Tag Archives: EU

Brexit deal deadlocked

Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland Leo Varadkar said he believes the European Union will strike a deal with Britain to smooth its exit from the bloc, even as Dublin continues its preparations for all outcomes, including a no deal.

As things stand, the UK will leave the EU on March 29, six weeks from now, with or without an agreement. I believe we will strike a deal,” Varadkar said in a speech on January 13.

Meanwhile the European Commission press person said Britain has not requested a Brexit delay and that any such extension of negotiating time before the divorce could not be open-ended but leading to a concrete result.

During a regular news midday briefing in Brussels, Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas explained an extension of the Article 50 exit process, should  be approved unanimously by all the other 27 EU member states to be granted.

However Schinas underlined that such a request of extension of the deadline has not been received yet.

The EU top negotiator Michel Barnier made a remark on his determination to keep Brexit transparent.

 

Brussels deaf to May’s attempts to save deal

Prime Minister Theresa May will address her own political family members of parliament (MPs) with a request to send a message to Brussels informing they would support her Brexit deal if a plan to avoid a hard border in Ireland is replaced. (Image: Berlaymont).

 

EU ‘Sanctions war’ with Russia continues

On 21 December 2018, the European Council prolonged the economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy until 31 July 2019.

This decision follows an update from President Macron and Chancellor Merkel to the European Council of 13-14 December 2018 on the state of implementation of the Minsk agreements, to which the sanctions are linked. Given that no progress has been made, the European Council took the political decision to roll-over the economic sanctions against Russia.

The West should either recognize the results of Crimea referendum on reunification with Russia,  or stop imposing sanctions against people living in Crimea, Russian President Vladimir Putin said his traditional annual news conference on December 20.

In his words, “it is a curious situation” as Russia is being accused of Crimea’s annexation or in the other words of taking Crimea by force. “But if it was annexation and forcible takeover, then people living in Crimea have nothing to do with that,” he noted. “And if it was their choice in voting, then it was not annexation whatsoever.”

However not all the political forces in the EU share the European Council point of view: since 2014 Marine Le Pen, the leader of French RN (former Front National) has not seen any reason to dispute the result of the referendum.

I see no grounds whatsoever to question this referendum,” she said. She also added that she regards Crimea as a integral part of Russia. According to TASS News Agency Marine Le Pen “hopes to visit Crimea in April” 2019.

MEPs propose strategy to combat terrorism

xBased on a thorough assessment European Parliament sets out recommendations to tackle radicalisation, improve data exchange and support victims of terrorism.

In a non-legislative resolution adopted this week with 474 votes to 112 and 75 abstentions, Parliament suggests reinforcing the role of the EU agencies such as Europol and the European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT Systems (LISA).

MEPs also voice concerns over insufficient data exchange among the agencies, and between the member states and EU authorities. They underline the importance of fully respecting fundamental rights, including data protection and freedom of expression, when undertaking counter-terrorism measures.

““…Attack on the Christmas market in Strasbourg was an attack on European citizens and the common EU values and principles in the worst possible way. The incident has shown us again that we need to leave empty slogans and unrealistic measures behind and concentrate our activities on what really makes Europe safe. Despite all the efforts made over the past years, there are still gaps and ways to make the fight against terrorism more efficient. This means wider cooperation and information exchange between intelligence services and authorities, more prevention measures against radicalisation, tougher legal instruments and better protection of the rights of victims” – Following the vote, the co-rapporteur, Monika Hohlmeier (EPP, DE) said.

The terrorist attacks in the centre of Strasbourg, yesterday evening, highlight the imminent threat and absolute urgency of dealing better with this sad new reality. Today our report has been put to the vote in the same city, the seat of the European Parliament. Many innovative ideas have been proposed, such as the EU black list for hate preachers, allowing people renting cars to be cross-checked against police databases, and including private planes under the PNR Directive. We are recommending best practices, such as the local anti-radicalisation cells introduced in Belgium. And we put the victims at the forefront, by asking for medical costs to be automatically pre-paid after an attack and smoother insurance procedures. These are just a few examples from the comprehensive and poignant report “The co-rapporteur, Helga Stevens (ECR, BE), said.

Among Parliament’s main proposals:

  • Creating an EU watch list of radical preachers;
  • Stronger monitoring to ensure harmonised security and judicial prosecution of identified ‘returning fighters’ to Europe;
  • preclude convicted terrorist offenders from being granted asylum;
  • Anti-radicalisation measures, such as programmes for prisons, education and campaigns;
  • Specific training on radicalisation for EU and member states’ officials;
  • Strengthening EU’s external borders and proper checks at all border crossings using all relevant databases;
  • Demand for legal procedures to probe the praise of acts of terrorism;Removing printed or online propaganda explicitly inciting to violence;
  • call for continuity of EU-UK cooperation and information exchange;
  • Restricting knife-carrying and banning particularly harmful knives;
  • Inclusion of private planes under the PNR Directive;
  • European system of licences for specialised buyers of explosive precursors;
  • Urgent need for a common definition of ‘victim of terrorism’ at EU level;
  • Commission asked to create an EU Coordination Centre of victims of terrorism (CCVT) to provide crisis support and assistance in cases of attacks;
  • use the European Solidarity Fund to compensate victims of large-scale terror attacks; Closer cooperation with non-EU countries, especially neighbouring countries.”How a man, who was convicted 27 times, and known for 10 years for radicalisation, received only 5 years of prison, and ended freely perambulating around?!” asked a rhetoric question  in his Twitter mico rbolg MEP Nicolas Bay (Fr, ENF)  reflecting on the incident at Christmas market in Strasbourg. “This is unacceptable laxism on all the level, because it kills!.”https://twitter.com/NicolasBay_/status/1072839646822981634

EU sanction policy against Russia continues

At European Union Summit in Brussels the leaders unanimously endorsed the prolongation of the economic sanctions against Russia for its actions against Ukraine for another six months with the official rollover expected next week.

The sanctions, mainly targeting the Russian banking and energy sectors, were first imposed in the summer of 2014 in aftermath of  Maidan revolution in Ukraine  and have been extended every six months since then.

EU unanimously prolongs economic sanctions against Russia given zero progress in implementation of Minsk agreements,” European Council President Donald Tusk wrote in his Twitter micro blog referring to peace accords brokered by Germany and France in the Minsk, Belarus capital, aiming to end ongoing armed conflict in eastern Ukraine.

‘In a short term, the impact of oil prices is much more important for Russia than any sanctions,” said Sergey Khestanov (Сергей Хестанов), a professor at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA) . Oil income makes up 40%  of federal budget revenues and is trading at its highest level in more than four years.

Nine listed for elections in Donetsk and Luhansk

The Foreign ministers Council added nine persons to the list of those subject to restrictive measures over actions “undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.  Formally listed because of their involvement in unrecognised by the EU elections in two entities, resulted from the break-away of the communities of Russian-speaking regions in aftermath of the Maidan Revolution (2014) –  the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic

Through their actions, they further undermined the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine” – the Council concluded. (Image: elections in Donetsk) RIA Novosti agency.

The EU considers these elections illegal and illegitimate and does not recognise them. In a declaration issued on 10 November 2018, the EU condemned these elections, motivating the decision by the breach of international law, undermine the commitments taken under the Minsk agreements and violate Ukraine‘s sovereignty and law.

The actual measures consist of a travel ban and an asset freeze, meaning that these persons cannot enter the territory of any EU member state and all of the assets (if any) in the EU belonging to these persons are frozen and EU persons and entities cannot make any funds available to them.

The decision brings the total number of persons listed by the EU to 164. In addition, the EU imposed an asset freeze on 44 entities under this sanctions regime.

The legal acts, including the names of the persons concerned, are available in the EU Official Journal.

There was no reaction from the break-away regions so far. The head of Donetsk Republic Denis Pushilin tweeted the awarding of an Ombudsman office staff: “Today, on International Human Rights Day, he awarded the Ombudsman and the staff of the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights in the DPR. The rights of citizens should be at the forefront of any state. Especially in wartime conditions“.

11/12/2018 AMENDED:
The “black list” includes the head of the LNR, Leonid Pasechnik (Леонид Пасечник), who replaced Igor Plotnitsky (Игоря Плотницкий) on this post, elected heads of parliaments of the DPR and LPR — Vladimir Bidyovka (Владимир Бидёвка) and Denis Miroshnichenko (Денис Мирошниченкo), and Olga Pozdnyakova (Ольга Позднякова)— the chairman of the CEC of the DPR, Elena Kravchenko (Елена Кравченко)— the chairman of the CEC of the LPR, Alexei Naidenko (Алексей Найденко) – Deputy Chairman of the CEC of the DPR; Vladimir Vysotsky (Владимир Высоцкий) – Secretary of the CEC of the DPR; Maxim Svidchenko (Максим Свидченко) – Deputy Chairman of the CEC of the LPR; Ekaterina Tereshchenko (Екатерина Терещенко) – Secretary of the CEC of the LPR.

MEP Eck calls President Poroshenko to save freezing to death zoo lions

Stephen Eck  (Germany), the vice president of the 114 members strong Intergroup on Animal Welfare and Conservation of the European Parliament called the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko to act without delay to save animals suffering the horrendous abuse in Padalko family zoo in Porkovsk, Donetsk region. (Image below: lion frozen to death in his filthy cage in urine).

The MEP called the President after the news broke out that one of the five lions was found frozen to death in his open to winter weather cage. The Ukrainian animal rights groups sill hope to save the animals including 11 bears and 83 other spices including primates if veterinarians receive an opportunity step in immediately  to take proper care of them, all suffering from freezing temperatures and malnutrition.

I assume the animals will not survive winter time, – MEP Stefan ECK said. – I appeal to President Poroshenko to do something immediately to transfer the animals to the other zoo, where they can survive the winter”.

However the vice-president did not limit himself to the concrete action, but he has challenged the President on  his ambition of the European integration, reminding about welfare of the animals being enshrined in Lisbon Treaty of the European Union.

The evacuation of these animals in three month term, proposed by the authorities is absolutely unacceptable, it is too late, all animals will be dead by then“, – Mr.Eck continued.

Ukraine is pushing forward plans of membership in the EU and in NATO, and even is willing to include this goal into the Constitution. If Ukraine wants to become a member of the EU, it should align its policies with our values, and animal welfare is a value of the European Union – Article 30 of the Treaty of Lisbon states that the implementation of the Union policies must take into consideration the full account of the animal welfare requirements, and that animals are the SENTIENT BEINGS.” – MEP said.

How Europeans can believe in intentions of Ukraine to align with the EU if it shows tolerance of barbarism and cruelty to animals?”

“President Poroshenko, I ask you from here, from the European Parliament to create legal regulations for a better animal welfare in your country, then you can knock on the door of the EU, but not before! Thank you.” the Mr.Eck concluded.

For further information about the situation of the animals in Padalko zoo, please see the Facebook group #LionDonetsk.

At present four lions and 11 bears are freezing in cages installed in the field in freezing winter temperatures (city of Porkovsk, Donetsk region, Ukraine). All funds collected by animal rights groups vanished, the conditions of animals stay unchanged. Activists hope the prosecutors will issue an order to confiscate the zoo, and as a state property the animals will be transfered to safety.Padalko Zoo cages

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