Category Archives: News

MEPs demand China to stop arbitrary detentions

China must stop arbitrary detentions of religious and ethnics minorities, said Members of European Parliament in a resolution adopted during April Strasbourg Plenary.

Parliament is concerned about the increasingly repressive regime that many religious and ethnic minorities, such as Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Tibetans and Christians, are facing in China. The situation is rapidly deteriorating, placing additional restraints on their fundamental rights. It calls on the Chinese Government to put an end to arbitrary detentions, without any charge, trial or conviction for criminal offence, of members of the Uyghur and Kazakh minority and Tibetans.

“Continuing to negotiate with China over investment and trade issues while ignoring reports of human rights abuses, means the international community is failing to respect its own set of values”, Thomas Mann MEP said. (pictured above).

According to the United Nations estimates, China has put in place an extrajudicial detention programme, currently detaining “from tens of thousands to upwards of a million Uyghurs’” who are forced to undergo political “re-education”. MEPs are also concerned about the information that the Xinjiang camp system has expanded into other parts of China and, in this regard, urge China to close all detention centres and to release the detained persons immediately and unconditionally. The full resolution will be available here (18.04.2019).

The resolution on China was adopted by 505 votes in favour, 18 against, with 47 abstentions.

RSF: press freedom declines

2019 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) illustrates how hatred of journalists has degenerated into violence, contributing to an increase in fear. The number of countries regarded as safe, where journalists can work in complete security, continues to decline, while authoritarian regimes continue to tighten their grip on the media.

If the political debate slides surreptitiously or openly towards a civil war-style atmosphere, in which journalists are treated as scapegoats, then democracy is in great danger,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “Halting this cycle of fear and intimidation is a matter of the utmost urgency for all people of good will who value the freedoms acquired in the course of history.

Norway is ranked first in the 2019 Index for the third year running while Finland (up two places) has taken second place from the Netherlands (down one at 4th), where two reporters who cover organized crime have had to live under permanent police protection. An increase in cyber-harassment caused Sweden (third) to lose one place.

Russia  went down one at 149th, where the Kremlin has used arrests, arbitrary searches and draconian laws to step up the pressure on independent media and the Internet.

At the bottom of the Index, both Vietnam (176th) and China (177th) have fallen one place, Eritrea (up 1 at 178th) is third from last, despite making peace with its neighboring Ethiopia, and Turkmenistan (down two at 180th) is now last, replacing North Korea (up one at 179th).

A considerable blow to the freedom of press was added in France: during the manifestations of Yellow Vests reporters were confronted with police violence.

MEPs endorse stronger corps of border guards

Members of European Parliament have approved the proposal to assign to the EU Border and Coast Guard Agency a standing corps of 10,000 border guards by 2027 to strengthen the security in Mediterranean. 

Europe’s external borders have seen an unprecedented rise in the numbers of illegal migrants and refugees wishing to enter the EU in recent years. The plans,adopted by MEPs during April Plenary will see the EU agency equipped with a standing corps of 10,000 border guards by 2027. The standing corps will consist of staff members employed by the agency as well as staff seconded on a mandatory basis by EU countries. 

“You have to be fair with those who deserve protection, harsh with those prey on the vulnerable and firm with those who seek to break the rules” the rapporteur Roberta Metsola (pictured above), the rapporteur said.

The critics of the measure say the measure is superficial and does not address the problem of the illegal migration in a meaningful way. Often articulated promises to apply  different approach to people who have right for asylum, and those who don’t are largely exclusionary, because it is impossible to trace their identities in principle.

African population is largely following verbal traditions, and has no custom to issue documents at birth. According World Bank 500 million Africans have no birth certificate and have no information on date of their birth, including day, month, year. This phenomena became notorious in Europe, when young men were successfully claiming to be minors, but there were no legal mechanism to establish their age. Subsequently in absence of population register in SubSaharan Africa the promises to make difference between different categories of illegal migrants crossing Mediterranean, are totally illusory.

The opponents of Roberta Metsola insist that at present shape the Coast Guard Agency is designed to accommodate illegal migrants plans to enter Europe safely, however it does not serve the interest of the European nations, some of which, like Italy, were overwhelmed by the influx of migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa.

 

Mamikins MEP challenges Latvian PM

MEP Andrejs MAMIKINS (Latvia) criticises disparities between slogans and realities of respect of human rights in Latvia, namely the situation of 12% of stateless inhabitants of the country, who are excluded from political life. There are around Soviet 200 000 inhabitants of Latvia who voted independence, but nowadays are forgotten, and they will not vote in upcoming European elections in May 2019.

Socialist MEP also raised an issue of conflict of interest of Prime minister Arturs Krisjanis KARINS, who keeps his American citizenship while chairing Latvian government. The interview was taken in Strasbourg after the debate between Latvian Prime minister and Members of European Parliament on Future of Europe. The debate has concluded the discussion between heads of states and government and MEPs on future of the EU.

Mr Kariņš was the twentieth EU head of state or government to debate the future of Europe with MEPs, the last one in this parliamentary term.

Latvian PM shares vision of Future of Europe

The EU needs to strengthen the its core principles, Latvian Prime Ministers Krišjānis Kariņš said in the debate on the Future of Europe, on April 17 at European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg.

Kariņš suggested four main fields of EU action: completing the Single Market, controlling external borders, undertaking a smart transition towards clean energy and boosting security. “Don’t fight the populists, address the causes of people’s malcontent,Prime Minister said. With people worrying about their jobs, the EU needs to sharpen its main tool for job creation – the Single Market. Europe needs to foster “National Champions” by opening up the Single Market, not embarking on a Chinese way of protectionism. “We need to continue to tear down the barriers to the Single Market. This is what will create more jobs and more wealth in Europe,” he said, singling out digital industry and services as the two main fields of action.

To avoid re-erecting internal borders and allow for an unhindered Single Market, the EU needs to shore up its external borders, control migration and make sure people arriving in the EU accept European values. “It is extremely important to maintain our national identities. Arrivals need to adapt themselves,” Mr Kariņš said, suggesting that Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency need to be beefed up further.

“If we truly want to increase the share of renewable energy in our system, we need to open up markets and deregulate prices. Consumer choice is what can best drive energy transition,” the Latvian PM suggested. “By opening electricity markets to competition and market prices, we can greatly increase the uptake in renewable energy sources and increase energy efficiency.”

My country spends 2% of its GDP on the military. I believe we all should. But we also need to work on strengthening our information defence”, PM Kariņš said, adding that new legislation could help to hold social media platforms to account for allowing disinformation to spread .

The Prime minister had discussion with MEPs, many of whom knew him as a colleague in the European Parliament.  

However Prime minister has been also confronted with harsh criticism for disparity between his speech and realities.  Lativian MEP Andrejs MAMIKINS raised a range of problems, including double citizenship of Mr.Kariņš, who kept his American passport while being head of Latvian government. MEP Mamikins pointed to the chronic situation of conflict of interests.

Today was the prime Minister of Mr. Kariņas to participate in the ES future debate. The Prime minister spoke of the diversity in Europe and the need to fight dirty money. In return, I offer the prime_minister to look in the mirror”, MEP MAMIKINS said.

EU for aid to reconstruct Notre-Dame

The president of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani expressed his grief, and his support to France in dramatic moments of aftermath of fire, consuming greatest Paris monument.  He called Notre-Dame “first Cathedral” of his life, and added that his heart is broken. The emotional address of the president came during the morning Plenary session in the European parliament, Strasbourg.

The president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said in his Twitter micro blog, that he had been following the development of the situation “minute by minute”, underlining that Notre-Dame belongs to humanity. He referred to the fire as “horror”, sharing feelings of French nation.

The president of the European Council Donald Tusk stepped forward with an optimistic message of possibility of reconstruction of Notre Dame. Being a citizen of Polish city of Gdansk he ensured that it is possible, illustrating his opinion with the experience of his home town, which  suffered almost total destructed and resurrected.

UK government opposes II Brexit referendum

The idea of a second Brexit referendum is very likely to be voted again in Westminster although the government remains opposed to the second plebiscite on the same issue of leaving the European Union, the British finance minister said.

I remain optimistic that over the next couple of months we will get a deal done,” he told reporters in Washington where he is attending meetings at the International Monetary Fund.

Philip Hammond said he hoped parliament would break the Brexit deadlock by passing a deal by the end of June, potentially ending the calls for a new referendum, and there was a “good chance” of a breakthrough in talks with the opposition Labour Party.

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