Tag Archives: Didier Reynders

MEPs refuse “golden” passports scheme

Brussels 22.10.2020 EU citizenship cannot be traded as a commodity, according to a majority of speakers, who want to end the “golden passports” schemes currently in place in some member states.

In a plenary debate with Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders, MEPs stressed the inherent risks that these programmes give rise to, namely money laundering, tax evasion and corruption. They insisted that Europe must not have “a fast-track entrance for criminals”.

MEPs underlined that granting EU citizenship to third-country nationals without proper checks and transparency has negative consequences in other member states, eroding mutual trust and undermining common values.

Several speakers referred to the recent scandal in Cyprus, where high-ranking officials – including the Speaker of the national parliament – were secretly recorded offering to assist a fictional Chinese executive with a criminal record in getting a Cypriot passport through the national “citizenship by investment” scheme. They also acknowledge the Commission’s decision to open infringement procedures against Cyprus and Malta, though some complained that it has taken too long to act.

Some MEPs noted that the share of revenues from these programmes is significant for countries such as Cyprus, whilst many argued that EU values and rights should not be for sale.

Cyprus, Malta, and Bulgaria are the three EU countries where it is possible to get citizenship in exchange for an investment, the so-called “golden passports”. As many as 19 EU countries operate “residence by investment” programmes, known as “golden visas”.

In January 2019, the European Commission established a group of experts with representatives from all EU member states to develop common standards and guidelines in this area. After four meetings last year, the group has so far not met in 2020.

Hungary dabs HR Report “absurd”

Brussels 30.09.2020 Immediately after the Rule of Law presentation by the European Commission, the Hungarian government issued a communication, providing an assessment of the document, viewing it as highly subjective, and politically motivated tool serving other purposes than declared.

Commission’s Rule of Law Report is not only fallacious, but absurd. It cannot serve as a basis for any further discussion on rule of law in the European Union. The concept and methodology of the Commission’s Rule of Law Report are unfit for purpose, its sources are unbalanced and its content is unfounded.

The Commission’s Rule of Law Report makes no reference to objective benchmarks that apply equally to all Member States.

The choice of sources in the report is biased and non-transparent. It is unacceptable for the Commission’s Rule of Law Report to be written by organisations forming part of a centrally financed international network engaged in a coordinated political campaign against Hungary. The Hungarian chapter makes reference to twelve “civil society organisations”, eleven of which have in recent years received financial support from the Open Society Foundations linked to Mr. Soros.

Hungary is one of the few Member States where genuine pluralism prevails in the media, in ideological debates, and in the public sphere in general. Unlike the Western European media landscape, which is overwhelmingly dominated by leftist and liberal outlets, in Hungary the situation is more balanced, with conservative and Christian Democratic views also receiving meaningful coverage in the public sphere.

The Fundamental Law of Hungary and the country’s state structure are based on the rule of law. The protection of Hungary’s constitutional identity is the obligation of every organ of the state.

Objective and impartial analysis of all reliable information concerning the situation in Hungary can only lead to the conclusion that the fundamental values of the European Union are being respected, and that the rule of law is being observed”.

The European Commission has today published the first EU-wide report on the rule of law. Today’s report includes input from every Member State and covers both positive and negative developments across the EU. It shows that many Member States have high rule of law standards, but important challenges to the rule of law exist in the EU. It also reflects relevant developments stemming from the emergency measures taken by Member States due to the coronavirus crisis. The report covers four main pillars with a strong bearing on the rule of law: national justice systems, anti-corruption frameworks, media pluralism and freedom, and other institutional issues related to the checks and balances essential to an effective system of democratic governance.

Review: RULE Of LAW culture in EU

Brussels, 30 September 2020 The European Commission has today published the first EU-wide report on the rule of law. Today’s report includes input from every Member State and covers both positive and negative developments across the EU. It shows that many Member States have high rule of law standards, but important challenges to the rule of law exist in the EU. It also reflects relevant developments stemming from the emergency measures taken by Member States due to the coronavirus crisis. The report covers four main pillars with a strong bearing on the rule of law: national justice systems, anti-corruption frameworks, media pluralism and freedom, and other institutional issues related to the checks and balances essential to an effective system of democratic governance.

The aim of the new Rule of Law Report is to enlarge the existing EU toolbox with a new preventive tool and kick-start an inclusive debate and rule of law culture across the EU. It should help all Member States examine how challenges can be addressed, how they can learn from each other’s experiences, and show how the rule of law can be further strengthened in full respect of national constitutional systems and traditions.

“The rule of law and our shared values are the foundation of our societies. They are part of our common identity as Europeans. The rule of law protects people from the rule of the powerful. While we have very high rule of law standards in the EU, we also have various challenges. The European Commission will continue working with the national authorities to find solutions, to guarantee people’s everyday rights and freedoms,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

“Today we are filling an important gap in our rule of law toolbox. The new report for the first time looks at all Member States equally to identify rule of law trends and help to prevent serious problems from arising. Each citizen deserves to have access to independent judges, to benefit from free and pluralistic media and to trust that their fundamental rights are respected. Only then, can we call ourselves a true Union of democracies,” Vice-President for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová, said.

“The new Rule of Law Report is the start of an open and regular dialogue with every Member State, a way in which we can share good practices and pre-empt challenges before they become entrenched. The goal is to instil a real rule of law culture across the European Union, and trigger a genuine debate at national and EU level,” Commissioner for Justice and Consumers, Didier Reynders, said.

Belgium Reynders not “aware” of inquiry

Belgium Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders said that he was not aware of a preliminary judicial inquiry against him following allegations of corruption and money laundering.

After a preliminary investigation, the public prosecutor must decide whether there are sufficient indications against Reynders whether or not to forward the file to the Brussels public prosecutor general, because Reynders is a Minister.

De Tijd newspaper was able to view the official report drawn up by the police about the interrogation of the former State Security agent. It states that from 1 March 2007 to 1 March 2018 the man worked for State Security, especially in the economic section. In this position, the former secret agent claims to have become acquainted with various corruption and money laundering practices through informants and research work.

In his interrogation, the ex-secret agent refers, among other things, to a series of government contracts and government purchases, such as the construction of the Belgian Embassy in Kinshasa, which, according to him, involved bribes. Among other things, he made statements about bribery by arms dealers and a Congolese election candidate.

The secret agent’s accusations were also directed against a long-standing confidant of Reynders, who was also an adviser to his cabinet.

Perhaps this is again a montage of the same evil man who keeps trying to damage,” reacts John Hendrickx, Reynders spokesperson. This month Reynders has been nominated as a EU Commissioner by Ursula von der Leyen. Along with the other candidates he is awaiting the approval of the European Parliament.

 

 

#EBS2018: EU preserving multilateralism

The EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini participated in a #EBS2018 debate on the changing role of the European Union at global stage, and challenges to bloc’s defence of a multilateral rules based international order. Mogerini took floor at the European Business Summit in Brussels #EBS2018 together with her Belgium counterpart Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs of Belgium Didier Reynders. “The EU awareness of its own role has changed… in the past couple of years”, – Mogherini said. The EU crucial influence on maintaining multilateralism, liberal democracies, and open societies are the challenges the bloc faces today, she continued.

Mogherini gave special attention to the European values as a binding element for the member-states, describing the organisation as a “family” of nations, which came to “rule together”. “The EU is not only about budget but it is a community of citizens”, the diplomat added.

Pacta servanda sunt. It’s a test on EU, that we can take our own decisions, exercise sovereignty, protect our interests. And show strength. We have challenges, but we can preserve the deal if the Iranians stay in and respect it as they are doing” – Mogherini said,  reflecting upon the situation with the nuclear deal #JCPOA.

Belgium Minister Didier Reynders confirmed that his country will continue contributing in finding multilateral solutions to the big challenges of our times alongside and in support of the European Union, namely in the issues of foreign policy, defence and migration.  He also put forward his proposals on strengthening the rule of law mechanism in the EU – “internal credibility enhances EUs external credibility”, the diplomat said, underlining that the internal strength of the bloc inevitably translates into its foreign policy potential.

 

 

Lavrov “shocked” by MSM Tump Jr coverage

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a news conference following talks with his Belgian counterpart Didier Reynders that he was shocked to hear about the accusations against Russian defense attorney Natalya Veselnitskaya and Donald Trump Jr, the US president’s eldest son under the pretext of a communication between them.

“I was amazed when I found out that Trump’s son is being accused of communicating with her,” the minister said. “For me this is mind-boggling, if truth to be told. When somebody talks to an attorney, how can this pose a threat to anyone?”

Lavrov underlined that he had received the news about the meeting from the main stream media (MSM). “This morning, when I turned on the TV, all the Western TV channels were discussing that,” he said. “It is amazing how serious people can blow things out of proportion.” The diplomat lamented the superficial approach of the MSM to the subject.

“We have not seen a single credible  fact,” Lavrov regretted. “If journalists are ready to work only on the basis of unsubstantiated statements and are not prepared to take into account the fact that there is no credible evidence, then I can’t do anything. Thus, this is the sort of profession, which relies on such approaches given today’s environment.”