Tag Archives: EU

Jagland raises concerns about journalist Golunov case

 

 

 

The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland, has made the following statement with regard to the situation of investigative journalist Ivan Golunov in Russia:

I am very much concerned and saddened by reports coming from Moscow alleging that investigative journalist Ivan Golunov was subjected to violence and injured by police forces while in custody in a Moscow police station.

Violence by police during investigation procedures is absolutely prohibited by Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, to which the Russian Federation is party.

Moreover, the fact that Mr Golunov claims that evidence against him was manipulated raises even greater suspicion over the current situation.

Taking into account the particular gravity of the alleged facts, I call on the Minister of Interior of the Russian Federation, Mr Kolokoltsev, to personally address this situation.

I also hope that Human Rights Commissioner Moskalkova will look into these allegations.

Freedom of expression and the right to security are fundamental in a democratic society and law enforcement bodies must also defend these values.”

Spokesperson of the European External Action Service also made a statement, underlining that the European Union relevant institutuios follows closely the case of journalist Godunov, arrested in Moscow.

AMENDMENT:

British Forign Secretary Jeremy Hunt made a statement via his Twitter microblog on the arrest of Ivan Golunov. He also mentioned “fear of retribution” among  negative effects on practice of investigative journalism in Russia in general.

AMENDEMNET:

According to Golunov’s lawyer Chikov claims his client suffered from police brutalty, being beaten at his arrival to custody. He added paramedics suspected Golunov had suffered broken ribs, bruising and a concussion, and that “police chiefs” were refusing his hospitalisation

AMENDEMENT

Today the international organisation Reporters without borders (RSF) launched  mobiliseation to manifest in front of Russian Embassy in Paris, demanding liberation of Golunov, and dropping all charges against him.

 

AMENDEMENT

Further Brexit delay?

The majority of the European Union governments will approve another Brexit delay regardless of who becomes the next British prime minister, ‘The Times’  newspaper reported on June 6 citing an unnamed senior European source.

As many as 25 European governments are prepared to give the Britons another extension, despite repeated statements from most British prime minister candidates that the UK will leave the EU on October 31 with or without a deal, the newspaper added.

In the end no one wants to be seen as the one who pulls the plug,” the source told ‘The Times’.

The EU and UK were working “very hard together” on Brexit deal, President Trump,  acknowledged and added: “It doesn’t seem to be working out. But, at some point, something will happen, one way or the other.

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.”

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.

 

Venezuela contact group stays EU diplomatic tool

The EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini confirmed the determination of the Foreign ministers to continue efforts for Venezuela crisis resolution through the international contact group. Apparently, the denial of entry to four Members of the European Parliament (MEP) will not deviate from the endorsed policy vis-à-vis Caracas.

Four Members of the European parliament (MEPs) from European People’s Party (EPP)  were denied entry to Venezuela under “conspiratorial motives.” The calls of the leader of the EPP group Manfred Weber to “immediately” recognise Juan Guaido as the President of Venezuela, did not receive any response from the EU foreign ministers.

Esteban Gonsalez-Pons (Spain), José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra (Spain),  Gabriel Mato (Spain), and Esther de Lange (NL) travelled to Caracas upon their own initiative in their individual capacity as MEPs.

 

The MEPs attempted to enter Caracas to meet with opposition leader Juan Guaidó, after the European Parliament last month recognized him as “interim head of state”.

Last month given the urgency of the situation in Venezuela the EU ministers decided to establish an international contact group on Venezuela (26.01.2019) that was agreed among EU Member States and with some Latin American countries.

AMENDED:

The Foreign Minister of Spain Josep Borrell confirmed the intention to step up effort to resolve Venezuela crisis via contact group, as the EU major diplomatic tool. He also underlined that Juan Guaido is recognised an ‘interim President’ of the country.

 

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).

 

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