Author Archives: Europe correspondent

Europarl Sassoli invited to London

European Parliament President David Sassoli today received a phone call from UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. It was the first conversation between the two leaders.

Prime Minister Johnson invited president Sassoli to meet in person in London and stressed the importance of the European Parliament in the Brexit process. He expressed his wish to find a positive agreement on the United Kingdom departure from the European Union. President Sassoli responded that this was also the wish of the bloc of EU27.

The call followed the approval of a new Brexit resolution which reaffirmed the European Parliament’s support for an orderly and managed Brexit. President Sassoli stressed in the call that Parliament’s priorities remain guaranteeing citizens’ rights and protecting the peace process in Northern Ireland. He also reiterated that any agreement will need to be approved by both the UK and European Parliament, so robust debate and parliamentary scrutiny is essential. The European institutions are ready to discuss any written proposal from the UK government to unblock the current impasse.

MEPs vote for Brexit deadline extension

The European Parliament continues to support an “orderly Brexit” based on the already negotiated Withdrawal Agreement (WA), MEPs reaffirmed in the resolution adopted on September 18 during Strasbourg Plenary with 544 votes in favour, 126 against and 38 abstentions.

In the resolution the MEPs pledge to reject any Withdrawal Agreement without a backstop; in case of “no deal” consider the UK solely responsible for the consequences of the  a haphazard departure.

The consequences of a are noDSCN9756[1]t theoretical. They are human, social, political, financial, economic and legal. Leaving without a deal will not solve these questions. We will pursue the negotiations with responsibility, honesty and determination” said the EU Brexit top negotiator Michel Barnier, while concluding the debate in Strasbourg Plenary.

The MEPs approve of another conditional Article 50 deadline extension upon the UK request.
According to the Resolution the Withdrawal Agreement is fair, balanced and provides legal certainty, reiterating Parliament’s support for an “orderly Brexit”.

The document also underlines that the existing Withdrawal Agreement takes into account the UK’s red lines and the EU’s principles, providing a fair and balanced solution.

MEPs endorsed Lagarde for EBC chair

Christine Lagarde (France) obtained Parliament’s approval to be the European Central Bank (ECB) next president, in a plenary vote on September 17.
In the secret vote, MEPs casted 394 ballots in favour, 206 against and 49 abstentions to recommend Lagarde to head up the European Central Bank.

The European Parliament gives a non-binding opinion on whether or not a candidate is suitable to fill the role of President of the ECB, with the final decision taken by the European Council. She is due to replace the current incumbent, Mario Draghi on 1 November.

Earlier on Tuesday, the plenary held a debate on her suitability for the position.

Chrisine Lagarde’s candidature will now be put on the agenda of October’s European Council Summit.

Lagarde previously held various senior ministerial posts in the French government, and led International Monetary Fund (IMF) since 2011,  being reelected by consensus for a second five-year term, starting 5 July 2016 as the only candidate nominated for the post.

“Anti-Hungary lobby”strikes again

“The anti-Hungary, pro-migration lobby is back” reads the statement of State Secretary of Hungarian government Zoltán Kovács.

 
Certain elements in the European Parliament remain determined to make Hungary pay for staunchly opposing their pro-immigration agenda and for insisting upon defending Europe’s Schengen border. This is what today’s hearing is all about.

Following a recent initiative by Finland, which currently holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union, a representative of the Hungarian Government is due to appear at a hearing today in Brussels before an expert committee within the framework of the ongoing Article 7 procedure against Hungary.

For those who don’t recall: almost exactly one year ago, the European Parliament passed a report, drafted by former Dutch Green MEP Judith Sargentini, (pictured) on the state of Hungary’s rule of law, intent on tying EU cohesion and structural funding to an arbitrary list of “requirements”. In essence, the report regurgitates a laundry list of all the criticisms that Europe’s liberals have thrown at the Orbán Governments since 2010 – including many that Hungary has already resolved with the Commission or other European institutions and more than a few that simply do not fall under the authority of the European Union.

It’s the same left-liberal forces that now want to take revenge on Hungary for standing up against the influx of immigrants and insisting that Europe’s Schengen border be secured. They consider it dangerous and contrary to European values when we insist that the future of Europe depends on protecting our European, Christian way of life and they attempt to silence anyone who opposes their pro-immigration agenda.

“I don’t like that the European way of life is opposed to migration,” said outgoing EC President Jean-Claude Juncker in an interview last week following the announcement of the new Commission portfolios.

That betrays the Juncker Commission’s true colors. It’s an ideologically-driven agenda that the voters of Hungary have rejected more than once.

We welcome with great expectations the new Commission. Following the May European Parliamentary Elections, Hungary and the Visegrád Four have gained in strength in the bloc. As Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced last Tuesday, two of the incoming European Commission’s Vice-Presidents hail from Czech Republic and Slovakia. Meanwhile, the Polish candidate will oversee agriculture, one of the most important EU policy areas, and the Hungarian Commissioner, László Trócsányi, has been nominated to lead neighborhood policy and EU enlargement.

The tides have turned, it seems.

While we have high hopes for the new Commission and have great confidence in incoming Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, let’s not kid ourselves about the next several weeks. This period will define our relationship for the length of the next Commission’s term. We hope and have reason to believe that, unlike Jean-Claude Juncker, Ms. Leyen will understand what Prime Minister Orbán means when he says that for him, Hungarians come first.” 

 

Europarl to support Brexit delay

On September 18 (Wednesday) the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) will discuss the current state of play of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU with the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

The discussion will focus on the implications of no-deal Brexit and the conditions under which the Parliament would support a third extension of Article 50.

MEPs will vote on a resolution supporting Brexit extention on the same issue later in the afternoon.

The Europarliament Motion for the Resolutionindicates that it would support an extension of the period provided for in Article 50 if there are reasons and a purpose for such an extension (such as to avoid a ‘no-deal exit’, to hold a general election or a referendum, to revoke Article 50, or to approve a withdrawal agreement) and that the work and functioning of the EU institutions are not adversely affected”.

Moscow suggests US reparations for Yugoslavia bombings

The United States must ask for forgiveness for its bombardments of the former Yugoslavia(1999) and pay reparations to the relatives of those killed and injured in air raids, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on September 15.

And for a start, the United Stets should ask for forgiveness to those they bombed, pay reparations for those killed and to those who were wounded and lost their health because of shells stuffed with depleted uranium. And only with this done, with a proper groundwork laid, it can call on others to move forward,” the diplomat wrote on her Facebook page, commenting on the statement by the US outgoing ambassador to Serbia, Kyle Scott, who said that the Serbs should look at NATO’s bombings in 1999 from a “broader perspective.”

On March 24, 1999, NATO began a military operation against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The Alliance leadership claimed that prevention of genocide of the Albanian population in Kosovo he as the ultimate reason behind the air operation called Allied Force. NATO said that during the 78-day operation its aircraft flew 38,000 sorties to carry out 10,000 bombing strikes.

Military experts have found that the Alliance launched 3,000 cruise missiles and dropped 80,000 bombs, including cluster bombs and low-enriched uranium bombs. According to Serbian forces, the bombardments killed 3,500-4,000 and injured 10,000 people, two thirds of them civilians.

According to Serbian experts, NATO dropped 15 tonnes of depleted uranium over the three months of bombings to make the country Europe’s number one in terms of cancer cases. About 30,000 new cancer cases were registered in the first ten years after the bombings, with the lethal rate from 10,000 to 18,000 patients.

Material damage totaled $100 billion. The strikes against oil refineries and petrochemical plants poisoned the country’s water supply system with toxic chemicals.

According to Ljubisa Rakic, an acknowledged Serbian scientist, the amount of low-enriched uranium dropped by NATO on the Balkans was enough to make 170 A-bombs like the one that was dropped by the United States on Japan’s Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.

EU Crimea sanctions prolongation

The Council has extended the restrictive measures over actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine for a further six months, until 15 March 2020.”

 

The measures consist of an asset freeze and travel restrictions. They currently apply to 170 persons and 44 entities. The relevant information and statement of reasons for the listing of these persons and entities have been updated as necessary.

 

 

“Other EU measures in place in response to the crisis in Ukraine include:

  • Economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy, currently in place until 31 January 2020.
  • Restrictive measures in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, limited to the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol, currently in place until 23 June 2020.

The decision was adopted by the Council by written procedure. The legal acts will be published in the Official Journal on 13 September 2019.”

 

 

 

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