Tag Archives: Guy Verhofstadt

Borrell condemns violence in Belarus

The Presidential elections took place in the Republic of Belarus on 9 August. The European Union had repeatedly expressed its expectations on the proper conduct of these elections.

“The election night was marred with disproportionate and unacceptable state violence against peaceful protesters. This reportedly resulted in the loss of life of one citizen and many others have been injured. We condemn the violence and call for the immediate release of all detained during last night. The Belarusian authorities must ensure that the fundamental right of peaceful assembly is respected” reads the Joint Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell and Neighbourhood and Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi on the Presidential elections in Belarus.

“Following their unprecedented mobilisation for free elections and democracy, the Belarusian people now expect their votes to be counted accurately. It is essential that the Central Electoral Commission publishes the results reflecting the choice of the Belarusian people.

“Only upholding human rights, democracy, and free and fair elections will guarantee stability and sovereignty in Belarus. We will continue to closely follow the developments in order to assess how to further shape the EU’s response and relations with Belarus in view of the developing situation”.

Protesters and riot police have clashed in Minsk and other cities, after a state TV exit poll said long-time leader Alexander Lukashenko was declared the winner in Sunday’s election.

Police used stun grenades, rubber bullets and water cannon. A human rights group said one protester was killed and the are hundreds of arrested, however due to the internet disruptions there are significant difficultes to obtain full information about the police actions.

According to the state media Mr Lukashenko won 80% of the vote, based on the preliminary count.
But the main opposition leader has Svetlana Tikhanovskaya refused to recognise the results.
“We have already won, because we have overcome our fear, our apathy and our indifference,” Svetlana Tikhanovskaya said.

The preliminary results give her 9.9% of the vote, but her campaign said she had been polling 70-80% in some areas.
Ms Tikhanovskaya entered the election in place of her jailed husband and went on to lead large opposition rallies.

Mr Lukashenko, 65, has been in power since 1994.

Image above: BelsatTV

Westminster aims at one year Brexit delay

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson refused to negotiate further extension of Brexit deadline with the European Union, after he failed to win the support of Westminster for his Article 50 Agreement with the bloc, facing another delay caused by MP Oliver Letwin amendment. The MPs passed an amendment tabled by a cross-party group, led by Mr. Letwin by 322 votes to 306 – a majority of 16. The amendment says Parliament will withhold approval of the Prime minister’s deal until the withdrawal bill implementing Article 50 Agreement has been passed. In essence the #Letwin manoeuvre means winning time, shifting away the vote for endorsed in Brussels this week Brexit deal.

Voting down Prime Minister’s deal implies the request of a further postponement of abandoning the EU, the step Boris Johnson categorically denies, also pointing at the EU fatigue from the protracted debate on conditions of the departure.

MPs voted 322 to 306 in favour of a 26-word Letwin amendment that imposed an obligation on Prime Minister to ask the EU for a delay until the end of January 2020.

https://twitter.com/bbcpolitics/status/1185554708380839937?s=21

“And of course, the truth of it is this is all about getting a second referendum. That is what the Remainer forces in Parliament want. And the more time they buy, the more chance they’ve got of getting something like that passed. 

“So you know, we’ve got this odd situation that goes on and on and on. A Remain Parliament and a Leave country and it’s just the most awful situation.

“I feel in the absence of a general election, nothing is going to improve” said Member of the European Parliament, and the leader of Brexit party Nigel Farage in his comment to LBC TV after the vote.

The representative of the European Parliament at Brexit talks. Guy Verhofstadt wrote: “The @Europarl_EN’s Brexit Steering Group will consider the outcome of today’s vote for the Letwin amendment on Monday. Whatever happens next, the marches outside the Parliament show just how important a close EU – UK future relationship is”.

The EU spokesperson said the European Commission took a note of the vote supporting Letwin amendment. “It will be for the UK government to inform us about the next steps as soon as possible” she added.

https://twitter.com/eucopresident/status/1185628435554734080?s=21


The president of the European Council had a telephone
conversation with Prime Minister Johnson, and is awaiting an official letter, informing the EU about the situation in the Westminster.

Brexit: Queen approves suspension of Parliament

Queen approves Boris Johnson’s request to droop UK Parliament. (Image: archive).

Boris Johnson asked Queen to suspend UK Parliament ahead of Brexit.

The European Parliament representative for Brexit talks Guy Verhofstad expressed his disappointment with the decision of the UK Parliament suspension.

EU-UK Brexit deal stays intact

The European Commission is willing to discuss Brexit with the UK over the coming weeks, a spokeswoman said on August 6. However the decision of keeping intact the negotiated with Theresa May government  deal remains unchanged. The Commission expressed readiness to add “words” to it in forms of declarations.

The EU executives have been hoping to avoid a “no-deal” scenario, the bloc is prepared for such an outcome as well.

The Commission does remain available over the coming weeks should the United Kingdom wish to hold talks and clarify its position in more detail, whether by phone or in person,” the spokeswoman said during regular Midday briefing.

 

Loiseau self-destructive sarcasm

President Emmanuel Macron’s  candidate to lead a new centrist alliance in the European Parliament Nathalie Loiseau said on she was pulling out of the race, in a defiance to French government influence in the parliamenEt.

Nathalie Loiseau was quoted by Belgian newspapers disparaging allies in Renew Europe, formed by Macron’s party and the liberal ALDE, and adding she intends a sweeping overhaul of the group, the third biggest in the European Parliament.

Loiseau was quoted in Le Soir calling ALDE’s longtime leader Guy Verhofstadtan old git with pent-up frustrations” and branding the conservative European People’s party candidate for Commission president an “ectoplasm”.

Loiseau described the comments, made during an off-record briefing to journalists in Brussels, as “pure fiction” but their leak damaged her credibility just as competition for the leadership intensified. And according to her own words she preferred to renounce her ambition to lead the group.

 

 

Brexit extension in question

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow said the government can’t have another meaningful vote on Article 50 deal unless changes made.

Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament representative for Brexit negotiations has responded to the Westminster decision with a rhetoric question on cross-party talks: ” It is time for country to come before party!“, he insisted.

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.

 

Europarl: no extension without clarity

The European Parliament representative for Brexit talks Guy Verhofstadt said there can not be a deadline extension beyond March 29 in absence of clarity of the position of the majority in House of Commons. The statement was made after consultations with Michel Barnier the EU chief negotiator.

Guy Verhofstad MEP warned off the European elections ‘hijacked‘by Brexit crisis, replacing political debate on European issues by political struggle in Westminster.

Brexit: EU expects UK to find solution

The EU has done everything it can to help get the Withdrawal Agreement over the line. The impasse can only be solved in the . Our “no-deal” preparations are now more important than ever before” said top EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier via his Twitter micro blog.

I regret the outcome of tonight’s . It is disappointing that the UK government has been unable to ensure a majority for the Withdrawal Agreement agreed by both parties in November, even after multiple additional assurances from the EU. A solution must come from London” wrote Mark Rutte, Dutch Prime minister.

European Parliament Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstad blamed the UK for the failure to deliver orderly departure under Article 50.

EU refuses to reopen Brexit deal

Following the demands of the British lawmakers Prime Minister Theresa May is attempting to renegotiate an Article 50 deal with the European Union, however Brussels is firm in its refusal of introduction of any change. The Irish border ‘backstop’ remains the apple of discord. (Image: illustration).

Within the current disposition the EU is preparing for ‘hard’ Brexit, meaning to leave the bloc under the WTO rules.

The EU top negotiator Michel Barnier said the position of Brussels institutions vis-à-vis the deal remains unchanged.

The EU rigid approach, and pressure applied to the UK, to opinion of experts is an attempt to direct Britons to cancellation of Brexit in one or the other form: for postponing it indefinitely, or demanding the second referendum.
Meanwhile the attempt of Labour MP Yvette Cooper to delay Brexit and stop a ‘No Deal’ has failed
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