Tag Archives: Manfred Weber

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.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orban triumphant for third term

Hungarian incumbent Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced victory after preliminary results showed his party Hungarian Civic Alliance (Fidesz) is a big winner of the elections, receiving clear-cut two-thirds commanding majority in the parliament.

With more than 93% of the votes in Sunday’s poll counted, Orban‘s Fidesz party was in first with nearly half the vote, the National Election Office said.

The result is expected to hand Orban a third successive term in power.

Orban’s nearest rival was Gabor Vona, of Jobbik party, with 20%. The Socialists, led by Gergely Karacsony was third, with 12% of the vote.

Turnout stood at 68.80 percent, higher than the final turnout of 61.73 percent in the last election in 2014, which gave Orban a landslide victory.

“Dear friends, there’s a big battle behind us, we secured a historic victory – we got a chance, we created a chance for us to protect Hungary,” Orban said to cheering supporters in Budapest evening of the elections day.

 

EPP Weber for anti-Trump candidate

Manfred Weber, the leader of the centre-right group European People’s Party (EPP) in the European Parliament threatened to expel a Polish MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski  who has been nominated by Warsaw to replace Donald Tusk (pictured) as president of the European Council.

 

Acting as Bolshevik in times of Russian revolution of 1917, Manfred Weber abandoned a democratic ‘soft power’ style and shortcut his reaction to a threat to expel Jacek Saryusz-Wolski if he does not drop the bid to replace Tusk, preventing him to serve the second mandate. Weber has dropped the mask, acting in the latest EU fashion to avoid rotation, freezing political status  quo in the interest of two major political forces: Christian-democrats and Socialists.

EU leaders are aiming to enable Tusk, a former Polish prime minister from the centre-right Civic Platform (PO), a second two and a half years term as president of the European Council in spite of the fact that his candidacy does not reflect current political situation in his native Poland.

Until Saturday, no other candidate had stepped forward. Publically,  nobody but his own country Poland, came with objections against Tusk so far. However one can not know with certainty, as the procedure of the appointment of the Council president is highly secretive, resembling the Pope’s election by Curia, with the EU citizens patiently waiting for the smoke coming out of the chimney.

Meanwhile the Warsaw government-run by Tusk’s right-wing opponents, the Law and Justice party (PiS) headed by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, has insisted Tusk should not be reappointed. On Saturday, they nominated MEP Saryusz-Wolski in Weber’s EPP group.

Weber, an ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said on Sunday that the EPP continued to back Tusk, also an EPP member, and said it would expel Jacek Saryusz-Wolski  if he does not drop out.

The imposition of Brussels interest over the needs of the citizens in member-states is one of the major reasons for the rise of Vicegrad group (V4), uniting east european countries struggling for their interests in the rigid  bloc.

Donald Tusk became notorious for his aggressive anti-Trump rhetoric during the US presidential campaign, he continued with crescendo after the inauguration dabbing President Trump as an “existential threat” to the EU in an open letter, using his status of the president to propel his highly personal views.

The majority of the Europeans, including Tusk’s  compatriots, do not associate themselves with Tusk witch-hunting, seeking threats as an excuse for inability of fulfilment of the promise of the EU to deliver prosperity for European nations.

 

Anna van Densky, Brussels