Category Archives: News

Europarliament: Roberta Metsola elected president

Strasbourg 18.01.2022 Maltese centre-right politician Roberta Metsola succeed the Italian David Sassoli in Strasbourg and Brussels, at the head of the European Parliament. Several candidates have been promoted to replace the Italian Socialist David Sassoli, who died on January 11 from the complications of myeloma cancer at the age of 65 and whose mandate was due to end this month.

The election of the President of the European Parliament has taken place by secret ballot on Tuesday 18 January, in plenary session in Strasbourg. Roberta Metsola MEP from the party assembling European center-right, became, at 42, the youngest president of this European institution. Although it is a huge leap forward for equity agenda, there are also a number of MUST KNOW facts to understand Roberta Metsola vertical ascendance:

As a politician she has spent her entire career in the European institutions.
Roberta Metsola, born in 1979, graduated from the University of Malta and the College of Europe in Bruges (Belgium). A professional lawyer, she is “a pure product of the Brussels bubble”, sums up the Politico site. Speaking fluent Italian and Finnish, the Maltese worked from 2004 to 2012 in the Permanent Representation of Malta to the European Union in Brussels. Roberta Metsola headed the Justice and Home Affairs unit there, after having held the position of legal and judicial cooperation attaché.

The Maltese specialist in European law and policy subsequently collaborated with Baroness Catherine Ashton, First ever High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, as legal adviser, specifies the European People’s Party in her biography.

Appointed MEP in 2013, replacing Simon Busuttil, Roberta Metsola thus became one of the first Maltese representatives sitting in Strasbourg. A member of the Maltese Nationalist Party, she was re-elected in the 2014 European elections with a “record number of votes for a woman”, underlines the Europoean think tank Bruegel.

As an MEP, Roberta Metsola is a member of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, where she has been also a coordinator for the EPP, continues Bruegel. The MEP also participated in the special committee of the Parliament devoted to the fight against terrorism, as well as in the delegation for relations with the USA. The MEP also took part in the European Parliament’s commission of inquiry into the Panama Papers.

According to Politico, Roberta Metsola is considered, within the Parliament, as one of the main MEPs focused on migration issues. She was notably the co-author of the Parliament’s report on Europe’s response to the refugee crisis, which effected her native Malta.

The candidacy of Roberta Metsola, mother of four, arouses controversy, because the MEP promotes conservative pro-life policy, fiercely opposing abortion. As French newspaper Liberation underlines, the elected official continues to disapprove of resolutions defending the right to abortion and contraception. Last September, Metsola also abstained during a vote calling on the European Commission to criminalise violence against women, points out French newspaper Le Monde.

In Malta, one of a few societies in Europe where abortion remains illegal in all circumstances. The candidate for the presidency of the European Parliament has however promised not to defend her openly anti-abortion positions at the head of the institution, notes Liberation. And as Euractiv media has underlined that, the EU has no competence in matters of abortion.

Malta is the only EU member state to strictly prohibit abortion entirely while Poland recently tightened the rules further shifting to conservative view by making it illegal to terminate a pregnancy even in cases of severe and irreversible fetal defects. Abortion is also illegal in Andorra and San Marino — although residents in the latter overwhelmingly backed a proposal to make abortion legal in a referendum over the weekend. Residents in Gibraltar similarly voted to ease abortion rules earlier this year. The European list is concluded by Lichtenstein and Monaco also have restrictive abortion rules.

Roberta Metsola “is consensual, except with the subject that makes us talk about her”, indicated a spokesperson for the Renew Europe (Liberals) parliamentary group with Elle magazine. As French newpaper Le Monde notes, the MP has regularly defended the rights of LGBTQ+ people. “As a woman, I know how important it is to have allies in your struggles. (…) Europe is a zone of freedom,” she said in December, Elle reports.

According to the Green MEP Manon Aubry, interviewed by the magazine, the Maltese candidate “has always defended a fairly strict sanitary cordon with the far right”. The elected also had more moderate positions than others, on the right, on the reception of refugees, recalls Le Monde. Metsola also called for the resignation of Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in the wake of the death of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, murdered in October 2017.

Europarl: four MEPs competing for presidency

Strasbourt 18.01.2021 Members of the European Parliament are focused on four candidates in election process for the post of the EU president.(Image: illustration)

Roberta Metsola, Alice Kuhnke, Kosma Złotowski and Sira Rego are running for the post of Parliament’s President for the second half of the 2019-2024 term.

Parliament’s Vice-President Pedro Silva Pereira (S&D, PT) announced the four names to plenary on Monday evening, once the deadline for the first round of voting had closed.

Roberta Metsola (EPP, MT), Alice Kuhnke (Greens/EFA, SE), Kosma Złotowski (ECR, PL) and Sira Rego (The Left, ES) will make short presentations on Tuesday at 9.00, immediately before the first voting round, which will take place between 9.30 and 10.15, with the result announced at 11.00.

Candidacies are put forward by a political group or by a group of MEPs reaching the so-called low threshold, i.e. 1/20th of MEPs, or 36 out of 705 Members when all seats are filled. Candidates can be proposed, or withdrawn, ahead of each voting round.

To be elected, they will need to win an absolute majority of valid votes, cast by secret vote, i.e. 50% plus one. Due to the pandemic, the vote will be held remotely. If after three rounds, no candidate has been successful, the two candidates with the most votes in the third round will proceed to a fourth and final vote, in which the candidate with the most votes is elected.

The result of a potential second round of voting would be announced to plenary at 13.00; at 16.30 if there is a third round, and at 18.30 if a fourth one were necessary. Follow @EuroparlPress in Twitter for updates.

The newly-elected President may then deliver an opening address before presiding over the election of the remaining members of Parliament’s Bureau (Tuesday and Wednesday).

The President enjoys a broad range of executive and representative powers set out in Rule 22. Other than the duties expressly set out there, the President’s authority extends to “all powers that are necessary to preside over the proceedings of Parliament and to ensure that they are properly conducted”. The process for the election of the EP President is set out in Rules 14 to 16 of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure.

Sassoli leukaemia cover-up

Strasbourg 17.012022 OPINION Anna van Densky Like his fellow French Socialist politician President Mitterrand, the European Parliament president Italian Socialist David Sassoli concealed the truth about his state of health, orchestrating leukemia cover-up. Only after the necrology was published the European citizens discovered that he suffered from myeloma, a form of blood cancer, and had undergone a bone marrow transplant. The deteriorating state of health, caused by the cancer, led to his transfer to Aviano medical centre, where he was a patient previously. It was decided on 26 December when Sassoli condition worsened after one last relapse on Christmas days. The was followed by the legionella pneumonia,late Sassoli had announced about in a video on November 9, 2021, also talking about a hospitalisation in Brussels, however he did not reveal the major disease. Meanwhile his staff was engaging in multiplying various statement, continuing creating an illusion of working at distance.
(Image: archive, illustration).

The Aviano institute explained the reasons for David Sassoli’s death with a minimalistic statement:
A serious complication due to a “dysfunction of the immune system”. Nothing else, no detail in respect of the confidentiality maintained by President Sassoli and his family as if he is a regular citizen! The cover-up of the terminal stage of blood cancer, creation image of distance-work, breaks the promise of transparency of the EU instituions, namely the European Parliament in times when the erosion of trust of citizens to their governments is at lowest, due to little success in handling of pandemic. The memory of Sassoli will be tarnished, including the image of the Socialists.

Aviano is a structure of excellence at an international level and follows patients with neoplasms of the haematopoietic system, acute and chronic leukemia and other diseases of this type. The Aviano institute is a very modern facility, opened in 1984 and recognized since 1990 as a scientific hospitalization and treatment institute by the Ministry of Health.

“Presidents have been always worried about showing bad health,” CNN presidential historian Douglas Brinkley told CNN anchor Don Lemon on Friday night. “Woodrow Wilson had a stroke, they covered it up. FDR covered up a lot of health things,” Brinkley said.
However Americans nowadays have made it clear they require to know the truth about the health of their commander in chief, he added.
“Since the ’80s, we’ve been very vigilant on medical records, tell us what’s going on, we demand to know, there’s no more … Woodrow Wilson-era cover-ups allowed,” Brinkley said. “We, as a public, are demanding more.”
There were plenty of example in history of such a cover up.
Ronald Reagan: Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s after his presidency. Whether it affected his ability to function while in office is a subject of debate. Today, however, medical science knows Alzheimer’s begins in the brain 20 to 30 years before symptoms begin.
“Can you rely on the politician’s physician to spot these types of issues? Some illnesses are only known by the symptoms the patient complains of,” Post said. “The softening of mental processes that begin in early Alzheimer’s, for example, may only show up if the politician complains about it.”

The hidden cancer of François Mitterrand has been the subject of a French political scandal having been made public in the middle of François Mitterrand’s second term. It was revealed in 1992 following a surgical operation that the President of the Republic had cancer. In the months that followed, rumours swelled and it was revealed that François Mitterrand had been suffering from cancer since 1981.

EP: Tribute to late president Sassoli

Strasbourg 17.01.2022 Today evening, the European Parliament will pay tribute to late President David Sassoli, who passed away earlier this month, in a ceremony in Strasbourg. Council President Charles Michel,
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, French President Emmanuel Macron and former Italian Prime Minister and former MEP Enrico Letta, as well as political group leaders, will speak during the ceremony. Sassoli had been a member of the Parliament since 2009 and was elected President in July 2019 for the first half of this legislature.

In Rome, President David Sassoli lied in state on Thursday 13 January from 10.00 to 18.00 in Sala della Protomoteca of the Campidoglio. The funeral service took place on Friday 14 January at 12.00 in the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli.

EU welcomes Serbia reforms

Brusssels 14.01.2022 “France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union welcome Serbia’s January 16 national referendum on constitutional changes as a key step to strengthen the independence of the judiciary and to enhance the transparency and effectiveness of the country’s rule of law institutions. We believe that these reforms are a step forward towards Serbia’s alignment with European standards and will support Serbia’s EU accession process”, reads the Joint Statement by Embassies of France, Germany, Italy, UK, USA and the Delegation of EU on the Referendum. (Image: Belgrade,Serbia).

“We have encouraged all Serbian citizens to take part in the referendum and believe it important for eligible voters to be able to vote in elections and referenda. We note with regret that the Kosovo government has not allowed the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to collect ballots of eligible voters living in Kosovo for the upcoming referendum in accordance with past practice. We call on the Kosovo government to allow Serbs in Kosovo to exercise their right to vote in elections and electoral processes in accordance with this established practice”.

“We call upon the governments of Kosovo and Serbia to refrain from actions and rhetoric that increase tensions and to engage constructively in the EU-facilitated Dialogue. It is important that both governments achieve progress towards a comprehensive agreement that unlocks the EU perspective and increases regional stability”.

NATO-Russia Council step forward

Brussels 12.01.2022 The NATO-Russia Council, which brings together all 30 NATO Allies and Russia, met in Brussels on Wednesday (12 January 2022) to discuss the situation in and around Ukraine, and the implications for European security.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who chaired the meeting, said: “This was not an easy discussion, but that is exactly why it was so important.” He noted that NATO Allies are ready to meet again with Russia to discuss a number of topics in greater detail and to put concrete proposals on the table. “There are opportunities for constructive engagement which should not be missed, in the interest of security in Europe,” he said.

“We had a frank and open discussion on a wide range of issues, of course, focusing on the tensions, the difficulties in and around Ukraine. And Allies also of course again expressed a deep concern about the continued Russian military build-up along the borders of Ukraine. And combined with threatening rhetoric from the Russian side, and a Russian track record of willingness to use force against neighbours, of course, Allies are concerned. And we are clear-eyed about the challenges we face when we now sit down with Russia and try to find a political way forward. But the meeting was useful. And I think that, especially when tensions are high, it is even more important that we meet, and that all Allies and Russia meet and sit around the same table and address the issues that are of concern.

“On membership and the NATO’s open door all Allies are united on the core principle that each and every nation has the right to choose his own path. This is enshrined in a lot of fundamental documents, many different documents, which are the foundation for European security. And, therefore, also Allies totally agree that it is only Ukraine and 30 Allies that can decide when Ukraine is ready to become a NATO member. No one else has anything to say and of course Russia doesn’t have a veto on whether Ukraine can become a NATO member. Allies are ready to support Ukraine on this path towards membership, helping to implement reforms, modernise the armed forces to meet NATO standards. And then, at the end of the day, it has to be NATO Allies and Ukraine that decides on membership”.

The council meeting marked the second stage in a series of talks between Russia and the West on Russia’s proposals for European security. The first stage was the talks between Russia and the US that took place in Geneva on January 10, and the third stage will happen as an OSCE meeting in Vienna on January 13.

The Russian delegation in Brussels is led by Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko and Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin. NATO is represented by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, and representatives of 30 NATO member states in Brussels.

The negotiations between Moscow and Washington dedicated to Russia’s proposed security guarantees concluded on January 10 in Geneva. On January 12, Russia-NATO discussed the security issue in Europe, as well as Russian drafts on security assurances at a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council in Brussels, and on January 13 at the Vienna session of the OSCE Permanent Council.

On December 17, 2021, the Russian Foreign Ministry published the draft agreements between Russia and the US on security guarantees and the measures of ensuring the security of Russia and NATO member states.

EP president David Sassoli passed away

Brussels 11.01.2022 The European Parliament president David Sassoli,65, passed away at 1.15 am on 11 January at the Oncology Referral Center in Aviano(PN), Italy, where he was hospitalised since December 26, 2021, the press-person Roberto Cuillo has informed on Twitter micro blog. The date and place of the funeral will be communicated in the next few hours, he added.

During September Pleanry session president Sassoli was taken to hospital in Strasbourg where he was treated for a severe case of pneumonia caused by legionella. He later told his followers on social media that he had suffered a relapse while recuperating in Italy.

Mr Sassoli left a three-decade career in journalism and became a member of the European Parliament (MEP) in 2009. He was a member of the centre-left Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, the second-biggest grouping in the Parliament.

A number of people have paid tribute to president Sassoli.

European Council President Charles Michel described David Sassoli as a “sincere and passionate European”.

“We already miss his human warmth, his generosity, his friendliness and his smile,” he wrote on his Twitter micro blog.

EP: David Sassoli hospitalised

Brusssels 10.01.2022 European Parliament President David Sassoli has been hospitalised in Italy since December 26 due to a “serious complication” related to his immune system, his office said on Monday, December 10.

David Sassoli, an Italian centre-left politician, was previously treated in a French hospital in Strasbourg for pneumonia in September, when he fall ill abruptly during the Parliament Plenary session.

“This hospitalisation (in Italy) was necessary because of a serious complication due to a dysfunction of the immune system,” his office said in a statement.

Sassoli, 65, has been president of the European Parliament since 2019. His term ends in January 2022 and he is not expected to seek a second mandate.

Many dignitaries sent to Sassoli wishes for recovery, including the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell.

Kazakhstan: Borrell calls for restraint

Brussels 09.01.2022 “We are concerned by the violence which has erupted, following peaceful protests, in Kazakhstan, which is an important partner for the European Union, with an Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement in force, and for the stability of the region” reads the Declaration by High Representative Josep Borrell on behalf of the European Union on the situation Kazakhstan.(Image: social media).

“We deeply regret the loss of life and strongly condemn the widespread acts of violence. It is important to prevent further escalations, to avoid any incitement to violence, to exercise restraint at all times, and to avoid exploitation of unrest for other purposes.

“We stand ready to provide assistance for a peaceful resolution of the crisis. Outside military support should respect the sovereignty and independence of Kazakhstan as well as the fundamental rights of all citizens.

“We urge Kazakhstan’s authorities to uphold their commitments at this challenging time, including respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of their citizens, particularly, the freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, and of the media”.

More than 160 people were killed and 5,000 arrested in Kazakhstan after the riots that shook Central Asia’s largest country over the past week. The interior ministry, quoted on Sunday, January 9, by local media, said initial estimates put property damage at about 175 million euros ($198m) after the wide-spread violence.

Leyen supports Europe defence Union

Brussels 07.01.2022 “…We agree that there is a need for a genuine Defence Union” the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said, while attending event the EU event in Paris, hosted by President Macron.
“A Defence Union that prepares us for new threats in the future. For example, the next hybrid attack, no matter where it comes from. So let us agree on our priorities using our Strategic Compass, which is a kind of White Paper on defence. I am delighted that the French Presidency has committed itself to this issue. I have high expectations of the discussion on this subject at the March Summit. I believe it is high time for the Europe of defence to move up a gear”.

The top EU executive has also reminded about the strain relations with Russia: “…here are considerable tensions at our doorstep, as shown by Russia’s military pressure on Ukraine and its intimidation of Moldova. I am delighted, therefore, that a country with the political weight and experience of France is taking on the Council Presidency at such a delicate time. France’s voice resonates far and wide. And Europe is dear to France”.

The statement was made in the context of the inauguration of the rotating EU presidency of France from January to July 2022. Starting from 1 January, France will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for six months. It will play a central role, together with its European partners, to move forward on negotiations to ensure a more sovereign Europe, a new European growth model, and a human-centred Europe.

In particular, France will be responsible for organising the meetings of the Council of the European Union, fostering cooperation between the Member States and handling the Council’s relations with the European Commission and Parliament. The French Presidency of the Council of the EU will contribute to reaching compromises and decisions that serve European citizens in several key fields such as the ecological and digital transition, protection and adaptation of our social model, better protection of borders and reaffirming the importance of European values.

In order to address these priorities, a number of events and informal meetings are being organised by the French Presidency throughout France, as well as in Brussels and Luxembourg where formal Council meetings are held.

« Older Entries