Tag Archives: MEP

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.

 

 

Europarl: Puigdemont attends Catalan expo

Today the former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont as a guest of honor attended a photo exhibition The Catalan Language: 10 million European Voices”taking place in central location of the European Parliament –  Atrium of Altiero Spinelli building. 

The event was inaugurated by Ramon Tremosa (MEP, ALDE).

“The Catalan language, 10 million European voices” was organised in co-operation between Plataforma per la Llengua (Platform for the Language) and MEP Ramon Tremosa (PDeCAT).

Although crowded, the event was not overwhelmed by visitors, as it usually happens when Carles Puigdemont is present, because the information passed that the vernissage was ‘suspended‘. The relevant announcement appeared on the Catalan site ‘El Nacional‘:

Another veto from the European Parliament towards another Catalan event. This time, the chamber has suspended an exhibition on the Catalan language planned for 4th March, saying it is “no longer appropriate” given the snap Spanish general election at the end of April. The exhibition was scheduled for two days before an event with far-right party Vox which is currently still happening”

Apparently the ban was lifted, and the exhibition on Catalan language will be available to the visitors of the European Parliament this week. However for many it is regrettable to fail to attend the event with Carles Puigdemont, who is held in high esteem by general public in Belgium, and by Brussels international press corps, always eager to interview the Catalan high-profile politician in exile.

MEP: Catalan trials reminiscent of comrade Stalin ‘justice’

The Calalan trials in Madrid are reminiscent of ‘Vishinky justice’  of comrade Stalin style dealing with his political opponents“, said Indrek Tarand, Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Estonia, while commenting on the accusations of the Catalan politicians. MEP is definite about the status of all the Catalans accused at High Court in Madrid as ‘prisoners of conscious“, and he also sees the sinister parallels between Spain’s political system oppressive methods and the extinct USSR.

“In democracy, debating and talking about everything is normal and logical. In democracy, voting is not a crime. We have made it very clear” said the former speaker of the Catalan parliament, Carme Forcadell to the judges in Spain’s Supreme Court in Madrid.

Spain’s public prosecutor has requested prison 17 years of sentence for her. Forcadell, is the first of among  accused of rebellion Catalan politicians  to take her case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg.

Her lawyers have already presented her appeal to ECHR arguing  the gross disproportion of her pre-trial detention. Forcadell has been under this restriction since 23rd March 2018.

Before the arrest Forcadell used to be the president of the Catalan parliament when lawmakers passed referendum laws and voted on the declaration of independence, perceived as a “rebellion” by Madrid.

In her testimonyForcadell underlined that it was not within her competences to assess the “constitutionality” of parliamentary proposals, and said that “censorship can’t be allowed in parliament.” Former speaker Forcadell denied that the declaration of independence actually passed, as it was included in the preamble of a resolution and was therefore just a “political statement.

The first phase of the Catalan independence trial is completed, after 12 politicians and activists charged for calling a referendum and declaring independence in 2017 gave their testimony.

The accused, including former members of the Catalan government, defended themselves against accusations such as violent rebellion, sedition, misuse of public funds, and disobedience.

 

 

Batumi port enlargement under fire

Sajjad Karim MEP (UK, ECR),  the Chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with the South Caucasus,  welcomed the development of the Batumi port,  underlining  Georgia strategic situation on the East-West transportation route.

The country has the potential to become an important transportation hub, which would in turn boost its economic growth, including in the Adjaria region“, Karim said.

The impressive economic development of Adjaria is in contrast with the economic stagnation of Georgia’s occupied regions, in particular, Abkhazia, which could have experienced a similar economic development, had it not been invaded and occupied”, MEP continued.

In spite of the overall positive assessment of Batumi  boom in the building sector, contributing to the economy, the Chair of the Delegation has expressed his concerns about  “many accidents – sometimes deadly” which  have happened to construction workers during this period.

“I call on the Georgian authorities to ensure that labour law and safety standards are duly implemented” Sajjad Karim concluded.

The concerns over labor safety are not the only issue, raised by Members of the European Parliament, while evaluating the perspective of the Batumi port enlargement.

The prominent French ecologist, the founder of the independent Commission on Chernobyl disaster Michèle Rivasi MEP (The Greens) considers imperative the launch of an independent research of the impact of the Batumi port enlargement on the environment, and health, but also confirm that the project is profitable.

“It is absolutely necessary that there are consultations with the citizens, and there is an independent research, and upon all these elements the citizens will decide, but it is not up to the gas lobby to decide in the place of the citizens“, – Rivasi explained her vision of the future of the project.

The Batumi port enlargement became a subject to polemics after Azerbaijan and Georgia signed a contract on the construction of a terminal for mineral fertilizers (carbamide) on January 14.  The inhabitants of the area, ecologists, and a member of the Georgian March movement Valerian Meburishvili have been protesting against the construction of the terminal, presuming the project is designed to transport dangerous for people and environment toxic substances, potentially damaging human health, and sea life.

Trammo group (USA) formerly known as Transammonia, Inc. intends to invest $20 million in the construction of the terminal. Transammonia is the world’s largest private company in fertilizer trading.

 

 

 

STOP Malta birds massacre!

MEP Anja Hazekamp (The Netherlands) asked the Commissioner for Environment K for action against Malta, refusing to put an end to the spring hunting of migratory birds.  The MEP picketed the main entrance of the European Parliament in Brussels at Simone Veil Agora to display the sign of ban for migratory birds killings.

    • Malta is a hosting place for some 170 species of birds migrating between Europe and Africa. But poachers kill or capture up to 200,000 wild birds every year — a problem widespread across the Mediterranean.
    • In particular, illegal trapping of birds such as finches continues to persist in Malta, despite the European Court of Justice ruling against Malta for allowing the trapping of protected species.
    • To legalize finch trapping within the framework of European law, Malta used a legal maneuver called a derogation by claiming that finch trapping was a traditional practice in the country.
    • Such legal derogation is being used as a smokescreen to illegally trap finches and other protected species not just in Malta but in other countries as well.

The vast majority of these birds, including white storks (Ciconia ciconia) and black storks (Ciconia nigra), are strictly protected under the European Union’s Birds Directive of 1972. But in Malta, poachers kill or capture up to 200,000 wild birds every year: shooting them for food, taxidermy or simply target practice, or trapping them to keep as pets or live hunting decoys.

As they come in to magnificent Malta islands, the migratory birds are confronted by 10,000 hunters with the a cynical motto, “if it flies… it dies,”  launching the massacre. So far the Maltese Government not only tolerates but encourages and protects the abuse of the EU law on wildlife protection, referring to centuries old ‘cultural’ tradition. The referendum (2015) showed the public opinion divided; the pro-hunting camp had won by 2,200 votes, with 126,434 votes in favour of keeping the spring hunt alive and 124,214 against. (Image below: trapped bird).

Malta bird

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