Tag Archives: Manfred Weber

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

Tusk hopes for EU top jobs Summit success

The EU member-states are striving for an agreement on the European Union’s top jobs by July 2, by the day of the new European Parliament constitution – in the attempt of avoiding an institutional crisis, the European diplomats say.

The diplomats doubt if the a deal can be reached at the Summit, pointing to a disagreement between Berlin and Paris over a German candidate Manfred Weber’s bid to take over the job of the President of the Commission later this year.

The five top executive positions are to be attributed to start a new political cycle.

European Council President Donald Tusk said that he was “cautiously optimistic” that EU leaders would agree on candidates to hold the bloc’s top jobs when they meet in Brussels on June 20.

I remain cautiously optimistic, as those I have spoken to have expressed determination to decide swiftly. I hope we can make it on ThursdayTusk said.

The top jobs include the successors  for European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU chief diplomat Federica Mogherini, the head of the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt Mario Draghi, and  Donald Tusk, the President of the EU Council.

Following an European election end May, the new European parliament is due to gather in Strasbourg for the first time on July 2 and should then elect its new president for 2019-24.

 

 

 

 

Franco-German wrestling over EU top jobs

European Union leaders clashed over future EU institutions top jobs, primary of powerful position of the European Commission president,  promising to meet a deadline for appointments at  June Summit (20-21/6).

German Chancellor Angela Merkel  faced resistance when French President Emmanuel Macron publicly rejected the Bavarian politician Manfred Weber,  her preferred candidate, a center-right (European People’s PartyMember of the European Parliament.

After the EU elections the center-right European People’s Party (EPP) and the center-left Socialists & Democrats (S&D) would no longer be able to form a majority in the European Parliament to determine the next Commission head.

The EPP are have to turn for support to the liberal Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE), or/and the Greens, since three groups assembly needed to approve any nomination by the 28 heads of states.

The national government leaders agreed to finalize their nominations at end semester Summit on June 20-21,  well ahead Jean-Claude Juncker mandate expiration at the end of October.

Among leading figures to heir the job of Jean-Claude Juncker, next to Manfred Weber, three oher names were announced by the President Macron:  Dutch Socialist Frans Timmermans, Danish Liberal Margrethe Vestager,and the  EU top Brexit negociator Michel Barnier, “and others”.

At Informal Summit in Brussels the EU leaders bargained behind closed doors, but by the end of the meeting the Council president Donald Tusk announced that there is a target of assigning half of top jobs to women.

 

Macron supports strong personalities for EU top jobs

At his arrival to the EU Informal Summit President Emmanuel Macron said on he prefers two women and two men with strong personalities to lead the European Union in the next five years. French President declined to name his favorite candidates at this stage, but he mentioned the  names of the contestants as Frans Timmermans, Margrethe Vestager, and Michel Barnier, next to the official spitzenkandidat Manfred Weber.

The key for me is for the people at the most sensitive positions to share our project and be the most charismatic, creative and competent possible,Macron told press corps after an informal dinner of EU leaders in Brussels. 

I’m not part of those who… want leaders of the European Commission or the European Council who don’t overshadow national leaders,” he explained. And added that it is not about the names or candidates, but about uniting people, and advancing the European project.

Orban withdraws support to Weber for top EU job

The leader of Germany’s conservatives made clear she expected Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party would quit Europe’s main center-right group –European People’s Party (EPP) – after he withdrew support for Manfred Weber (pictured) – the bloc’s candidate to head the European Commission.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, signaled that the anti-immigrant, hard-right Orban had crossed a river.

With his behavior in the last few days and the meeting with (Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini), he has given a clear sign that he will leave,” said Kramp-Karrenbauer. At present Fidesz is suspended from EPP as a result of disagreement on various policies.

Weber would have been good for us as president of the commission,” Orban said, “but he made the statement that not only does he not need the Hungarian votes but he doesn’t even want the Hungarian votes to become commission president.”

In March Weber told German broadcaster ZDF that he “would not accept the post” of Commission president if he had to depend on votes from Fidesz, Orban‘s party.

That is such an offense to Hungary and the Hungarian voters,Orban added.

Orban said he could no longer support Manfred Weber after he “insulted” Hungarians.

 

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.

 

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).

EPP Weber aims for EU agenda of change

Manfred Weber (Germany, EPP) backed by 79% of his party members, launches his campaign across the continent for a position of the president of the European Commission, the powerful executive branch of the European Union, the guardian of the treaties, also possessing powers to  propose laws and policies on its own initiative. Although there is no election for this particular position, but an appointment behind the closed doors of the Council, there is an obvious need to introduce Brussels politician to the broader European audiences.

Starting his European tour in Cyprus, the stronghold of the European People‘s party, Weber (46) promises to re-connect the European project with the citizens through attentive listening to them, and crystallizing broader frame programme for the five-year period mandate ahead of his appointment.

Representing young generation of the European politicians, Weber claims that the EU project’s success depends on clarity of the messages, which should replace the general slogans, filling them with the “concrete substance”, including taking a definite stand on existential for the EU27 issues as Turkey‘s accession. He also wishes similar clearly-shaped approach to the trade agreements: CETA, EU-Japan, and the others, which were in the lime-light of an intense public debate.

However it is the “democratisation” of Europe that is at heart of the project, Weber claims, eager to make key promises to Europeans while assuming the job, a gesture needed to restore the link between the citizens and the institutions. One of the mistakes of the past, Weber presumes, was insufficient investment in European youth, the deficiency he would address.

Although Weber underlined that he only started his campaign, he reiterated his loyalty to basic EPP framework, believing in Trans-Atlantic relations as one of the core policy for the EU security, especially now, when “it became cold outside Europe“. Nevertheless he criticized the European foreign policy lacking of ambition, letting the the others like US, Russia, or Turkey to take lead. “There should be more Europe in external affairs and defence, and the intentions should be lined with concrete initiatives, which are lacking nowadays”, – he said referring to the declarations of Macron-Merkel to organise the EU army, complementing NATO. Some of the projects could be delivered without delay, Weber assumes, pointing at cyber-defence, and drone brigade, – both costly high-tech projects, difficult to implement for small EU member-states. However he had no immediate answer to the decision-making mechanism in such a unit, suggesting it can be resolved in due time. The other matter to be reformed is unanimity in decision-making process in foreign policy and defence, shifting to qualified majority voting.

Weber underlined his sees his major political partners in Socialists, and Liberals, brushing off the perspective of co-operation with the European far-right: “I don’t want to listen Le Pen“, he said frankly. He also has cast doubt in success of new Liberal Macron-Rutte alliance, who have not so many issues in common.

However, as a contemporary politician Weber believes the technocratic position only is not good enough for the leader of the European Commission, offering an emotional pledge to defeat cancer. There should be a sufficient European funding to find a remedy, Weber believes, referring to his personal experience of losing his brother to cancer.

The initiative to launch a campaign across Europe for the position of the president of the European Commission is certainly innovative, however it might be also related to low profile of Manfred Weber, known as a leader of the EPP group in the European Parliament, who has punched above his weight being a Bavarian politician, without any relevant national or international experience.

The incumbent President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker is the longest-serving head of any national government in the EU, he led Luxembourg as Prime minister (1995-2013), and chaired Eurogroup for eight years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Tajani calls for release of Sentsov

Sakharov Prizie winner Oleg Sentsov  cousin Natalya Kaplan and lawyer Dmitriy Dinze represented him during the ceremony in Strasbourg  Sentsov was not in the Parliament to collect the award in person, because he remains in prison in Siberia.

Oleg Sentsov was nominated for his peaceful protest against the illegal occupation of his native Crimea. Also for his courage, determination and his convictions in support of human dignity, democracy, the rule of law and human rights; these are the values on which our Union is built, even more after the terrible attack of yesterday, values that this Parliament cherishes, upholds and promotes.” the Parliament President Antonio Tajani said, while awarding the Prize.

Sentsov’s hunger strike and courageous public stance made him a symbol of the struggle for the release of political prisoners held in Russia and around the world,” he added. Noting that the award comes against a backdrop of serious tensions between Russia and Ukraine, Tajani called for a de-escalation of the situation and reiterated support for the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

The President called for the immediate and unconditional release of Sentsov and all other illegally detained Ukrainian citizens in Russia and the Crimean peninsula as well as other imprisoned laureates: “The Sakharov Prize is not only an award. It is a commitment. And we keep standing close by our laureates.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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