliament also secured a legally binding roadmap for the introduction of new own resources to cover the repayment of the NextGenerationEU borrowing.

    In budget negotiations with Council, MEPs achieved a €16 billion increase for flagship programmes for 2021-2027 (EU4Health, Horizon (research), InvestEU and Erasmus+).

    EU solidarity based on shared values and objectives

    As part of their budgetary authority, MEPs keep a close eye on the budget spending and on the national recovery plans financed through the Recovery and Resilience Facility. For member states to receive EU funding, they scrupulously need to respect EU climate and digital objectives as well as the rule of law and fundamental EU values. Parliament exerts pressure on the Commission to retain any payments under the “rule of law conditionality”, agreed with Council in 2020, if those requirements are not fulfilled. Moreover, MEPs succeeded in enhancing scrutiny and transparency of the RRF: the 100 biggest beneficiaries of RRF funding have to be published by each member state.

    Fair wages

    MEPs convinced member states to secure national minimum wages and to ensure that men and women receive equal pay for equal work, across the EU. Parliament also wants to bring in social justice and dignity for workers and put an end to abusive practices by service providers operating via digital platforms (“platform workers”). Furthermore, fair taxation and the fight against money laundering remain high on Parliament’s agenda.

    Support for EU industries

    In February 2023, MEPs voted in favour of establishing a new EU “Sovereignty Fund” to anchor and re-locate industrial production capacities in Europe. They urgently call for measures to boost the take-up of clean energy technologies, and help EU industries produce high-quality jobs and economic growth to reach the Green Deal goals.

    ©Photocreo Bednarek/AdobeStock  
  • Parliament declared a climate emergency in 2019 and fought for more ambitious greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 in line with the Paris Agreement. The Climate Law (adopted on 24 June 2021) makes it a binding objective for the EU to become climate neutral in 2050 and reduce GHG emissions by at least 55% in 2030 (compared to 1990 levels). It gives European citizens and businesses the legal certainty and predictability they need to plan for the green transition.

    At least 30% of the EU budget will support climate objectives (and 8% biodiversity), with a significant part being disbursed collectively by the EU via REPowerEU to save energy, produce clean energy and diversify supplies. It also provides support for vulnerable households, SMEs and micro-enterprises. In addition, Parliament backed a €86.7 billion Social Climate Fund (to address energy and transport poverty) and a €17.5 billion Just Transition Fund for regions struggling with the social and economic impact of the climate transition.

    Achieve climate neutrality by 2050

    To reduce the GHG emissions of industries, transport (aviation, maritime, cars) and households, the Parliament decided to incentivise alternative energy uptake. It further tightened the rules of the EU emissions trading system (ETS), which enshrines the “polluter pays” principle. By putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions, the ETS has made industries invest in climate-friendly technologies. The effort sharing rules set out reduction targets for member states in areas not covered by ETS and a more ambitious EU carbon sinks target for the land use and forestry sector protects EU forests, boosts biodiversity and increases the EU’s 2030 GHG reduction target to 57%.

    Heating and road transport will be included in the ETS by 2027/28 and free allocations to the aviation sector will be phased out by 2026. Parliament endorsed the objective for zero CO2 emissions from new cars and vans in 2035 and strengthened the rules that will cover batteries for their entire life cycle. MEPs also wish to accelerate the roll-out of renewable energy and improve energy efficiency and in particular of buildings to further reduce the EU’s carbon footprint and dependency on Russian fossil fuels.

    Avoid carbon leakage and greenwashing

    A new Carbon border adjustment mechanism will apply the EU’s carbon price to imported cement, iron and steel, aluminium, fertilisers, electricity and hydrogen. MEPs have established a level playing field to protect EU industries and prevent their production being relocated abroad and to incentivise the rest of the world to step up their climate efforts.

    A series of products that cause further deforestation in other parts of the world may no longer be imported: cattle, cocoa, coffee, palm oil, soya, wood, rubber, charcoal, printed paper products. While no products will be banned outright, companies will have to show proof of “due diligence” - that producing them did not contribute to deforestation. More generally, sustainable company reporting becomes obligatory for all big companies in the EU, starting in 2024. Some 50 000 companies will have to disclose data on the impact of their activities on people and the planet and any sustainability risks they are exposed to.

    New rules on pesticides, nature restoration and sustainable food production (Farm2Fork strategy) as well as air quality, industrial emissions and packaging waste are still to be agreed.

    ©Mikel Martinez De Osaba/123RF/European Union – EP  
  • The European Parliament stands with Ukraine in its fight for democratic freedom and self-determination. It has strongly and repeatedly condemned Russia’s war of aggression and called for tough sanctions on Russia and Belarus as of the first days of the military attacks. It continuously pushes for EU support, for the EU to provide defensive weapons, humanitarian aid and democratic support to the institutions of Ukraine.

    During an extraordinary plenary session on 1 March 2022, MEPs adopted a first resolution calling on the EU to impose tough sanctions against Russia and Belarus over the invasion and swiftly provide Ukraine with defensive weapons.

    The European Parliament became the first international political institution to be addressed by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy after the assault, which he did in a (remote) speech the same day. A month later, on 1 April, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola became the first EU leader to visit Kyiv, where she met with President Zelenskyy, parliamentary speaker Ruslan Stefanchuk and addressed Members of Ukraine’s parliament the Verkhovna Rada.

    On his first visit to Brussels on 9 February 2023, President Zelenskyy delivered a speech in plenary before addressing the EU heads of state and government at the EU summit.

    Tackling the consequences of war on Ukraine and EU

    Parliament requested robust long-term humanitarian food aid for Ukraine, from both the EU and at the international level, in a resolution on 24 March 2022. In April 2022, MEPs demanded a complete EU embargo on Russian energy imports and as of May, started work to redirect recovery funds to RePowerEU and speed up the green energy transition in member states.

    During the September 2022 plenary session, MEPs backed simplified rules for the use of EU regional funds to address the consequences of Russian aggression and in particular to help neighbouring regions hosting Ukrainian refugees. They also greenlighted a second tranche of EU macro-financial assistance for Ukraine’s immediate needs. In November, MEPs approved an €18 billion EU loan to support Ukraine in 2023.

    Towards a free and democratic Ukraine within the EU

    In a resolution adopted in March 2022, Parliament also pointed out that the Russian government is spreading “disinformation of an unparalleled malice and magnitude” to deceive its citizens and the international community about the war in Ukraine. It urged the EU to put in place specific sanctions related to foreign interference and disinformation campaigns.

    In May 2022, they urged the EU to support international proceedings and courts with the prosecution of the Russian and Belarussian regimes for war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and the crime of aggression. To this end, Parliament attributed new competencies to Eurojust to allow the EU agency to collect and process evidence on these crimes.

    In June, Parliament successfully called on EU heads of state or government to grant Ukraine EU candidate status and approved a first post-war tranche of macro-financial assistance to the country in July.

    On 6 October, MEPs rejected the results of the Russian-orchestrated sham referenda to annex occupied Ukrainian territory at gunpoint as “null and void”. They also called for a massive increase in military assistance for the Ukrainian government and armed forces.

    In a display of solidarity and admiration, Parliament bestowed the 2022 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to the brave people of Ukraine, represented by their president, elected leaders and civil society, on 19 October. The award ceremony was held in December.

    Following the continued atrocities carried out by Russian forces and their proxies in Ukraine, MEPs decided to recognise Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism in a resolution adopted on 23 November. This was subsequently followed up by Parliament recognising Holodomor, the Soviet starvation of Ukrainians, as genocide.

    During the plenary session in January 2023, MEPs called for a firmer response to Russian threats to European security and also renewed their call to create a special international tribunal to hold the Russian political and military leadership accountable for the crime of aggression against Ukraine.

    Ahead of the EU-Ukraine summit in Kyiv on 3 February 2023, MEPs adopted a resolution calling on EU and Ukrainian political leaders to work towards the start of Ukraine’s EU accession negotiations, while reiterating the need for a merit-oriented accession process based on clear criteria, benchmarks and reforms.

    Over the years, the European Parliament has built a unique and longstanding relationship with the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) of Ukraine. Institutional cooperation on all levels has been stepped up since 24 February 2022 to provide immediate help and prepare Ukraine’s democratic future in the EU. It also contributed to the Verkhovna Rada's communication capacities with the creation of a new common webpage in English and Ukrainian: “The EU stands with Ukraine”.

    © EP2023  
  • Primary responsibility for healthcare systems lies with the member states. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that the EU has an important role to play in improving public health, preventing and managing diseases, mitigating sources of danger to human health, and coordinating health strategies between member states. Parliament increased the funding for the 2021-27 “EU4Health” programme from €1.7 billion to €5.1 billion, aiming to improve cooperation among EU countries and to better deal with future pandemics and health threats.

    In February 2023, Parliament agreed to set up a new permanent Subcommittee for Public Health, underlining the topic’s priority status.

    Tackling the pandemic

    In June 2021, MEPs and member states swiftly put in place the temporary digital COVID-19 certificate to facilitate safe cross-border travel and transport in the EU and beyond. Parliament agreed to widen the scope and upgrade the resources of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism to respond quickly to large-scale disasters. The EP also pushed for strengthening the mandate of the European Medicine Agency (EMA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), to enhance the EU’s crisis prevention, preparedness and response capacity when addressing future serious cross-border health threats.

    MEPs are currently looking into further lessons learned from the pandemic, with the COVI special committee scrutinising, among others, the EU’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccination campaigns.

    Pharmaceuticals, health at work, defeat cancer

    Parliament repeatedly pushed to improve the protection of citizens’ health at their workplaces and set out ways to increase the EU’s pharmaceutical autonomy in a report adopted at the end of 2021. A revision of the EU’s key pharmaceutical legislation is expected to be tabled by the Commission in spring 2023.

    The Parliament’s Special Committee on Beating Cancer (BECA) issued recommendations to improve cooperation on cancer prevention and early detection, as well as harness research, innovation and new technologies for prevention and treatment.

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  • A new Pact on Migration and Asylum was proposed by the European Commission in 2020 to overhaul and streamline asylum procedures, reception conditions and return policies for migrants across the EU. At the same time, EU lawmakers want to ensure human rights are respected and EU borders are efficiently protected against illegal border crossings and human trafficking. The upcoming Council presidencies and Parliament agreed on a roadmap to conclude negotiations on the package of nine proposals by February 2024.

    A holistic approach

    MEPs made sure that the EU gets an independent and fully operational Agency for Asylum by 2024 to develop operational standards, indicators, guidelines and best practices on asylum-related matters. The Malta-based agency will provide more operational assistance to member states in need, including in crisis situations as well as on relocation and resettlement.

    Informal agreements were reached in December 2022 on ways to help vulnerable persons to reach EU territory in a legal, organised and safe way, based on voluntary resettlement in a member state (Union Resettlement Framework Regulation), and on improved Reception Conditions to enable registered asylum applicants to start working after six months.

    Parliament’s Civil Rights MEPs are preparing for negotiations with Council on : Regulation for Asylum and Migration Management, Regulation for Crisis and Force majeure, Screening Regulation, Amended Asylum Procedures regulation and Return Directive (recast).

    Labour migration

    In May 2021, MEPs called for establishing legal pathways for migration to reduce illegal border-crossings and allow for the orderly integration of new arrivals into the labour force. As a first step, Parliament voted on new rules for highly qualified workers to settle more easily in the EU (Blue Card). Following committee votes in spring 2023, Parliament will be ready for negotiations with Council on two proposals updating the existing single work and residence permit directive and rules on long-term residence status.

    Frontex under parliamentary scrutiny

    The Frontex Scrutiny Working Group has been created following a decision by the Civil Liberties Committee coordinators on 29 January 2021 to investigate allegations of illegal push-backs. The group of MEPs continues to monitor all aspects of the functioning of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex and the correct application of the relevant EU legislation, in particular the European Border and Coast Guard regulation.

    © UNHCR Roger Arnold  
  • Parliament defends a European Union built on the rule of law, fundamental rights, media freedom, non-discrimination, and gender equality. MEPs want the EU to scale up its fight against corruption, money laundering (AML package) and disinformation, which threaten Europe’s democratic foundations and core values.

    Parliament set up a Special Committee on Foreign Interference in all Democratic Processes in the EU (INGE). Following its investigations and fact-finding missions, a first set of recommendations for better protecting EU democracy were adopted in March 2022. The Special Committee (ING2) continues the work until summer 2023 and will also look into ways to protect Parliament itself from attempts to influence its work.

    Equal rights at work

    In 2022, Parliament agreed a binding obligation for big companies to apply pay transparency for men and women to receive equal salaries when performing equal work. MEPs also succeeded in increasing the number of women in top positions through a landmark law. At least 40% of non-executive director posts or 33% of all director posts must be occupied by the under-represented sex by the end of June 2026.

    Respect of rule of law in member states not negotiable

    MEPs welcome the Commission’s yearly “Rule of Law report” and called for its further improvement to become part of a comprehensive, effective mechanism, and for swift action against manifest challenges to the rule of law such as in the cases of Hungary and Poland.

    In a resolution on the third, improved “Rule of Law Report” (2022), MEPs express worries about persistent negative trends in press freedom, pluralism, and journalist safety and voiced concerns about the continued politicisation of the judiciary and targeting of minority groups’ rights.

    Thanks to Parliament’s perseverance, a new law making payments of EU funds conditional upon full respect of rule of law including the independence of the national judiciary in member states came into force in January 2021. Since then Parliament has been repeatedly pressuring the Commission, as the guardian on the Treaties, to fully apply the “rule of law conditionality mechanism”, agreed with Council in late 2020. In 2022, the Commission suspended payments of recovery funds to Poland and of structural funds in the case of Hungary. MEPs insist on keeping funds suspended until both countries remedy in full the breaches of rule of law pointed out by MEPs.

    Freedom of media and media pluralism

    On 10 March 2022, the European Parliament decided to set up the PEGA Inquiry Committee to investigate alleged illegal use in the EU of Pegasus and equivalent spyware surveillance software to spy on political opponents and journalists. In November 2021, Parliament made its recommendations for new rules to protect journalists from being silenced. MEPs are now examining the Commission’s anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) legislative proposal to protect the independence of European media from vexatious lawsuits intended to intimidate them - a step that MEPs have been calling for the Commission to take since 2018. Parliamentary work on the much-awaited Media Freedom Act started in 2023.

    Electoral and institutional reform

    MEPs agreed on new draft rules to regulate political advertising and to reform campaign and party funding rules in the context of the EU Democracy Action Plan. Negotiations with member states started. A legislative proposal to revise the Electoral Act to bring national electoral rules into line with each other more and create transnational lists was set out by Parliament in April 2022. Improved voting options for EU citizens living in another EU country were proposed in February 2023. In both cases, action needs to be taken by the European Council to turn the proposals into law.

    In September 2021, Parliament called for an independent Ethics Body to improve transparency and integrity in EU institutions. In a resolution in December 2022, MEPs reiterated the call to the Commission to table a proposal.

    Follow-up on the Conference on the Future of Europe

    Finally, Parliament has been instrumental in setting up and participating in the Conference on the Future of Europe (2021/22) and its deliberations on the European citizens’ proposals. The 49 proposals of the Conference were immediately followed up by Parliament by activating the process to change the EU Treaties. MEPs called upon member states to set up a Convention to this end. A parliamentary report analysing possible follow-up on all recommendations will be tabled for a plenary debate before the summer.

    © EP2018  
  • Parliament is among the first institutions in the world to call for laws on key issues such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the regulation of online platforms. MEPs want Europe to uphold the highest standards on digital services, data protection and cybersecurity, built on EU fundamental rights and values set out in the EU’s Declaration of digital rights and principles.

    A human-centred approach

    The European Parliament has taken positions on establishing ethical principles that guide the EU’s approach to the digital transformation, as well as ensuring full compliance with fundamental rights such as data protection, the right to privacy, non-discrimination and gender equality, and with principles such as consumer protection, technological and net neutrality, trustworthiness and inclusiveness. Parliament has also called for users’ rights to be protected more robustly online, for investment in digital skills , support for workers’ rights and mental health in the digital workspace, and the right to disconnect.

    Digital Services rules

    The Digital Services Act (DSA) sets clear standards for how online companies operate and provide services in the EU, while offering a high level of protection for users. Under the guiding principle of “what is illegal offline should be illegal online”, online platforms have to take quick measures to remove illegal content, counter disinformation and strengthen checks on traders. Under the DSA, users are better informed and better protected from manipulation. The Act prohibits targeted advertising directed at minors or based on sensitive data.

    The Digital Markets Act (DMA) establishes obligations for large online platforms acting as “gatekeepers” on the digital market to ensure they behave in a fair way. The rules provide innovators and tech start-ups with new opportunities to compete and innovate in a fairer business environment. Consumers will have more and better services to choose from, without losing control over their data. If gatekeepers fail to comply with the rules, fines of up to 10% of their global turnover (or 20% for repeated non-compliance) can be imposed.

    Artificial Intelligence (AI)

    For years, Parliament has called for an AI rulebook that increases trust in, and the safety of, new technologies, one that sets high ethical standards, harnesses its transformational power for the job market and supports “AI made in Europe”. Several committees and a dedicated special committee (AIDA) gave their input to the Commission proposal for the first EU legal framework on AI (Artificial Intelligence Act). The final shape of the Act is currently being finalised by Parliament and needs to be agreed with member states in the Council before its adoption.

    A European data strategy

    MEPs support an interoperable, EU-wide data governance framework and a human-centric “data society” in which citizens have full control of their own data. Access to high quality data is an essential factor in building high-performing and safe AI systems.

    The Data Governance Act (DGA) aims to increase trust in data sharing, create new EU rules on the neutrality of data marketplaces, and facilitate the reuse of certain public sector data .

    The Data Act, which still needs to be agreed with member states and which complements the contents of the DGA, aims to boost innovation by removing barriers obstructing the access of consumers and businesses to data.


    In response to the growing threats posed by digitalisation and a surge in cyber-attacks, MEPs updated the rules for a high common level of cybersecurity across the Union (NIS2), replacing the first EU-wide cybersecurity law (NIS). NIS2 sets tighter cybersecurity requirements, expands the number of “essential sectors”, streamlines reporting, and introduces stricter enforcement, including sanctions, across the EU.

    MEPs also approved the creation of a EU cybersecurity competence centre and network, and called for tighter EU cybersecurity standards for connected devices, apps and operating systems.

    Parliament has also started work on the Cyber Resilience Act, which introduces cybersecurity requirements for connected devices to protect consumers and businesses from unsafe digital products in the single market.

    © Adobe Stock / Photostocklight  
  • Parliament has called on the EU to improve its ability to take swift and effective foreign policy decisions, in particular under the Common Foreign and Security Policy, to speak with one voice, and to act as a truly global player in response to international crises (resolution).

    In a resolution on the Common Security and Defence Policy adopted in January 2023, MEPs welcomed new EU initiatives to enhance European security and defence, and called on member states to continue developing the EU’s cyber-defence policy and capabilities, as well as establish security and defence partnerships with like-minded partners.


    In September 2021, Parliament approved the pre-accession funding instrument IPA III worth €14.2 billion to support seven countries in adopting reforms required to comply with EU rules and values. In its annual reports, Parliament continuously assesses democratic reform progress in neighbourhood countries that want to join the EU. Pointing to a strengthened enlargement policy as the EU’s strongest geopolitical tool, MEPs urged the EU to overcome the status quo and reenergise the enlargement process both among member states and in applicant countries.

    Democracy support and human rights activities

    The European Parliament has always demonstrated its unwavering commitment to human rights and democracy around the globe. Since 1988, Parliament’s Sakharov Prize recognises individuals, groups and organisations that have made an outstanding contribution to protecting freedom of thought in the world.

    Events in recent years - the pandemic, the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine - have posed serious challenges to democracies around the world. Russia’s aggression is directed not only against Ukraine but also against democracies and democratic values. The European Parliament supported parliaments in partner countries for years through a culture of dialogue initiatives like the Jean Monnet Dialogue, and the work of Parliament’s delegations.

    These delegations are official groups of MEPs that maintain and deepen relations with parliaments of non-EU countries, as well as with other regions and organisations. The European Parliament also sends short-term election observation delegations to countries outside the EU every year, where the experience of MEPs as elected representatives enriches the evaluation of local electoral processes.


    In June 2021, MEPs approved the new Global Europe fund (the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument – NDICI), securing €79.5 billion of external cooperation funding to support sustainable development in EU neighbourhood countries, Africa, Asia, the Americas, the Pacific and the Caribbean.

    International trade, partnership agreements

    Parliament supports comprehensive trade partnerships and rules-based multilateralism. Reciprocity in trade relations is a cornerstone of recent legislation to ensure fair competition in the single market, such as new rules to avoid dumping by foreign subsidies.

    Furthermore, the much-awaited proposal to effectively prohibit products made with forced labour from the EU market, including forced child labour, is currently under examination by MEPs. Negotiations with member states could start, at the earliest, in autumn 2023.

    The EU's Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), which grants preferential access to the EU market for developing countries, and new tools to protect EU companies from economic coercion are under negotiation with the Council.

    Parliament’s consent is mandatory for any new EU trade and investment deal with third countries to enter into force (e.g. the EU-UK trade agreement). In February 2020, MEPs approved the EU-Vietnam free trade agreement, which is the first to introduce environmental, social and democratic sustainability conditions. Other trade and investment agreements with, among others, Chile and New Zealand, are expected to be discussed by MEPs in parliamentary committees and plenary sessions in 2023 or early 2024.

    Georgia 2023 ©AFP photo  
  • Thirty years after establishing the single market, Parliament took action on updating consumer protection rules to meet the challenges of the digital era and the green transition. Waste reduction, recycling and sustainable production of goods are the cornerstones of building a more self-reliant and zero-pollution circular economy.

    Among the most recent changes are new rules set out in the Digital Markets Act, Digital Services Act, and initiatives like a common charger for mobile electronic devices. MEPs agreed revamped product safety and consumer credits rules to enhance consumer protection and the wellbeing of EU citizens, both online and offline.

    Circular Economy

    Parliament and Council agreed new rules for recycling and producing batteries. MEPs will present their position on revamping the Eco-Design Directive in early 2023 and vote on a series of proposals (packaging, product information, sustainable textiles, etc.) tabled by the European Commission under the Circular Economy Packages 1 and 2.

    MEPs initiated a proposal on the right to repair to extend the life-span of products and will also negotiate new due diligence obligations for corporate businesses with member states in 2023.

    Strengthen the EU’s industrial base

    In a resolution adopted in February 2023, MEPs called on the Commission to work on plans to enhance the EU's manufacturing strength, especially in strategic technologies like solar and wind energy, heat pumps, and batteries. Since 2021, MEPs urged the Commission to table a comprehensive strategy on critical raw materials to help EU industries stay competitive and become less dependent on third countries, while ensuring affordable and sufficient supply for EU consumers.

    © AdobeStock/bnenin