Tag Archives: EP

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.

Lega challenges EU

Nationalist, Eurosceptic parties plan to join forces following next month’s European Union parliamentary elections (#EUElections2019),  attempting to create a new alliance to challenge the EU traditional politicize mindset.

The move shows growing confidence among  sovereignist parties that for the first time since the EU was formed 60 years ago they can win enough seats in European parliament to put forward their agenda.

We want to reform the European Union and the European parliament, without destroying them. We want to bring radical change,” said Joerg Meuthen, the chairman of the eurosceptic Alternative for Germany party (AfD).

Mr.Meuthen said to reporters the EU parliamentary bloc would be called the European Alliance for People and Nations. It will initially involve at least 10 parties drawn from the three groups that currently house various nationalist forces.

The event was organized by Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, who heads the right-wing League.

We can propose a new Europe because we have never governed (in Brussels),” Salvini said. “Our goal is to be decisive, to nominate new commissioners in the new commission,” he added, referring to the powerful institution that shapes EU policy-making.

However, it was not immediately clear if two of Europe’s biggest national conservative forces — Poland’s governing Law and Justice party (PiS) and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party — would be interested to join the group.

EU-UK visa free travel reciprocity

“The Council and the European Parliament have agreed that, following Brexit, UK citizens coming to the Schengen area for a short stay (90 days in any 180 days) should be granted visa free travel. This agreement was confirmed yesterday by EU ambassadors on behalf of the Council and by the European Parliament Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee today. The text now needs to be formally adopted by the European Parliament and the Council”  European Council announced.

“According to EU rules, visa exemption is granted on condition of reciprocity. The government of the United Kingdom has stated that it does not intend to require a visa from EU citizens travelling to the UK for short stays. In the event that the United Kingdom introduces a visa requirement for nationals of at least one member state in the future, the existing reciprocity mechanism would apply and the three EU institutions and the member states would undertake to act without delay in applying the mechanism. The Commission would monitor the respect of the principle of reciprocity on a continuous basis and immediately inform the European Parliament and the Council of any developments which could endanger the respect of this principle.”

Pirates call to reject EU copyright rules

MEPs adopted the directive for copyright rules on internet in European Parliament Plenary in Strasbourg by 348 votes in favour, 274 against and 36 abstentions. The vote concludes the  legislative process for the European Parliament, lasting since 2016, and now member states have to approve MEPs decisions. In case the EU member states accept the text adopted by the European Parliament, it will take effect after publication in the official journal and then member states will have two years to implement it.

The authors and supporters of the directive claim it aims to ensure that the longstanding rights and obligations of copyright law are also applicable online. YouTube, Facebook and Google News are some of the internet popular names that will be most directly affected by this legislation.

The directive also strives to ensure that the internet remains a space for freedom of expression, the defenders of the rules underline, the MEP-rapporteur  Axel VOSS (EPP, Germany) said. MEP admitted that adopted by European Parliament directive, proposed by European Commission needs further improvement, however he considers it to be a huge step in right direction, protecting authors rights online and regulating internet universe.

 

The vote is appreciated by the European Commission, striving to regulate internet, and welcoming MEPs decision, the EU executives wrote: “This Directive protects creativity in the digital age and ensures that the EU citizens benefit from wider access to content and new guarantees to fully protect their freedom of expression online. The new rules will strengthen our creative industries, which represent 11.65 million jobs, 6.8% of GDP and are worth €915,000 million per year” in an issue for occasion press-release.

Internet can’t be unregulated space, please don’t look at the directive as a sort of attack on you”, said Sajjad KARIM MEP (ECR, UK), insisting as a professional lawyer that the regulation is in interest of the European citizens.

A call to avoid confusion of rules with ‘censorship‘ launched Helga TRUPEL MEP (Greens, Germany), underlining that the major point of the internet reform of  rules is to have “appropriate licensing, it is not about ‘censorshipTRUPEL said. “We have different understanding of freedom with @Pirates party, it is about FREE and FAIR internet, MEP Trupel said, explaining the essence of the approved directive.

However the representatives of the Pirate Party call the governments to refuse the directive in its current form, claiming it will damage the freedom of circulation of information, delegating the task to artificial intelligence, developed by internet big players. The meaningful decisions concerning content should be judged in courts, but not by algorithms.

MEP Julia REDA  (Pirate party, Germany) expressed concerns that such a milestone legislation can become a chip bargain between German chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, exchanging endorsement of directive for agreement to construct North Stream 2. She called European citizens n individual member-state to continue resistance to EU directive, proposed by the European Commission.

The European Pirate party warns that the directive in its current form will damage the freedom of expression, and intrude into privacy of European citizens.

The only way to even try to limit file sharing, is to introduce complete surveillance of everybody’s private communication. There is no way to separate private messages from copyrighted material without opening the message and checking the contents. Out goes the postal secret, the right to communicate in private with your lawyer or your web-cam flirt, or your whistle-blower protection if you want to give a sensitive story to a journalist“, Christian Engström from Sweden Pirate party warns.

The supporters of the directive claim that the positive change can be expressed in the following fields:

  • Internet platforms are liable for content that users upload
  • Some uploaded material, such as memes or GIFs, now specifically excluded from directive
  • Hyperlinks to news articles, accompanied by “individual words or very short extracts”, can be shared freely
  • Journalists must get a share of any copyright-related revenue obtained by their news publisher
  • Start-up platforms subject to lighter obligations

EU prepares transport for no-deal Brexit

The EU is ensuring continuity of train services between the EU (France and Ireland) and the United Kingdom in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal. The Council today adopted a regulation on a temporary extension of the validity of certain authorisations, certificates and licences that are needed to run the services. The aim of this extension is to allow the parties concerned to conclude the necessary agreements and take any other measures to avoid disruption, taking into account the status of the UK as a non-EU country.”

This is the last Brexit contingency regulation to be adopted in the field of transport. Five other Brexit-related regulations in the area of transport were adopted by the Council (General Affairs) on 19 March. All these legal acts will be signed by representatives of the Council and the Parliament on 25 March and subsequently published in the EU Official Journal.”

MEPs support Magnitsky Act

Members of European Parliament (MEPs) backed a resolution calling for European Union for a new wave of human rights sanctions to punish state and non-state actors responsible for gross violations of human rights.

 

In a resolution adopted on March 14, the Europarliament demands a new sanctions regime to be established at EU level to impose asset freezes and visa bans on individuals involved in grave human rights violations. The list should include state and non-state actors who have contributed, physically, financially or through acts of systemic corruption, to such abuse and crimes, worldwide.

MEPs state that the decision to list and remove from the list individuals concerned should be based on clear, transparent and specific criteria, directly linked with the crime committed, in order to guarantee a thorough judicial review and redress rights. They also urge EU members to come up with a mechanism to enforce sanctions and have a European oversight, since over the past months, there have also been cases in which European companies and countries have violated EU sanctions.

The new sanctions regime would strengthen the EU’s role as a global human rights actor and should symbolically carry the name of Sergei Magnitsky, MEPs say. Mr Magnitsky was a Russian tax expert investigating corruption who perished in Moscow prison in 2009, having endured inhumane conditions and torture. Similar legislative frameworks are already in place in the United States, Canada, and several EU countries, namely in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the United Kingdom.

European Parliament has also repeatedly asked for a mechanism for sanctions to be introduced to punish individual culprits of human rights atrocities, and the proposal is now gaining momentum, after the Dutch Government initiated a discussion on it among EU member states in November last year. The proposal is currently being considered, at working group level, in the Council.

MEPs finally welcome the proposal made by the President of the Commission to move beyond unanimity voting, in Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) areas in Council decision-making. In this context, they urge EU member states to adopt this new sanctions instrument so that a qualified majority in the Council may adopt human rights sanctions.

The sanctions regime, under discussion, is encouraged by the US Magnitsky Act, which was signed by President Barack Obama in December 2012.

 

Vox castigates Catalonia independence aspirations

Anna van Densky from Brussels. Spain’s VOX  far-right party members came to European Parliament to condemn the aspirations of Catalans for independence. Although the congregation was impressive in numbers of attendees, there were no new elements introduced during presentations, while speakers defended the same point reflected in the name of the event – “Catalonia, a Spanish region”. Needless to add the happening was outdated in form, consisting of a series of monologues, developing the same point of view: Catalans can not aspire independence, because such a development is not foreseen in the Constitution of Kingdom of Spain. Subsequently the presentation was bias, completely ignoring counter-arguments, and omitting contemporary international law, namely right of self-determination enshrined in the UN Charter.

Javier Ortega Smith, the Secretary-General of  VOX insisted the fragmentation of nation states threatens the European Union (EU) future, attempting to construct a confrontational concept between Catalan independence as threat for the EU.

Jesus Lainzthe author of “Spain against Catalonia, a fraud history’ acted as a major ideologist, explaining at length the history binding Barcelona and Madrid, focusing mainly on the Middle Ages, and carefully avoiding modern times, in particular the second part of the XX century, when the number of sovereign states in the world has tripped, amounting to 193  members of the United Nations. 

However in spite of evident deficiencies the conference as such is a milestone for the Catalonia issue. Enrique Calvet Chambon MEP (ALDE, Spain)  admitted that there is a “parallel reality” existing in Catalonia already, and that the status quo is damaging to image of Spain, creating “animosity” across Europe. Both factors meaning that there is an understanding, although limited, that the tactic of suppression of the Catalan independence movement provoked further deterioration of the situation to detriment of Madrid.

The event was animated by a flash-mob by the employees of the European Parliament, protesting against VOX position towards feminists, and LGBT community.

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VOX party (2013) has been a staunch opponent of the federalism, promoting centralized state. Along with condemnation of the Catalan independence movement, the party is also against Basque autonomy.

The even was hosted by Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Kosma ZŁOTOWSKI (Poland, ECR).

The event caused indignation of the European Greens, regretting the admission of VOX to speak in the European Parliament: MEP Ana Miranda, characterized it as “disgrace” to the Chamber. She added the Green group attempted to prevent the VOX to take a floor, because it is “xenophobic, racist, homophobic political party that is spreading hatred”.

 

 

 

 

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