Category Archives: EU

Tusks regrets EU refusal of N.Macedonia and Albania accession talks

On October 17 the EU leaders discussed the enlargement. The overwhelming majority wanted to open accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania. However, such a decision requires unanimity, and there was no unanimity yesterday. That is why the EU will revert to this issue before the Zagreb summit in May 2020.

‘Let me be very clear: North Macedonia and Albania are not to blame for this. And the Commission reports are also clear that both these countries did what they were asked to do. And the adoption of the Prespa Agreement was a truly extraordinary achievement. So both countries have the right to start EU negotiations as of today. They are ready. Unfortunately, a few member states are not ready yet. This is why we didn’t manage to reach a positive decision. Personally, I think it was a mistake, but I will not comment on it further” the President of the European Council Donald Tusk said.

‘Today I would like to send a message to our Macedonian and Albanian friends: please do not give up. I fully understand your frustration, because you did your share and we haven’t. The EU is a complex political entity, and it is true that sometimes it takes too long to decide. But I have absolutely no doubt that one day you will become full members of the European Union.”

‘Today leaders also discussed the priorities of the new Commission with President-elect von der Leyen, as well as the future EU budget. It was an important discussion that will continue in the following months. However, without Jean-Claude  (Juncker) and myself around the European Council table, as you know. On this note, I want to thank Jean-Claude, my colleague and friend, for our friendship, for your loyalty and solidarity and for our really great cooperation. And I also want to thank you, the media, for your tough but fair questions, for your patience, for staying up so late with us. And for laughing at some of our jokes. Never funny, frankly speaking…”

EU Foreign Ministers focus on Syria and Ukraine

“You know that today we are mainly discussing the military operations in Syria. To me the most important point will be the fact that we are hosting the UN Special Envoy for Syria, [Geir] Pedersen. We will discuss with him how we can help protect the political process from this new military escalation. And obviously, as you know, Member States will discuss how far they are ready to go on some measures that are on the table when it comes to the Turkish military activities in Syria, but also the drillings in Cyprus” EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini said upon her arrival to EU Foreign Affairs Ministers Council in Luxembourg.

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 “This meeting is important not only for the decisions it could take, but also to prepare the European Council. Because as you know, the European Council later this week will have the same two topics on the agenda, among others. It will also be useful to prepare the meeting of heads of state and government on these two issues.”

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 “And we will also host the Foreign Minister of Ukraine [Vadym Prystaiko] today. For me it is very important to keep the European Union’s attention, and that of the international community on that. It will be an opportunity for us to hear from him about the plans of the new administration – of the new government – on reforms. As you know, the European Union is the main supporter of Ukrainian reforms and also of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country. So it will also be a good opportunity for us to discuss with him on the perspectives for the country.”

EU politicians react on Halle Synagogue Attack

President of the European Parliament David Sassoli led a minute of silence to remember the victims of the attacks in Halle, migrants who drowned off Lampedusa and the late Jacques Chirac.

The President expressed his condolences to the people of Halle, adding that his thoughts are with the families of the victims.

Shocked and saddened by the tragic events in #Halle, Germany, the members of the European Parliament stood for a minute of silence today. We send our deepest condolences to the families of the victims and hope that the police will be able to catch the suspects quickly’, Sassoli wrote in his Twitter micor blog.

Jewish community representatives said the synagogue in Hale was targeted by the gunman who tried to enter the building but he was stopped by security guards.

Another two people suffer injuries in a deadly shooting, the hospital said. Initially the shooter targeted a synagogue and a Turkish restaurant, killing two people in the street, and injuring the other two.

AMENDED

Josep Borrell faces MEPs scrutiny

The MEPS of Foreign Affairs Committee questioned Josep Borrell, Spanish candidate for High Representative/Vice-President for foreign affairs and security policy.

Political groups’ coordinators from the committee will meet within 24 hours to assess the performance of Josep Borrell, candidate EU top diplomat job.

During his introductory speech  Borrell stressed his intention to engage in reforms in the Western Balkans, support democracy and the integrity of Ukraine, address the challenges in the southern neighbourhood, develop a new strategy towards Africa, work on political relations with Asia, step up cooperation with Latin America and reinstate transatlantic relations (US-EU). “The world has changed for the worse…There are few agreements, more vetoes”, he said.

MEPs enquired how he intends to reach consensus among member states on decisions regarding e.g. Russia or generally related to security and defence. “We need shared strategic culture and empathy to understand the different points of view”, he replied. MEPs also asked about the role the EU could play in creating global security, when non-proliferation agreements are being breached. They also raised the issue of protecting EU maritime interests worldwide.

Asked about Kosovo-Serbia negotiations, Borrell replied that negotiations have lasted too long and Europe has to engage in helping Kosovo and Serbia out of the deadlock. His first visit as High Representative/Vice-President would be to Pristina, Commissioner-designate announced.

MEPs also asked how he intends to achieve a more strategic and coherent union, as announced in the Mission letter of the Commission President Borrell said that the EU has tools for foreign policy, such as a powerful common trade policy or diplomatic power. “The EU has to learn to use the language of power”, he stressed.

Finnish Jutta Urpilainen for EU development cooperation job

The Development Committee questioned  the candidate Jutta Urpilainen for the international partnerships portfolio on future development cooperation and respect of EU values.

Political groups’ coordinators from the committee will meet within 24 hours to assess the performance of Commissioner-designate Urpilainen.

During her introductory speech, Jutta Urpilainen said that the 2030 agenda for sustainable development goals is “a golden opportunity for the European Union” to continue to play a leadership role in supporting partner countries to eradicate poverty worldwide, whilst also “promoting values, including empowering women and girls as a precondition for inclusive societies”.

 

Gender equality should be a top priority and mainstreamed in all policies and programmes, she added.

MEPs put forward several questions on the ongoing negotiations on the proposed Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument, the post-Cotonou agreement with countries from the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, calling for greater transparency to keep the European Parliament and the public informed.

Members also questioned the Commissioner-designate on how she would ensure that EU values are respected, particularly on gender equality and women’s empowerment, which are a priority in international cooperation. Later in the hearing, MEPs raised the issue of linking development to migration challenges and the Paris Agreement on climate action.

The full hearing link below:

Orban defends European identity

Hungary Prime Minister Victor Orbán has criticised Brussels’ intention to prevent László Trócsányi for obtaining position of European Commissioner, The former Minister of Justice was under fire of the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee for his stance against immigration. The opinion of Prime Minister became public during his regular Friday morning interview on Kossuth Radio’s program Good Morning, Hungary.

The situation has not changed; László Trócsányi is an outstanding man, an internationally recognized lawyer, and an experienced diplomat. […] His only ‘sin’ is that he helped the Government–and me personally–to protect Hungary from immigration and ensured that no one could enter Hungary illegally without documents,Orbán said, adding that Hungary will never yield to the pressure of pro-migration forces.

The Prime minister confirmed that he had already begun talks with incoming Commission President Ursula von der Leyen about the issue. “There is a fierce struggle between those who oppose migration and those who support it. […]. It is a prime minister’s responsibility to think ahead, so I have a second, third, and fourth option up my sleeve,” the Prime minister continued.

Further developing issue of EU solidarity, Orban said that Hungary is ready to help Italy to cope with immigration. Although it will do so through border protection, not via distribution. “However, there are things that we cannot do,” PM Orbán warned. For example, “we will not help open ports, transport migrants, and distribute these people in Europe.” The position of government was explained in connection to last week’s visit to Rome,

Shifting the topic to the Maltese pact on migration, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that the pro-migration forces intend to revive migrant quotas and force them upon EU member states. While Hungary will seek legal avenues to tackle the resurrection of the migrant quota system, PM Orbán expressed hope that the policy can be stopped in the European Council by the heads of state and government there.

There is only one continent that, by yielding to its suicidal tendency, does not protect its own identity. This continent is Europe,” the PM observed towards the end of his remarks, adding that the word distribution is in fact an invitation for immigrants.

MEPs against terrorist content online

Members of European Parliament Civil Liberties Committee agreed on September 24 to begin discussions with EU ministers on new EU rules to tackle the dissemination of terrorist content on the internet.

 

According to the draft legislation, internet companies hosting content uploaded by users (like Facebook or YouTube) that offer their services in the EU will have to remove terrorist content when told to do so by the competent national authority, at the latest within one hour of receiving the order.

The European Parliament adopted its position on this proposal last April and the Civil Liberties Committee confirmed it with 55 votes in favour to 6 against and 4 abstentions. EP and Council negotiators will soon begin the discussions on the final form of the rules.

MEPs do not wish platforms to be obliged to monitor the content they upload or to have to apply automatic filters.

Parliament also wants to ensure that free speech and press freedom are guaranteed, so MEPs made it clear that the expression of polemic or controversial views on sensitive political questions should not be considered terrorist content.

Negotiations with the Council of the EU may start as soon as the negotiating mandate is confirmed by plenary, which will consider the proposal at the 9-10 October session in Brussels.

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