Tag Archives: MEP

MEP Puigdemont arrested in Italy

Brussels 24.09.2021 Member of European Parliament, Catalan politician Carles Puigdemont, who fled Spain after a failed secession bid for the region in 2017, was detained Thursday, 23 September, in Sardinia, Italy, his lawyer said.

MEP Puigdemont, who moved to Belgium and was elected there as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), has been fighting extradition to Spain, which accused him and other Catalan independence leaders of sedition.

Lawyer Gonzalo Boye said Puigdemont was detained when he arrived in Sardinia, where he was due to attend a cultural event this weekend.

The circumstances under which Puigdemont was taken into custody were not announced. Boye wrote on Twitter the Catalan politician was detained under a 2019 European arrest warrant, even though it had been previously suspended.

Police at the airport in northern Sardinia didn’t answer phone calls Thursday night after the arrest, the AP news agency writes, while police in the city of Alghero said they weren’t aware of his detention.

The European Parliament voted in March to lift the immunity of Puigdemont and two of his associates. In July the three EU lawmakers failed to have their immunity restored after the European Union’s general court said that they did not demonstrate they were at risk of being arrested.

Sardinian media reported earlier in the week he was due to attend an event in Alghero on Sunday, so his presence on the Mediterranean island had been expected. Sardinian media had also reported that Puigdemont was invited by a Sardinian pro-independence group.

Puigdemont’s office said in a statement that he had traveled to Alghero from Brussels to attend a folklore festival where he was detained upon arrival by Italian police. On Friday, September 24, Puigdemont will appear in front of a judge in the city of Sassari who would rule on whether he should be freed, the statement said.

Puigdemont and a number of his independalist colleagues fled to Belgium in October 2017, fearing arrest after holding an independence referendum for Catalonia that the Spanish courts and government said was illegal.

Nine Catalan independalists received prison sentences for their role in the 2017 referendum ranging from nine to 13 years. They were pardoned in July.

EU: Belarus human rights violations

Brussels 07.06.2021 “Viktar Babaryka was sentenced to 14 years in prison today. He had been held in detention since 18 June 2020, for the sole reason to have tried to exercise his political right to stand as a candidate in the presidential elections in August 2020” reads the statement by the spokesperson on sentencing Viktar Babaryka and other political trials.

“This sentence is one of at least 125 unfair and arbitrary recent verdicts by Belarusian courts in politically motivated trials, often held behind closed doors and without due process of law.

“Today, Belarus has over 530 political prisoners, hundreds of documented instances of torture, and continued repression against all segments of society to silence all dissent and ill treatment in detention centres. The Lukashenko regime clearly violates international human rights that it has committed to uphold. This has been most recently confirmed also by the UN Special Rapporteur on Belarus.

“The EU demands the immediate and unconditional release of Mr Babaryka as well as of all political prisoners, detained journalists and people who are behind bars for exercising their fundamental rights. The regime must halt repression and injustice and hold perpetrators to account.

“The EU will continue its efforts to push for accountability for the brutal repression by the Belarusian authorities. The EU also continues to call for a comprehensive and genuine political dialogue with representatives of the democratic opposition and civil society, facilitated by the OSCE, leading to new free and fair elections.

“Serious human rights violations come at a price. Since last October, the EU has progressively imposed restrictive measures in response to the continued intimidation and violent repression of peaceful protesters, opposition members and journalists. In line with its gradual approach, the EU stands ready to consider further measures”.

Ceuta: Spanish borders are EU borders

Brussels 18.05.2021 The European Council President Charles Michel expressed “full solidarity” with Spain after holding urgent talks with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who cancelled his trip to Paris to address with what he has described a “serious crisis” for both the Iberian country and the EU.

European Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson told the European Parliament that the influx on Monday, May 17, was unprecedented, reportedly among six thousand arrivals about 1,500 are claiming to be minors.

“It is worrying that at least 6,000 people, a big number of them children, have been swimming to Ceuta, putting their life in danger. Many had to be rescued. One person died,” Johansson said.

“…A big number of them children, have been swimming to Ceuta. Putting their life in danger. Many had to be rescued. One person died. The most important thing now is that Morocco continues to commit to prevent irregular departures and that those that do not have the right to stay are orderly and effectively returned.
Spanish borders are European borders. The European Union wants to build a relationship with Morocco based on trust and shared commitments. Migration is a key element in this regard I am following this very closely together with the High Representative / Vice President Josep Borrell, and Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi
and of course, with the Spanish authorities”.

“We cannot rely on third countries to prevent irregular migration anymore! We need to finally start protecting our own borders and return irregular migrants immediately! THIS is what you call border protection, not asking other countries politely to prevent migrants to depart!” the Member of the European Parliament Bernhard Zimniok (AfD, Germany) tweeted in response to the Commissioner Johansson.

MEPs demand Trump to pardon Snowden

«I am sending an open letter signed by 26 Members of the European Parliament from 4 political groups to @realDonaldTrump supporting a pardon to @Snowden. We must not persecute those who put public interest above their personal well-being and security» wrote vice-president of the European Parliament Marcel Kolaja on his Twitter micro blog.

Marcel Kolaja,40, is a Czech software engineer, activist and a Czech Pirate Party who serves as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and a Vice-President of the European Parliament since the 2019 election. He is a member of the Greens–European Free Alliance parliamentary group along with three other European Pirate Party MEPs.
Image above: illustration, European Parliament Strasbourg.

Image below: letter (fragment)

Mariani MEP: Crimean Tatars used for political purposes

Thierry MARIANI Member of the European Parliament (France, Identity & Democracy group) compares the EU policy of support to Islamist groups in Crimea to the U.S. failed strategy in Afghanistan, using the Taliban as a weapon against the USSR. The MEP’s reaction followed the European diplomacy demand of the immediate release of seven men arrested in Crimea on July 9, accused by Russian prosecution of terrorist activities as members of the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami.

Mariani places the reaction of the EU within the context of Brussels policy vis-à-vis Russia, reminding the procedure of the audition of Josep Borrell at the European Parliament, when the future head of the European diplomacy devoted a considerable amount of time to Russia, assigning to it the status of number one foe for the period of his future mandate.

Russia is primary, and the terrorism is secondary, that what M.Borrell thinks“, Mariani underlined, characterising the position of the EU chief of diplomacy. The demand of the immediate liberation of the presumed Hizb ut-Tahrir members, the organisation banned in Germany and the majority of Arab countries, MEP described the as the “continuous obsession” with Russia. Subsequently within this political frame everything that happens in Russia is to be “condemned“, and this goes beyond Russia, reflecting in EU global politics in assessment of different militant groups, par example, in Syria, which in spite of the open terrorist orientation, have been supported by the EU, just because they were enemies of Russia.

“It is the same dangerous game, the Occident has been playing in the 1980-s, when via Pakistani secret services they have been supporting the Islamist organisation in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union. As soon as they were armed, they have not stopped, and look what happens to Afghanistan today” Mariani resumed.

“It is a dangerous mentality considering the enemies of our enemies being by definition our friends” MEP continued. But in reality the “enemies of our enemies” are even more dangerous than our enemies of the first ranks. However the handicap of this policy is also losing out of sight the threat of Islamists, and new challenges, for example rising power of China, Mariani underlined. As the result of this policy the “obsession” with Russia prevails over the proper interests of Europe.

Mariani referred to the consequences of his policy of favouring “enemies of enemies” seen by French recently in a wave of urban violence caused by clashes between Maghreb and Chechen gangs in the streets of Dijon (Burgundy). The events became a moment of revelation, when French discovered that Chechens, who were received as “political refugees” for decades, omitting the fact that some of them were fighting for establishing the Caliphate in Caucasus.

To my regret today the minority of Crimea is used for political purposes” Mariani said.

Considering the situation of the Crimea Tatars, it is clearly improved in comparison to the Ukrainian period, Mariani said, underlining that after the referendum (16.03.2014) all three languages of the three communities of the peninsula – Russian, Ukrainian, and Tatar, – have received equal official status, while during period within Ukrainian sovereignty the uni lingual policy had been conducted.

MEP Mariani has visited Crimea more than twenty times in his capacity of the Member of French Parliament (Assemblée nationale) during 25 years to pay tribute to the fallen soldiers (1872) there. Near Sevastopol lies the biggest military cemetery outside France, and the memorial to more than 90 thousands of slain warriors. As a Member of the parliament Mariani supervised the restoration works at the cemetery, and had an opportunity to observe the situation on Peninsula during the Ukrainian period. Chair of a group of “Friends of Russia” at certain moment Mariani has “stopped to count” the trips to Crimea.

AMENDMENT: Original video in French language from European Parliament Brussels

AMENDEMENT: Statement by the Spokesperson on human rights violations against and the illegal detention of Crimean Tatars by the Russian Federation.

Europarl has no comment on Russian referendum

Statement by Members of the European Parliament David McAllister and Tomas Tobé on the constitutional referendum in Russia.

“A constitutional referendum took place in Russia from 25 June to 1 July.

The European Parliament has not been invited to observe this electoral process, and consequently will neither comment on the process nor on the results that will be announced afterwards. No individual Member of the European Parliament has been mandated to observe or comment on this electoral process on its behalf.

Therefore, any Member of the European Parliament who decided to observe this electoral process in the Russian Federation, or in the illegally annexed Crimean peninsula, where the European Union does not and will not recognise the holding of this consultation, has done so on her/his own initiative and should under no circumstances through any statement or action, associate her/his participation with the European Parliament.”

Mr McAllister (EPP, DE) and Mr Tobé (EPP, SE) are Co-Chairs of the European Parliament’s Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group.

Image: European Parliament building, Strasbourg

Turkey neo-Sultan «Sword-law»

Costas MAVRIDES OPINION In modern neo-Ottoman Turkey, there is a hysteria for new conquests, while disrespecting of international law and fundamental ethics. On a daily basis, actions and statements of Turkish officials (from Erdogan and his ministers) are made with complete contempt for International and EU Law, while different voices are silenced or persecuted.

Such a different voice is one by Burak Bekdil, a well known journalist who was fired from Turkey’s leading newspaper after 29 years, for writing at “Gatestone” about what is taking place in Turkey! In his latest article at Gatestone (“Turkey: Erdoğan Wishes “Many More Happy Conquests”), Bekdil focused on the hypocrisy and arrogance of modern Turkey on the occasion of the celebrations of the fall of Constantinople, during which President Erdogan referred to, not only to the past conquests, but to the “many more happy conquests” in the future. The question posed by the now persecuted journalist is straight forward: What are these non-Turkish countries and territories that Erdogan expects to conquer? As the journalist stressed, the prevailing distortion and arrogance in today’s Turkish politics is based on the Ottoman “Law of the Sword”: the conqueror can rule a conquered country or territory according to his desires.

The “spirit of conquest” is dominant in the modern Turkish political scene and infects daily life within and outside of Turkey e.g. attacks and destruction of churches and cemeteries, forced disappearances, torture, murders, imprisonment, persecution. Such crimes are ‘washed away’ by the Turkish state apparatus, given that courts in Turkey are Erdogan’s tool so that such criminals are easily acquitted, and many turn into … national heroes! Under the same hypocrisy and arrogance, other ethnic groups and non-Muslims are purged, and churches turned into mosques. The depredation of property, a criminal act by all means, if committed on behalf of conquest, is hailed as a heroic achievement. In fact, in Turkish educational system, there is a special celebration for the conquests!

Conquests and arrogance are at the core of Turkey’s current ‘spread’ (e.g. sending jihadists and weapons to Libya, before the eye of the EU and NATO, despising UN Security Council arms embargo). Incidentally, it was recently announced that ethnic cleansing of Kurdish and other populations in the Turkish-occupied Afrin region of Syria, had been completed. Such crimes of conquest, ethnic cleansing and colonization continue unpunished in Cyprus, while new illegal actions are in process in the Cyprus EEZ, the Aegean, and the Eastern Mediterranean.

Before this neo-Ottoman “Law of the Sword”, the prevailing political perception in EU, is that dialogue should prevail, while the neo Sultan of Turkey is advancing. History repeats itself but very few learn from it.

Costas Mavrides, Member of European Parliament

Chair of the Political Committee of the Mediterranean

Image: Recep Tayyip Erdogan

COVID19: Schengen area in question

Today the Civil Liberties Committee Chair, Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES) issued a statement on the reintroduction of border controls at some Schengen internal borders due to coronavirus.

In the last days, several EU member states have reintroduced border controls at their internal borders within the Schengen area or even closed them for certain categories of travellers while some further member states are considering such measures.

https://twitter.com/jflopezaguilar/status/1239490433132224512?s=21

“As Chair of Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee, while I fully share the need for public policy measures restricting social interaction to slow down the spread of the Coronavirus, I urge member states to take their measures in full respect of the principles of proportionality and, above all, solidarity among EU Member States, non-discrimination and the applicable Schengen rules. It is key that when taking measures no discrimination is made between EU citizens.

“It is only through a coordinated approach, rather than actions taken by individual Member States, that we will be successful in addressing the challenge we are all facing.

“The Civil Liberties committee is closely monitoring the situation and expects the Commission, the Council Presidency and the member states to protect all benefits of the Schengen area.”

Image: border control, source: social media.

MAVRIDES: Erdogan supports jihadists in Idlib

During February Plenary the Members of European Parliament discussed the crisis in Idlib, reacting upon aggravated hostilités between Syrian Army and groups of Islamist fighers, backed by Turkey. The ongoing shelling caused a new ordeal for civilians in de-escalation zone in Idlib, agreed between Ankara and Moscow (2018) to protect refugees and prevent the flow of refugees north to Turkey.

Over 140,000 Syrians have been displaced in just three days under the offensive in the north-west of the country.

Accroding to Astana agreement Turkey was supposed to separate the armed opposition, ready for dialogue within the framework of the Syrian political process, from the militants of Khayyat Tahrir al-Sham (or Hetech, active Salafist jihadist militant group, organised as a result of fusion of six smaller ones). At the same time, the terrorists had to leave Idlib, and the pro-Turkish moderate opposition – to stay, but to withdraw all heavy weapons from the province. In fact, by the beginning of 2019, the Khayyat Tahrir Al-Sham Islamist group had established full control over the territory of Idlib. Provided by weapons and resources from Turkish territory, the fighters started to undertake raids outside the demilitarized zone, to bombard the nearest cities (for example, Aleppo), and to threaten the Russian military base Khmeimim.

Syria’s government, backed by Russia, has launched an offensive on Idlib province and southern and western Aleppo, the last stronghold jihadist armed groups.

Reacting upon the situation in Idlib, the chair of the Delegation to Mediterranean MEP Costas MAVRIDES underlined the necessity to continue eliminating terrorism in Syria, representing threat to Europe.

…Our priority is the elimination of terrorism of co-called Islamic State, and associated jihadist groups, but in has been for some years, and recently in Idlib, that number one supporter of jihadists is Turkey, and personally President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan” MAVRIDES said.

This week through the southern province of Hatay to the north-west of Syria additional military equipment and army special forces are being transferred.

Another convoy with special forces from various military units of Turkey proceeded to Idlib on February 13 during night hours. Electronic warfare complexes (EW) and armored medical vehicles were also deployed to the area of Turkish “observation posts”.

At present Turkish generals are following the order of the President and Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the country, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to strengthen their “observation posts” in the Idlib de-escalation zone, which have long gone beyond monitoring the situation on the ground.

The “observation” posts of the Turkish Armed Forces in the neighboring Arab Republic have become full-fledged strongholds for Islamic militants supported by Ankara, as well as points from which the positions of the Syrian army are constantly fired upon.

MEPs determined to eradicate FGM

The European Parliament has repeatedly demonstrated a strong commitment to elimination of the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) worldwide. By adopting laws and resolutions, MEPs have advocated common action to eradicate female genital mutilation.

The European Parliament has repeatedly demonstrated a strong commitment to help eliminate the practice of FGM worldwide. By adopting laws and resolutions, MEPs have advocated common action to eradicate female genital mutilation.

On Wednesday, 12 February, members adopted a new resolution calling on the European Commission to include actions to end FGM in the new EU Gender Equality Strategy, to be presented in March, and to provide care for survivors.

They also urged EU countries to ratify the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and reiterated calls to incorporate FGM prevention measures in all policy areas, especially in health, asylum, education and employment.

MEPs also expressed their concerns about the increasingly widespread phenomenon of “medicalisation” of FGM.On Wednesday, 12 February, members adopted a new resolution calling on the European Commission to include actions to end FGM in the new EU Gender Equality Strategy, to be presented in March, and to provide care for survivors.

They also urged EU countries to ratify the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and reiterated calls to incorporate FGM prevention measures in all policy areas, especially in health, asylum, education and employment. MEPs also expressed their concerns about the increasingly widespread phenomenon of “medicalisation” of FGM.

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