Tag Archives: MEP

Puigdemont attends Strasbourg Plenary

In spite of the arrest warrant issued in Madrid, on January 13 Catalan independence leader Carles Puigdemont attended Plenary session in Strasbourg in his right of a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), due to immunity guaranteed by the status.
The former Catalan president has been elected to the European Parliament upon the political programme aiming at independence referendum for Catalonia, legally exiting the Kingdom of Spain.

Upon his arrival to the court of the Europarliament, Puigdemont called for an immediate release from a Spanish jail of Oriol Junqueras, the fellow Catalan MEP

“Mr.Junqueras should be here with us. He has the same rights,” Puigdemont said, backed by the group with posters “Free Junqueras.”

Puigdemont arrived together with the other Catalan MEP, Toni Comín.
Both politicians are wanted in Spain for their role for the 2017 independence referendum, considered ‘illegal” by Madrid. They have narrowly escaped the arrest and persecution in Spain, by fleeing to Belgium, where they continued their activities, struggling for the interests of their electorate.

In a statement made in four languages Catalan, Spanish, French and English, Puigdemont underlined the problem of Catalan protracted argument with Madrid is not a regional, but “European affaire“, because in spite of being the EU member state, Spain does not respect fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens. He also mentioned the extraordinary resources behind the attempts of Spain to prevent him to enter his MEP office. Puigdemont added that he feels no fear in France, because his MEP immunity is respected there. He expressed hope that Spanish judiciary will also respect the decision of the European Court of Justice ruling on 19 December 2019, clearly stating that Junqueras had parliamentary immunity as he was an elected MEP and should have been released from prison.

Junqueras is currently serving a 13-year prison sentence after being convicted in Madrid of sedition and misuse of funds by Spain Supreme Court for his engagement in organising the October 2017 referendum, considered “illegal“. Furthermore he was accused for the subsequent unilateral declaration of independence passed in the Catalan parliament. At the time of the events in 2017, Junqueras was deputy regional president, while Puigdemont was president and Toni Comín a minister in the regional government.

Sassoli cancels Catalan MEP mandate

The European Parliament announced that jailed Catalan politician Oriol Junqueras is no longer Member, ending the protracted argument led by his supporters on his right for immunity, The move has deprived his electorate of hope he could be freed from prison cell due to his MEP status.

Junqueras was elected to the European parliament in May this year, but his term “ended with effect from January 3, 2020” after a decision by the Spanish electoral commission backed by a top court, EP speaker David Sassoli said.

The jailed pro-independence leader had just written to Sassoli (pictured) on December 10 to ask him to confirm his status as an MEP and thus to pressure Spain to keep him out of prison and allow him to take up his seat.

The decision came days after congrtulating Pedro Sanchez, the Spain Socialist Prime Minister, with the election victory.

Congratulations to President Sanchez Castejon for his re-election and transfer my best wishes to his new Government. Spain is a key partner in the EU, we will work together in this new stage and continue our close collaboration for a more just, green and social Europe Sassoli wrote on his Twitter micro blog to member of his European Socialist political family.

AMENDED:

Statement by the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli:

Following the judgement of the Court of Justice of the European Union in case C-502/19, Junqueras Vies, of 19 December 2019, the mandates of Mr Junqueras i Vies, Mr Puigdemont i Casamajó and Mr Comín i Oliveres started on 2 July 2019 on the basis of the official declaration of the results of the elections by the competent Spanish authorities.

“However, taking into account the decision of the Junta Electoral Central of 3 January 2020 and pursuant to the decision of the Tribunal Supremo of 9 January 2020, the mandate of Mr Junqueras i Vies terminated with effect on 3 January 2020.

“It follows from the case-law of the Court of Justice that the European Parliament is obliged to take note without delay of the final decisions of the competent judicial authorities of the Member States.

“Therefore, I will announce in plenary on Monday 13 January 2020 the start of mandate of the three Members on 2 July 2020 and the termination of the mandate of Mr Junqueras i Vies on 3 January 2020. I will ask the competent Spanish authorities to quickly notify to Parliament the name of the new Member.”

Catalan MEPs join Europarl

“Catalan independence leaders Carles Puigdemont and Antoni Comin received temporary accreditation budges or Members of the European Parliament on December 20, a day after the European Union’s high court issued a ruling in their favour.

Till present they were unable to collect their credentials because of the risks of being arrested upon Spain arrest warrant, both politicians, who live in self-imposed exile in Belgium, should get full accreditation in January at the earliest, the president of the European Parliament said.

The ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) also clarified that imprisoned separatist leader Oriol Junqueras was entitled to immunity as an MEP after being elected in May.

Mr Puigdemont and Mr Comin also won European Parliament seats in May but the arrest warrants, issued by Spanish prosecution prevented them from taking their oaths and collecting their MEP credentials.

We are at the place where we should have been six months ago,” Mr Puigdemont told reporters inside the European Parliament, where he and Comin collected their badges.

The former Catalan government president said he is looking forward to taking part in the next parliamentary session in Strasbourg. He also criticised the Spanish judiciary, which he underlined was not independent and could not guarantee the defence of their rights.

Puigdemont faces an arrest warrant from Spain for his role in the 2017 failed independence drive in Catalonia. The warrant is being analysed by Belgium.

EP President calls for Catalan MEP release

Catalan independence leader Oriol Junqueras(pictured)has been protected by the immunity as an Member of the European Parliament when he was jailed by the Spanish Supreme Court , and according the EU Court ruling should be fully restored in his rights, and subsequently given an opportunity to exercice his function.

“I call upon the competent Spanish authorities to align with the ruling. I have given a mandate to the services to evaluate its possible impact on the composition” the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli said.

Following the advice issued last month by Advocate General, Maciej Szpunar, the European Court of Justice said that Junqueras became an MEP from the moment the European election results were announced at the end of May and that he thus “enjoys the immunity guaranteed by Article 9 of the Protocol.

The ECJ also underlined that Junqueras also protected by “the immunity as regards travel” which applies “while they are travelling to the place of meeting of the European Parliament, including to that first sitting”.

Spanish courts prevented Junqueras to take an oath on the country’s constitution, which they say is necessary to become an MEP.

Junqueras, who had been in pre-trial detention since 2017 was elected to the EU Parliament in May 2019 for the Greens/European Free Alliance group.

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 FeinUK) (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.”

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