Category Archives: EU

EU resells tigers for cooking in China

On International Tiger Day 29th July more bizarre details of Europe‘s ties with dubious tiger traders come to light. Research conducted by international animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS shows that at least 1,412 live captive-bred tigers from the EU were legally exported between 1999 and 2016. It is believed that several of these animals have ended up in Asian tourist areas or were killed for traditional Chinese medicine. However, even in Europe tigers are slaughtered. On 16th July Czech authorities discovered a dead tiger as well as tiger skin, claws, bouillon cubes and broth – also called tiger wine – made from tiger bones on a property near Prague.

FOUR PAWS petition now calls on the EU Commission to ban the trade in captive-bred tigers https://help.four-paws.org/en/ban-tiger-trade

The world has already lost more than 90% of its tigers. There are only about 3,900 tigers and in the wild, yet the number of tigers held in captivity is unknown. The new findings and the extent of the tiger trade in Europe are therefore more than shocking. We call on the European Commission to protect the endangered tigers and ban commercial trade in captive-bred tigers. Tiger traders and their cruel business should no longer have a place in the EU,says Kieran Harkin, Head of Wildlife Campaigns at FOUR PAWS.

https://twitter.com/fourpawsint/status/1022818936981733376

The global trade of the endangered big cat and its body parts is flourishing. According to FOUR PAWS investigations and Czech authorities, a living tiger attracts up to 22,000 euros (USD26,000). A kilo of tiger bones is available for about 1,700 euros (USD2,000) and a litre of tiger wine – an allegedly healing broth made from tiger bones – can be found for 85 euros (USD100) on the black market. Between 1999 and 2016, 862 live tigers were legally imported into the EU and 1,412 were exported, which means that Europe’s tiger business is worth more than 50 million euros (USD59 mln) – although this troubling figure is estimated to be higher. During the same period, 8,278 illegal tiger products, such as tiger bouillon cubes, teeth and claws, and 57 illegal live tigers were confiscated in the EU. This horrific trade in endangered tiger parts is wide reaching, with evidence of illegal activity across France, Italy, Belgium, Slovenia, Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany and the Czech Republic.

Shocking findings in the Czech Republic
In recent raids near Prague, Czech authorities discovered a dead tiger as well as tiger bones, tiger broth and other remains last week. To not damage the skins, the arrested suspects apparently killed the animals with gunshots in the eyes. The suspects include the well-known zoo owner Ludvik Berousek. At a meeting with FOUR PAWS undercover investigators in June 2018, which was filmed with a hidden camera, Berousek told the investigators that he helps Asian buyers to get the necessary documents for the transfer of the tigers. The zoo owner also bragged that he had already sold a few tigers to China in the last two months. Additionally, the Czech authorities raided the Vietnamese Sapa market in Prague, finding tiger meat products available for sale.

Tigers as a tourist attraction, party trick and photo prop
The findings in the Czech Republic are not isolated cases. FOUR PAWS investigations show that in the past four years, animal traders have exported at least five live tigers from Germany via the Czech Republic to Vietnam, Thailand and South Korea. Further research in Vietnam revealed that at least two of the tigers ended up in the hands of a convicted wildlife trafficker. Also, the trade within the EU often leads to mistreatment of the big cats. In Spain, a zoo called “Zooexoticoskiko” is currently offering wild animals, including tigers, for photo shoots. Also, erotic images can be made with the animals. In some European countries it is also possible to hire tigers for private parties.

Lack of transparency in the EUfe
In the EU, the trade in wild tigers is forbidden, but not the trade in captive-bred tigers. Regulation and enforcement, however, is severely lacking. As a result, the exact numbers of captive and traded tigers in Europe is unknown, as movements within the EU do not require CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) import or export permits. Hence, there are hardly any official documents proving who sells tigers, when, to whom and for what purposes.

FOUR PAWS has therefore launched a petition that enables supporters to call on the European Commission to ban the commercial trade in captive-bred tigers to protect the endangered species from cruel exploitation: https://help.fourpaws.org/en/ban-tiger-trade

Trump-Juncker launched trade talks

President Donald Trump said the United States and the European Union were launching talks aimed at lowering trade barriers as officials looked to head off a trade war.

“This was a very big day for free and fair trade, a very big day indeed,” Trump told reporters at the White House after meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

“We are starting the negotiation right now but we know very much where it’s going,” Trump said.

“We will also work to reduce barriers and increase trade in services, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, medical products, as well as soybeans; soybeans is a big deal,” he said, adding that Europe would also step up purchases of liquefied natural gas from the United States, building relevant infrastructure.

Mogherini announces diplomatic nominations

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini announced the nomination of 24 new Heads of EU Delegations:

Luigi SORECA has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Albania. He is currently serving as Director for Security in DG HOME, European Commission.

Jan SADEK has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Botswana.  He is former Swedish Ambassador to Ethiopia and Djibouti.

Bertrand SORET has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Chad. He is currently serving as Head of the Political, Press and Information Section in the EU Delegation to Democratic Republic of Congo.

Nicolas CHAPUIS has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to China. He is former Ambassador of France to Canada.

Raul MATEUS PAULA has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of Congo.  He is currently serving as Head of the EU Delegation to Niger.

Meglena KUNEVA has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to the Council of Europe (Strasbourg). She is a former Minister of Education and Science, Deputy Prime Minister of Bulgaria for European Policies and a former EU Commissioner.

Carl HARTZELL has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Georgia. He is currently serving as Senior Foreign Policy Adviser in the Cabinet of the President of the European Council.

Diana ACCONCIA has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Ghana. She is currently serving as Head of Unit for Economic Partnership Agreements and relations with Africa, Caribbean and Pacific in DG TRADE, European Commission.

Josep COLL I CARBO has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of Guinea.  He is former Head of EU Delegations to Benin and Cape Verde.

Jobst VON KIRCHMANN has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Cote d’Ivoire. He is currently serving as Head of Unit Southern Africa and Indian Ocean in DG DEVCO, European Commission.

Patricia FLOR has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Japan. She is currently serving as Ambassador, Director General for International Order, UN and Arms Control in the German Foreign Office and is a former EU Special Representative for Central Asia.

Sven-Olov CARLSSON has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Kazakhstan.  He is currently serving as Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to Russia.

Eduard AUER has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Kyrgyzstan.  He is currently serving as Head of the EEAS Western Balkans Division.

Alan BUGEJA has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Libya.  He is former Ambassador, Representative of Malta to the European Union Political and Security Committee.

Giovanni DI GIROLAMO has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Madagascar. He is currently serving as Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to Nicaragua and Chargé d’Affaires a.i. to Panama.

Sandra PAESEN has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Malawi. She is currently serving as Head of the Political, Press and Information Section in the EU Delegation to Uganda.

Antonio SANCHEZ-BENEDITO has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Mozambique. He is currently serving as Head of the EU Delegation to Madagascar and Comoros.

Denisa-Elena IONETE has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Niger. She is currently serving as Head of the EU Delegation to Chad.

Irene MINGASSON has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Senegal. She is currently serving as Head of Unit for Regional Cooperation in the Southern Neighbourhood in DG NEAR, European Commission.

Sinead WALSH has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to South Sudan. She is currently serving as Deputy Director Multilateral Unit, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Ireland.

Marilyn JOSEFSON has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Tajikistan. She is currently serving as Deputy Ambassador of Sweden to the European Union Political and Security Committee.

Walter STEVENS has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to the United Nations (Geneva). He is currently serving as Permanent Chair of the European Union Political and Security Committee.

Stavros LAMBRINIDIS has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to the United States of America. He is currently serving as EU Special Representative for Human Rights.

Timo OLKKONEN has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Zimbabwe. He is currently serving as Ambassador of Finland to Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

 

EU foreign ministers to discuss broad agenda

The Foreign Affairs Council on July 16 will start with a discussion on current affairs, allowing ministers to review pressing issues on the international agenda.

This will include the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) following the JCPOA Joint Commission meeting on 6 July.

The High Representative and foreign ministers may also refer to the Western Balkan Summit taking place in London on 10 July.

Foreign ministers will exchange views on the Eastern Partnership. They will prepare for the Eastern Partnership ministerial meeting foreseen in October.

Ministers will discuss the implementation of the 20 deliverables for 2020. This framework aims to achieve stronger economy, governance, connectivity and society in the six Eastern partners: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.

The Council will discuss Libya and it will focus on the political process, in particular the upcoming elections. It will be the opportunity to reiterate the EU’s support to UN Secretary General’s Special Representative Ghassan Salamé.

Ministers may also touch upon the country’s economic situation.The discussion also takes place in the context of the follow-up to the European Council conclusions on migration.

EU lawmakers ‘impress’ with lucrative second jobs

Eurosceptic lawmakers in the European Parliament demonstrate the highest earnings from private activities and second jobs making many of them the highest-paid EU legislators, a report by watchdog Transparency International concludes.

Nearly one third of the European Parliament’s 751 members declare income from private activities that top up their monthly pre-tax salary of €8,484 (net €6,611) – annual gross salary of €101,808, Transparency International claims.

But the share of EU lawmakers with a second job was higher among eurosceptics, with more than half of the 35 members of the far-right Europe of Nations and Freedom Group (ENF) declaring incomes from non-parliamentary activities.

Next to their salary MEPs receive  ‘daily attendance allowance’ because MEPs are required to move between their constituencies and the European Parliament’s two main places of work – Brussels and Strasbourg, they can claim a subsistence allowance to cover expenses such as hotel rooms and/or flat rental and meals. This allowance is a payment of €306 per day, and is payable for each day that MEPs attend an official Parliament meeting or are present at an EU institutions  during an official working day for work purposes. No receipts are required as this is a lump-sum payment, made if we sign the official register or the attendance list at the official meeting.

Little interest in EU-Ukraine Summit amid Brexit crisis in UK

At the 20th summit between the European Union and Ukraine, leaders discussed next steps in the implementation of the Association Agreement and the EU’s support for Ukraine’s ambitious reform agenda.

Following the summit, Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, and Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine, issued the following statement, with the major accent on reform programme and anti-corruption measures:

“…We agreed on the importance of continuing and accelerating reform efforts, in particular in  the fight against corruption, which is a concern for Ukraine’s citizens and businesses. While noting the establishment of new legislative and institutional anti-corruption framework in Ukraine and the work already done in the fight against corruption, in particular by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU), we agreed on the need for continued efforts in the reform of the judiciary and prosecution to strengthen the rule of law in Ukraine..” – the text of the statement says.

“In this context, we welcomed the adoption of the law on the High Anti-Corruption Court as an important step forward in the fight against corruption. We looked forward to the swift adoption of the necessary amendments ensuring its jurisdiction on appeals of relevant first instance court decisions. We welcomed the intention to make the court fully operational by the end of the year…” – the statement continues.

Austrian Presidency challenges EU

Borders, migration, the MFF, and enlargement were key issues in a debate with Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz on the EU work programme for the rest of 2018.

During its six-month presidency in the Council, the Austrian government intends primarily to promote stronger protection of the EU’s external borders, in order to safeguard open internal borders in the long term, boost competitiveness, promote the development of “high-tech made in Europe” and pursue an active neighborhood policy, including integrating the Western Balkan states into the European Union, in the long term.

“We want to build bridges, in the interests of Europeans and of our European Union,” said Mr Kurz.

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the leaders of the major political groups urged Mr Kurz to pursue work on asylum reform, the euro area and the creation of a European monetary fund. Priority should also be given to discussing proposals for the EU’s new long-term financial framework in the Council, in order to reach an agreement with Parliament before the EU elections in May 2019, they added.

« Older Entries