Tag Archives: MEP

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.

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.

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