Tag Archives: MEP

MEPs debate Rule of Law in Hungary

The Chairman of Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) Committee of the European Parliament Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar expressed his disappointment with the low attendance at the hearing on Rule of Law in Hungary, taking place on November 21 in Brussels. During the hearing the Finnish presidency representative Marja Rislakki reported on the results of the previous discussion, and announced the issue would be further presented to the General Affairs Council on December 10
to consider Article proceedings against Hungary.

The Article 7(1) procedure triggered by the European Parliament should assess if Hungary is at risk of breaching the bloc core values. According to milestone “Sargentini report” issued in September 2018 named after Green MEP rapporteur, the judicial independence, freedom of expression, corruption, rights of minorities, and the situation of migrants and refugees are in jeopardy.

The majority of four fifths among member-states would be sufficient to launch the procedure foreseen in Article 7 of the EU Treaty, which might trigger sanctions, such as the suspension of the country’s voting rights in the Council. However the Finnish representative Ms.Rislakki acted with reserve, reluctant to anticipate the outcome of the December meeting, and promising to deliver MEPs opinions to the Council, she added that’s during December Council hearing the new developments in Hungary will be also discussed.

At present the Fidesz party has delayed the judiciary reform, which caused the EU outrage, namely highly criticised system of administrative courts to deal with sensitive public administration lawsuits. However the MEPs has criticised Viktor Orban government, claiming the moving of the Central European University (CEU) to Vienna is symbolising the level of ‘unfreedom’ in Budapest,

Among a few MEPs, showing interest to the subject, the Renew Europe MEP Ramona Strugariu (shadow rapporteur) has put forward a request to participate in the General Affairs Council, explaining her wish in the line of “cooperation” between the European institutions.

While taking a floor the Hungarian MEP Baslazs Hidveghi (Fidesz, EPP) denied any problems with the Rule of Law, explaining that in the EU the issue is interpreted in politically bias manner, used by the Liberal left in an asymmetric attack on Orban government for refusal of migrants relocation. According to the opinion, widespread among Hungarians, the Liberal left has focused on his country in an unprecedented way, imposing requests, which no other member of the bloc has ever faced, Hidveghi underlined. And the reason for this pursuit is in their discontent with the Hungarian attachment to the Christian values, and the determination to conduct sovereign policies, MEP concluded.

Von der Leyen debates with MEPs

On July 10 Ursula von der Leyen, the ultimate candidate for the European Commission presidency, had an exchange of views with MEPs in the European Parliament Brussels, a crucial test before the vote in Strasbourg Plenary next week.

To succeed Jean-Claude Juncker on November 1, this close associate of Chancellor Angela Merkel, a member of the  conservatives party CDU, must convince the MEPs she is right candidate to become Prime minister of Europe replacing her unfortunate predecessor leading candidate of European Peoples party EPP Manfred Weber.

Von der Leyen must obtain an absolute majority in Parliament, winning 374 votes (given the absence of three elected Catalan). However, outcome is uncertain as the EU leaders appointed it on 2 July at a three-day crisis European summit, a surprise candidates presented instead of politicians put forward by parties. However rejection of her candidacy will create a protracted political crisis, unlikely scenario to be chosen by MEPs as an option in a power wrestling between EU institutions.

After the hearing the candidate made a statement for press vowing to answer the citizens needs with more Europe in providing jobs, perspective, stability and security. She also promised to insure minimum salary in every member-state, support of SME in transition period for Climate Action, putting the issue on the top of her priorities. Last but not least was the international engagement of the EU across globe, which she presumed world expects from EU.

Anderson MEP: gangs are not IRA

Member of European Parliament Martina Anderson (Sinn Fein, UK) (pictured) expressed her sorrow for victim of terrorist incident in Creggan, Northern Ireland. “My heart is sore at the murder of Lyra McKeewrote Anderson in her Twitter micro blog. She also insisted that the murder was committed by gangs “masquerading as the IRA“, because the IRA “embraced peace”.

The President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani demanded the authorities to shed light on death of journalist Lyra McKee, underlining it is unacceptable that reporters pay price of their lives while fulfilling their professional duties.

All five main political parties at Stormont made a statement underlining the act is also seen as an “attack on all the people of this community, an attack on the peace and democratic process”.

The Editorial of American news aggregator Mediagazer, where late Lyra McKee worked,  published an article on the murder, including necrology:

Ms McKee was a journalist who wrote for publications including Atlantic and Buzzfeed and had recently moved to Derry to live with her partner.

She was from north Belfast and had worked as an editor for California-based news site Mediagazer, a trade publication covering the media industry.

In 2016, Forbes Magazine named her one of their 30 under 30 in media.

She had been working on a new book which had been due to be published in 2020.”

Pirates call to reject EU copyright rules

MEPs adopted the directive for copyright rules on internet in European Parliament Plenary in Strasbourg by 348 votes in favour, 274 against and 36 abstentions. The vote concludes the  legislative process for the European Parliament, lasting since 2016, and now member states have to approve MEPs decisions. In case the EU member states accept the text adopted by the European Parliament, it will take effect after publication in the official journal and then member states will have two years to implement it.

The authors and supporters of the directive claim it aims to ensure that the longstanding rights and obligations of copyright law are also applicable online. YouTube, Facebook and Google News are some of the internet popular names that will be most directly affected by this legislation.

The directive also strives to ensure that the internet remains a space for freedom of expression, the defenders of the rules underline, the MEP-rapporteur  Axel VOSS (EPP, Germany) said. MEP admitted that adopted by European Parliament directive, proposed by European Commission needs further improvement, however he considers it to be a huge step in right direction, protecting authors rights online and regulating internet universe.

 

The vote is appreciated by the European Commission, striving to regulate internet, and welcoming MEPs decision, the EU executives wrote: “This Directive protects creativity in the digital age and ensures that the EU citizens benefit from wider access to content and new guarantees to fully protect their freedom of expression online. The new rules will strengthen our creative industries, which represent 11.65 million jobs, 6.8% of GDP and are worth €915,000 million per year” in an issue for occasion press-release.

Internet can’t be unregulated space, please don’t look at the directive as a sort of attack on you”, said Sajjad KARIM MEP (ECR, UK), insisting as a professional lawyer that the regulation is in interest of the European citizens.

A call to avoid confusion of rules with ‘censorship‘ launched Helga TRUPEL MEP (Greens, Germany), underlining that the major point of the internet reform of  rules is to have “appropriate licensing, it is not about ‘censorshipTRUPEL said. “We have different understanding of freedom with @Pirates party, it is about FREE and FAIR internet, MEP Trupel said, explaining the essence of the approved directive.

However the representatives of the Pirate Party call the governments to refuse the directive in its current form, claiming it will damage the freedom of circulation of information, delegating the task to artificial intelligence, developed by internet big players. The meaningful decisions concerning content should be judged in courts, but not by algorithms.

MEP Julia REDA  (Pirate party, Germany) expressed concerns that such a milestone legislation can become a chip bargain between German chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, exchanging endorsement of directive for agreement to construct North Stream 2. She called European citizens n individual member-state to continue resistance to EU directive, proposed by the European Commission.

The European Pirate party warns that the directive in its current form will damage the freedom of expression, and intrude into privacy of European citizens.

The only way to even try to limit file sharing, is to introduce complete surveillance of everybody’s private communication. There is no way to separate private messages from copyrighted material without opening the message and checking the contents. Out goes the postal secret, the right to communicate in private with your lawyer or your web-cam flirt, or your whistle-blower protection if you want to give a sensitive story to a journalist“, Christian Engström from Sweden Pirate party warns.

The supporters of the directive claim that the positive change can be expressed in the following fields:

  • Internet platforms are liable for content that users upload
  • Some uploaded material, such as memes or GIFs, now specifically excluded from directive
  • Hyperlinks to news articles, accompanied by “individual words or very short extracts”, can be shared freely
  • Journalists must get a share of any copyright-related revenue obtained by their news publisher
  • Start-up platforms subject to lighter obligations

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.

 

Brexit extension not guaranteed

Although there is an understanding that Brexit without a legal framework would be a catastrophe, the ‘open end‘ extension of Article 50 is not considered as an option for Members of European Parliament (MEP), who consider it would import British political crisis from the Westminster, and  block the development of the European Union. There is also a concern that Brexit crisis might ‘hijack‘ the European elections, imposing its own agenda.While the MEPs recommend, it is up to the European Council to decide if an extension can be granted, and for what period of time.

Julie GIRLING, MEP (EPP, UK), explains that the request to shift the UK departure deadline (March 29) might be refused as a result of the alliance between Matteo Salvini Eurosceptic Lega and Nigel Farage Brexit party, insisting “Leave means leave’“.

 

 

 

Black-white paper on terrorism victims

Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Maite Pagazaurtundua-Ruiz (Spain, ALDE) composed a list of people killed in terrorist attacks on the European Union (EU) soil between 2000 and 2018. MEP also has drawn the other list of the European citizens murdered outside the bloc external borders during of the same period. The conclusions of his “White and Black Book of Terrorism” will be presented on March 5, in partnership with the French Association of Victims of Terrorism (AFVT). A tribute to the missing, aged from 1 to 90 years old.

Anticipating the event in the European Parliament the Center for the Analysis of Terrorism (CAT) posted on Twitter micro blog the charter of Le Parisien on terrorism:

“White and black paper terrorism in Europe: census of 1.868 dead (90% victims of Islamist terrorism) from 2000 to 2018 including 753 in Europe. 379 French victims in Europe and worldwide since 2000”.

 

The CAT provides a unique ability of research and analysis on terrorism and response strategies, with a focus on the organizational, financial and spatial patterns of terrorist activities.

MEP Maite Pagazaurtundua-Ruiz, who launched the project, lost a brother murdered by the Basque separatist organization ETA.

The presentation of the report will take place in European Parliament, Brussels on March 5.

 

 

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