Category Archives: EU

Sassoli removes national flags

To indignation of some Members of the European Parliament, the January Plenary session in Strasbourg started with removal of national flags from the desks in the Chamber.
The European Union is slipping further. The autocratic socialist Sassoli, who was appointed President of the European Parliament, has ordered to bailiffs to seize all national flags on the banks of parliamentarians. Continuation follows!”wrote Gerolf Annemans, MEP from Vlaams Belang party.

Nigel Farage leading the UK Brexit party expressed his content to leave the bloc.

Puigdemont attends Strasbourg Plenary

In spite of the arrest warrant issued in Madrid, on January 13 Catalan independence leader Carles Puigdemont attended Plenary session in Strasbourg in his right of a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), due to immunity guaranteed by the status.
The former Catalan president has been elected to the European Parliament upon the political programme aiming at independence referendum for Catalonia, legally exiting the Kingdom of Spain.

Upon his arrival to the court of the Europarliament, Puigdemont called for an immediate release from a Spanish jail of Oriol Junqueras, the fellow Catalan MEP

“Mr.Junqueras should be here with us. He has the same rights,” Puigdemont said, backed by the group with posters “Free Junqueras.”

Puigdemont arrived together with the other Catalan MEP, Toni Comín.
Both politicians are wanted in Spain for their role for the 2017 independence referendum, considered ‘illegal” by Madrid. They have narrowly escaped the arrest and persecution in Spain, by fleeing to Belgium, where they continued their activities, struggling for the interests of their electorate.

In a statement made in four languages Catalan, Spanish, French and English, Puigdemont underlined the problem of Catalan protracted argument with Madrid is not a regional, but “European affaire“, because in spite of being the EU member state, Spain does not respect fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens. He also mentioned the extraordinary resources behind the attempts of Spain to prevent him to enter his MEP office. Puigdemont added that he feels no fear in France, because his MEP immunity is respected there. He expressed hope that Spanish judiciary will also respect the decision of the European Court of Justice ruling on 19 December 2019, clearly stating that Junqueras had parliamentary immunity as he was an elected MEP and should have been released from prison.

Junqueras is currently serving a 13-year prison sentence after being convicted in Madrid of sedition and misuse of funds by Spain Supreme Court for his engagement in organising the October 2017 referendum, considered “illegal“. Furthermore he was accused for the subsequent unilateral declaration of independence passed in the Catalan parliament. At the time of the events in 2017, Junqueras was deputy regional president, while Puigdemont was president and Toni Comín a minister in the regional government.

Sassoli cancels Catalan MEP mandate

The European Parliament announced that jailed Catalan politician Oriol Junqueras is no longer Member, ending the protracted argument led by his supporters on his right for immunity, The move has deprived his electorate of hope he could be freed from prison cell due to his MEP status.

Junqueras was elected to the European parliament in May this year, but his term “ended with effect from January 3, 2020” after a decision by the Spanish electoral commission backed by a top court, EP speaker David Sassoli said.

The jailed pro-independence leader had just written to Sassoli (pictured) on December 10 to ask him to confirm his status as an MEP and thus to pressure Spain to keep him out of prison and allow him to take up his seat.

The decision came days after congrtulating Pedro Sanchez, the Spain Socialist Prime Minister, with the election victory.

Congratulations to President Sanchez Castejon for his re-election and transfer my best wishes to his new Government. Spain is a key partner in the EU, we will work together in this new stage and continue our close collaboration for a more just, green and social Europe Sassoli wrote on his Twitter micro blog to member of his European Socialist political family.

AMENDED:

Statement by the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli:

Following the judgement of the Court of Justice of the European Union in case C-502/19, Junqueras Vies, of 19 December 2019, the mandates of Mr Junqueras i Vies, Mr Puigdemont i Casamajó and Mr Comín i Oliveres started on 2 July 2019 on the basis of the official declaration of the results of the elections by the competent Spanish authorities.

“However, taking into account the decision of the Junta Electoral Central of 3 January 2020 and pursuant to the decision of the Tribunal Supremo of 9 January 2020, the mandate of Mr Junqueras i Vies terminated with effect on 3 January 2020.

“It follows from the case-law of the Court of Justice that the European Parliament is obliged to take note without delay of the final decisions of the competent judicial authorities of the Member States.

“Therefore, I will announce in plenary on Monday 13 January 2020 the start of mandate of the three Members on 2 July 2020 and the termination of the mandate of Mr Junqueras i Vies on 3 January 2020. I will ask the competent Spanish authorities to quickly notify to Parliament the name of the new Member.”

EU-Belarus visa facilitation

Today, the European Union and Belarus signed a visa facilitation agreement and a readmission agreement. The agreements represent an important step in EU-Belarus relations and pave the way for improved mobility of citizens, contributing to closer links between the EU and its Eastern Partnership neighbours. At today’s signing ceremony, Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, together with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of Croatia as Council Presidency, Davor Božinović, signed for the EU, while Belarus was represented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vladimir Makei.

“These agreements between the European Union and Belarus are a significant step forward in our cooperation. They will improve the mobility of our citizens in a well-managed and secure environment and help build closer links between the European Union and Belarus. From the European side, we will now move ahead rapidly with ratification procedures, so citizens can feel the benefits as soon as possible” Commissioner Johansson said.

The visa facilitation agreement will make it easier for Belarusian citizens to acquire short-term visas to come to the European Union. Belarus has unilaterally introduced measures to facilitate short-term visa-free travel for EU citizens arriving in Minsk. The main objective of the EU-Belarus readmission agreement is to establish, on the basis of reciprocity, procedures for the safe and orderly return of persons who reside irregularly in the EU or Belarus, in full respect of their rights under international law.

Catalan MEPs join Europarl

“Catalan independence leaders Carles Puigdemont and Antoni Comin received temporary accreditation budges or Members of the European Parliament on December 20, a day after the European Union’s high court issued a ruling in their favour.

Till present they were unable to collect their credentials because of the risks of being arrested upon Spain arrest warrant, both politicians, who live in self-imposed exile in Belgium, should get full accreditation in January at the earliest, the president of the European Parliament said.

The ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) also clarified that imprisoned separatist leader Oriol Junqueras was entitled to immunity as an MEP after being elected in May.

Mr Puigdemont and Mr Comin also won European Parliament seats in May but the arrest warrants, issued by Spanish prosecution prevented them from taking their oaths and collecting their MEP credentials.

We are at the place where we should have been six months ago,” Mr Puigdemont told reporters inside the European Parliament, where he and Comin collected their badges.

The former Catalan government president said he is looking forward to taking part in the next parliamentary session in Strasbourg. He also criticised the Spanish judiciary, which he underlined was not independent and could not guarantee the defence of their rights.

Puigdemont faces an arrest warrant from Spain for his role in the 2017 failed independence drive in Catalonia. The warrant is being analysed by Belgium.

#EUCO: Charles Michel chairs EU Summit

“I look forward to welcoming you to the December European Council – my first European Council meeting as President” reads the invitation letter of the EU Council President Charles Michel.(Image above: archive).

“My intention is to build on the impressive work of my two predecessors and create a strong relationship with you, based on trust, confidence and transparency.

Together, we will provide the strategic guidance that Europe needs to tackle the many challenges identified in the Strategic Agenda adopted in June 2019.

Concerning this week’s European Council, the meeting will start at 15:00 on 12 December with an exchange of views with the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli. This will be followed by our first working session, in which we will begin by adopting our conclusions on the Conference on the Future of Europe.

We will then move to the vital challenge of Climate Change. I want us to agree on the commitment for the EU to become climate-neutral by 2050. This would be a major signal from the European Council that the EU will take a global leadership role on this crucial issue. It is my conviction that the transition to climate neutrality will create new opportunities for economic growth and development.

However, we must also recognise that it will require efforts from all Member States. We will put in place a framework and the necessary resources to chart a fair and balanced path towards our objective. This means taking into account the different national realities and starting points.

Over dinner, we will discuss the Multiannual Financial Framework. This is another key area for the future of our Union. We must enter into a new stage of our work and engage seriously. There is no point repeating known positions and maximalist requests; concessions will be needed from all sides. We will work to identify the key elements of a final agreement.

The first day will conclude with a debrief on the implementation of the Minsk Agreement along with short conclusions on WTO, Africa and Turkey.

On Friday, our meeting will begin at 10:00 in the presence of European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde and Eurogroup President Mario Centeno. After an exchange of views on the economic situation, we will take stock of the progress made by the Eurogroup on strengthening the Economic and Monetary Union and give some indications on future work. A statement will be adopted to that end.

The proceedings will conclude in the Article 50 configuration.  We are ready for the next steps and reaffirm our desire for as close a relationship as possible with the United Kingdom. We will adopt short conclusions on Brexit.

I look forward to working closely with all of you on these issues, and many others, to make Europe bolder, more prosperous, and more self-confident.”

EU updates Arctic policy

“While recognising the primary responsibility of the Arctic states for the development of the region, the Council notes that many of the issues affecting the region are of a global nature and are more effectively addressed through regional or multilateral cooperation. It notes that the EU should continue to make a significant contribution in both regional and multilateral fora which deal with arctic matters.”

“In light of the new challenges and opportunities across the Arctic and growing international interest, the Council invites the High Representative and the Commission to continue to actively implement EU Arctic policy, to initiate a process in order to update this policy and to continue to report to the Council regularly.”

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