Tag Archives: European Parliament

Socialist MEPs block Resolution on Turkey

The European Peopole’s Party (EPP) has issued a statement following the Left Groups S&D and GUE block of the Resolution from European Parliament as tensions continue to increase between the European Unions and Turkey.

On the initiative of the EPP Group, the European Parliament will debate the continued and repeated aggression of Turkey against Greece and Cyprus next week. In light of the situation, Chairman of the EPP Group, Manfred Weber MEP, called for an urgent debate with High Representative Josep Borrell.

“Turkey is unilaterally escalating conflicts with Europe and the situation is getting worse. Turkish security forces attack the Greek border on a regular basis and the drilling attempts in the waters of Cyprus are intensifying continuously. The EU cannot leave these aggressions unanswered.”

Greece has seen repeated attempts by groups of people trying to cross the border illegally, with the help of the Turkish security forces. The Head of the Greek Delegation of the EPP Group, Vangelis Meimarakis MEP, stated: “President Erdogan is provoking another refugee crisis for his own benefit on the back of desperate people. Turkey’s actions undermine the refugee agreement and are a threat to stability in Europe. The European Parliament should send a clear signal to Turkey that it has gone too far and that it must stop challenging the EU.”

Turkey’s illegal drilling activities in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus have also been escalating recently. “We expect the European Union to show solidarity in practice and to vigorously defend Cyprus and Greece against Turkish aggression. If the current measures do not stop Turkey’s illegal activities, it is clear we need to further increase the pressure”, said the Head of the Cypriot Delegation of the EPP Group, Lefteris Christoforou MEP.

The EPP Group called for a strong statement from the European Parliament, a debate and a Resolution, to denounce Turkey’s actions. However, during the discussions with the other political Groups, the Socialists (S&D) and the Communists (GUE) blocked a Resolution on the matter.

“In light of the facts on the ground, it is incomprehensible that the Left wing parties reject a strong and clear signal from the European Parliament”, the MEPs noted.

Image: illustration, European Parliament hearing, Brussels

Europarl has no comment on Russian referendum

Statement by Members of the European Parliament David McAllister and Tomas Tobé on the constitutional referendum in Russia.

“A constitutional referendum took place in Russia from 25 June to 1 July.

The European Parliament has not been invited to observe this electoral process, and consequently will neither comment on the process nor on the results that will be announced afterwards. No individual Member of the European Parliament has been mandated to observe or comment on this electoral process on its behalf.

Therefore, any Member of the European Parliament who decided to observe this electoral process in the Russian Federation, or in the illegally annexed Crimean peninsula, where the European Union does not and will not recognise the holding of this consultation, has done so on her/his own initiative and should under no circumstances through any statement or action, associate her/his participation with the European Parliament.”

Mr McAllister (EPP, DE) and Mr Tobé (EPP, SE) are Co-Chairs of the European Parliament’s Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group.

Image: European Parliament building, Strasbourg

Europe Day virtual celebrations

Europe Day is held every 9 May to mark the anniversary of the speech by French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman that led to the foundation of the European Union.

As we mark Europe Day, we remember how Europeans made history in 1950 and pay tribute to those who are making history today. In the context of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, 9 May 2020 represents an important opportunity to celebrate unity and solidarity in Europe.

In accordance with the tradiation the European Parliament organises events for visitors at its premises. As this is not possible due to the pandemic this year, Parliament and the other institutions have created a digital open day, bringing people together in this time of crisis by highlighting the sense of solidarity and emphasising what the EU is doing to help.

Among the highlights, Parliament President David Sassoli is scheduled to take part in a live debate on Saturday morning, with interpretation into various languages.

Other events include a Facebook live with Parliament Vice-Presidents Othmar Karas and Katarina Barley, video messages from the leaders of the political groups, a virtual visit to the plenary chamber in Brussels and a panel discussion on Schuman and his vision for Europe. The virtual visitor can also enjoy an online exhibition, featuring items from the Parliament’s archives.

Seventy years after the Schuman declaration, Europe is facing a crisis that makes EU solidarity more important than ever.

Borrell denies “kowtow” to China

Disinformation around the coronavirus pandemic: Opening statement by the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell at the European Parliament on April 30.

“…As is the case for all of the European External Action Service’s publications, there are internal procedures to ensure the appropriate structure, quality and length of our products. Given the sensitive nature of the information, every claim is verified before it is used in public material, which often delays by some days its publication. However – and let me underline this – the content and the timing of the European External Action Service’s public assessments on disinformation around the coronavirus pandemic are determined by the European External Action Service, and the European External Action Service alone. We have not bowed to anyone.

“Let me be clear: we are a diplomatic service. We maintain constant contact with representatives of third countries. This includes listening to their views on our policies and our assessments. But this cannot be presented as bowing to political pressure from outside. Especially on such crucial issues as disinformation at the time of this pandemic, where transparency is key.

“Let me address, therefore, directly what I can call the main “accusation”, if I can refer to it in such terms. An accusation that, I believe, has led to our discussion today: that the European Union “bowed” to Chinese pressure, as formulated in an article by the New York Times.

“After having been informed by the services about the way they proceeded in this case, I can assure you that no changes have been introduced to the report published last week to allay the concerns of a third party, in this case, China. The report very clearly points out State-sponsored disinformation campaigns and very specifically names the actors behind them – including China. There was no “watering down” of our findings, however uncomfortable they could be. Please check it personally, it is all online (link is external). You can compare the three reports, where we have progressively been refining our analysis and increased our understanding of how the different actors have been developing their messages and narratives.

“Let me also make a point about the functioning of a diplomatic service and activities. As you know, calls to present complaints or to advise in favour of a given course of action are the daily bread of diplomacy. We, at the European Union, practice them constantly, as do all other international actors, even our closest partners. It would be wrong to consider this inappropriate. I can assure you that I am very much used to it.

“Large international actors can accompany diplomatic demarches with a range of incentives and disincentives, which sometimes do not even need to be explicitly mentioned. We all bring things to the table, so that other decision makers take them into account. This is happening every day, from everybody, including us.

“The European Union is an international player, and this is our added value. Most of our Member States, taken separately, would stand no chance at all when faced with larger powers. Unsettling us is not easy as long as our Member States stand together. Those that are currently fanning the idea that the European Union may be giving up on its interests or principles under pressure by third countries should read attentively the report we published on disinformation. They should read it, and then they will acknowledge that we are among the very few to dare refer to such facts and publicise them.

“The choice of words used by those that criticise the European Union, saying “bowing to pressure”, has a clear historical resonance: it comes from Georges Macartney, a British diplomat who, in the XVIII century, went to China and failed due to his refusal to “kowtow” to the Emperor, which in Chinese means “to bow”. You see, now the word comes back. Working in the field of disinformation raises awareness regarding narratives, some of them rooted in the historical unconscious of the people who use it.

“Let me finish by saying that the European External Action Service will strive to maintain its position as the leading institution collecting, analysing and challenging disinformation, including on the coronavirus…” (Image: archive)

COVID19: Eurparl to distribute meals

The European Parliament President outlines measures to help support the communities where parliament works

In a video message, European Parliament President David Sassoli today outlined measures Parliament is taking to support health workers and those in need in Brussels. The President said:

“Showing concrete solidarity with citizens. This is the line of the European Parliament. In agreement with the Brussels Capital Region, we have decided to make part of our building available to homeless people and the most vulnerable in society, during this serious health emergency.

“In addition, our kitchens will make more than 1000 meals a day to be distributed to those in need, as well as to health workers to help them do their jobs.

“We want to be close to those who suffer, to those who work tirelessly in our hospitals, to the city and people of Brussels, as well as those of Strasbourg and Luxembourg, who welcome us and who need our help today. Europe’s strength is in its ability to act in solidarity.”

Original VIDEO available on European Parliament site:

https://multimedia.europarl.europa.eu/en/statement-sassoli-measures-solidarity-brussels_I188710-V_v

Image below: archive: European Parliament, Strasbourg

MEPs to practice remote vote

President and political group leaders decided to hold an extraordinary plenary session next Thursday, 26 March to allow for implementation of special measures.
Parliament´s President and Group leaders – Conference of Presidents – held an informal exchange of views on March 19 morning. They approved in written procedure the proposal of EP President Sassoli to convene an extraordinary plenary session next Thursday, 26 March in Brussels to debate and vote on the first three legislative proposals of the European Commission to tackle the effects of the COVID19 pandemic in EU Member States. (Image: illustration)

The European Parliament is doing its duty and will continue to do so. Parliament must remain open, because a virus cannot bring down democracy. We are the only European institution voted in by its citizens and we want to continue representing and defending them”, EP President David Sassoli said.

On the agenda:
The Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative, which will make available €37 billion of the Cohesion funds to member states to address the consequences of the crisis,
a legislative proposal to extend the scope of the EU Solidarity Fund to cover public health emergencies
a Commission proposal to stop the so-called ghost flights caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

It is key that the European Parliament (pictured) adopts these three proposals swiftly, to provide concrete support to EU citizens and to the Member States in this unprecedented situation.

The Bureau of the European Parliament will adopt specific measures for this session to ensure the votes can be organised remotely.

This plenary will formally replace the session foreseen for 1-2 April.

COVID19: Schengen area in question

Today the Civil Liberties Committee Chair, Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES) issued a statement on the reintroduction of border controls at some Schengen internal borders due to coronavirus.

In the last days, several EU member states have reintroduced border controls at their internal borders within the Schengen area or even closed them for certain categories of travellers while some further member states are considering such measures.

https://twitter.com/jflopezaguilar/status/1239490433132224512?s=21

“As Chair of Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee, while I fully share the need for public policy measures restricting social interaction to slow down the spread of the Coronavirus, I urge member states to take their measures in full respect of the principles of proportionality and, above all, solidarity among EU Member States, non-discrimination and the applicable Schengen rules. It is key that when taking measures no discrimination is made between EU citizens.

“It is only through a coordinated approach, rather than actions taken by individual Member States, that we will be successful in addressing the challenge we are all facing.

“The Civil Liberties committee is closely monitoring the situation and expects the Commission, the Council Presidency and the member states to protect all benefits of the Schengen area.”

Image: border control, source: social media.

COVID19: EP Plenary moves to Brussels

“At 18.00 today, I have received an updated report from the European Parliament’s Medical Service on the evolution of COVID-19 which states that the health risks are considered to be significantly higher if Parliament’s plenary session next weektakes place in Strasbourg” reads the statement of the European Parliament president David Sassoli.

“On the basis of this evaluation, due to force majeure, I decided that the necessary security conditions are not in place for the usual transfer of the European Parliament to Strasbourg for the plenary session next week.

“I have informed the French authorities and have thanked them for their collaboration in the past days.

“The plenary session will exceptionally be held in Brussels. Parliament undertakes to reschedule a plenary session in Strasbourg in accordance with the Treaties.”

MEPs determined to eradicate FGM

The European Parliament has repeatedly demonstrated a strong commitment to elimination of the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) worldwide. By adopting laws and resolutions, MEPs have advocated common action to eradicate female genital mutilation.

The European Parliament has repeatedly demonstrated a strong commitment to help eliminate the practice of FGM worldwide. By adopting laws and resolutions, MEPs have advocated common action to eradicate female genital mutilation.

On Wednesday, 12 February, members adopted a new resolution calling on the European Commission to include actions to end FGM in the new EU Gender Equality Strategy, to be presented in March, and to provide care for survivors.

They also urged EU countries to ratify the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and reiterated calls to incorporate FGM prevention measures in all policy areas, especially in health, asylum, education and employment.

MEPs also expressed their concerns about the increasingly widespread phenomenon of “medicalisation” of FGM.On Wednesday, 12 February, members adopted a new resolution calling on the European Commission to include actions to end FGM in the new EU Gender Equality Strategy, to be presented in March, and to provide care for survivors.

They also urged EU countries to ratify the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and reiterated calls to incorporate FGM prevention measures in all policy areas, especially in health, asylum, education and employment. MEPs also expressed their concerns about the increasingly widespread phenomenon of “medicalisation” of FGM.

MEPs oppose cats and dogs illegal trade

MEPs want action to tackle the illegal trade in pets in order to better protect animals and punish rule breakers.(Image: social media)
Many pets are traded illegally across the EU generating high profit at a low risk, often providing a profitable source of income for criminal networks.

To clamp down on the illegal trade in pets, the environment and public health committee called for an EU-wide action plan, tougher sanctions and mandatory registration in a resolution adopted on 21 January.

Dogs and cats are the most popular companion animals in the EU and many of us consider them as part of the family. Most EU citizens care about the well-being of their furry friends: 74% believe that companion animals should be better protected.

Trafficking can lead to poor breeding conditions, puppies and kittens being separated from their mothers too early and long journeys under stressful conditions, often without food and water.

It can also pose risks to public health as illegally bred pets are often not vaccinated and can spread rabies, parasites and infectious diseases to humans and livestock. Consumers attracted by low prices often buy companion animals online without being aware of the risks associated.

Parliament called for a compatible EU system of pet registration in a resolution adopted in 2016. The resolution adopted on 21 January call on the European Commission to come up with a proposal for an EU-wide mandatory system for the identification and registration of cats and dogs, more controls and tougher sanctions against those supplying false pet passports. It also calls for a common EU definition of puppy and kitten farms , as differences in animal welfare standards lead to price differences that can be exploited by illegal breeders.

In addition EU breeding rules for pets are needed while EU countries should be encouraged to put in place registers of authorised breeders and sellers. People should be encourage to adopt, rather than buy, companion animals.

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