Tag Archives: Guy Verhofstadt

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

EU27 defends Brexit deal as “best compromise”

Westminster voting down the proposed by the Theresa May government agreement with EU27 caused the range of reactions from the blocs’s institutions, and major players, warning about the catastrophic consequences of the no-deal Brexit for communities from both sides of the Channel.

The deal on the table respects the UK’s red lines and protects our citizens and companies from the surreal possibility of a no-deal Brexit. The Government should swiftly provide clarity on the next steps. The time for one-liners has run out, we need concrete choices”,  Manfred Weber MEP (Germany, EPP) said. Although he admitted that the UK departing without an agreement is becoming one of realistic scenarios.

The EU top Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said EU is ‘fearing more than ever’ a chaotic departure of UK from bloc.

It is not up to me, as a humble Belgian, to lecture Brits on what to do, but I think it’s time the national interest overtakes narrow party politics & cross party politics redefines the red lines imposed by hardliners in the Conservative party. We are ready for this” said Guy Verhofstadt (Belgium, ALDE).

Europarl leaders refuse Brexit deal revision

The Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament political groups informed that the Withdrawal Agreement is fair and balanced and the it is only deal possible. It is therefore one not open to renegotiation.

 

The Conference of Presidents, together with the Brexit Steering Group, discussed  the state of play of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

The Conference took note that the meaningful vote in the House of Commons on the Withdrawal Agreement had been deferred and that the UK Prime Minister had held meetings yesterday with a number of European leaders to explore ways to facilitate the UK’s ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement.

The Conference reconfirmed its view that the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration are fair and balanced and represent, given EU principles, current UK red lines and the commitments set out in the Good Friday Agreement, the only deal possible to ensure an orderly withdrawal from the European Union. It stressed that renegotiating the backstop was not possible since it is the guarantee that in whatever circumstances there could be no hardening of the border on the island of Ireland. The Conference reiterated that without a backstop Parliament would not give its consent to the Withdrawal Agreement.

The Conference also reiterated its support for as close as possible future EU-UK relationship such that the deployment of the backstop would not be necessary. The President and group leaders reaffirmed that the backstop is in any case to be used only as a measure of last resort. All efforts to make this point clear were welcomed.

The Conference noted that failure to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement would mean no transition period following the exit from the EU. It called on the Commission and the Member States to continue and intensify their work on no-deal planning.

  • The Conference finally noted that Parliament’s consent to the Withdrawal Agreement would be facilitated by UK government assurances as regards implementation of the citizens’ rights provisions of the Agreement in those areas outlined in a ‘diplomatic bag‘ correspondence with the Home Office.

The Conference of Presidents agreed to return to the issue of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union at its next meeting.

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