Tag Archives: MEP

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

Gomes MEP on “political prisoners” in Spain

Ana GOMES MEP (Portugal, S&D) raises concerns about the policy of Pedro Sanchez government, dealing with the Catalan independence issue as if it is a legal problem, instead of acknowledging its political nature. Gomes promotes dialogue between Madrid and Barcelona, breaking the deadlock through talks. She is also concerned about the methods of repressing of Catalan politicians, reminiscent of times of General Franco regime. “Yes, I have to acknowledge it, there are political prisoners in Spain“, Gomessaid. She criticises the position of the Human rights Commissioner Frans Timmermans, who prefers to ignore the existence of political prisoners in SpainGomes questions the freedom of press in Spain, and inquires if there is a practice of self-censorship among mass media journalists in covering Catalan issue. Among the prisoners is the former colleague of Ana Gomes – MEP Raül Romeva i Rueda appointed later the Minister for External and Institutional Relations of Catalonia.

Tannock MEP on Brexit: who blinks first?

Charles TANNOCK (UK, ECR) shares his views on a possibility of no-deal Brexit, underlining that the EU27 top negotiator Michel Barnier has no mandate to re-open the endorsed Article 50 deal. MEP also explains the need to keep the ‘backstop‘ as a part of the UK-EU deal, guaranteeing avoidance of a hard border between the Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland. Tannock privileges a ‘softBrexit scenario, preserving economic benefits though a transition period, allowing economies to adjust to new realities. (From European Parliament Plenary, Strasbourg)

 

Starbatty MEP: get off your high horse!

Joachim STARBATTY MEP (Germany, ECR) criticised Chancellor Merkel silence, while no-deal Brexit “catastrophe” is looming. It is impossible to leave under WTO rules, he said. “Nigel Farage is not an economist, he does not understand what he is talking about”. The deal is imperative MEP added, otherwise huge damages to economies are inevitable. “We have to talk about it“, he continued. “Our politicians are sitting on too “high horse”, STARBATTY  concluded, calling them to abandon their claims of superiority, and come closer to real life.

EU-Japan ‘strategic partners’ era

From December 2018 to February 2019 EU-Japan relations are set to receive a major lift with the signing of a new trade agreement and a strategic partnership.

Although EU and Japan already enjoy good relations, they have agreed to upgrade their partnership against a background of increasing international tensions and protectionism.

The proposed trade agreement will make it easier for European companies to export to Japan, while a planned strategic partnership will boost cooperation on common challenges such as security and the environment.

 

The European Parliament endorsed both proposals of the Commission during the December plenary. The Council will also have to approve both agreements before they can enter into force.

EU companies export more than €58 billion worth of goods and €28 billion in services to Japan a year, but the trade agreement will boost this even further by removing remaining barriers to trade. This includes eliminating 90% of tariffs on more than 90% of the EU’s exports to Japan. This is expected to save EU exporters about €1 billion in customs duties a year. In addition, Japan will recognise the special status of more than 200 European agricultural products from specific regions, known as Geographical Indications. Measures will also be taken to lower non-tariff barriers, for example by relying on international standards rather than specific Japanese requirements.

The EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement sends a timely signal in support of open, fair, values- and rules-based trade at a time of increasing protectionism and an erratic trade policy by US President Donald Trump. This agreement also represents an opportunity for the European Union (EU) in the Asia-Pacific, especially since the US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) regional free trade agreement, and helps promote EU values and high standards in the region.”  MEP Pedro SILVA PEREIRA a Portuguese member of the S&D group, said the agreement was being concluded at an important time:

“This agreement will foster not only closer bilateral economic ties, but also concrete cooperation on sustainable development like the fight against climate change. The agreement can, in addition, enhance coordination on multilateral issues with Japan and help shape rules for the global economy in line with our high standards and shared values of respect for human rights, democracy and the rules of law” the MEP added.

MEPs said they saw the agreements as possible models for cooperation with other countries.

It is the first EU trade agreement with a commitment to the implementation of the Paris Agreement to combat climate change and with dedicated chapters on corporate governance and small and medium-sized enterprises. The agreement also upholds the EU’s high standards on environmental protection, consumer protection, food safety and labour rights, protects public services and respects the right to regulate
Silva Perreira said.

The two agreements have been possible because the EU and Japan are like-minded partners with shared values of democracy and a common vision for global trade and cooperation… high standards and the readiness to address current global challenges should be the cornerstone of future cooperation agreements” MEP Alojz
Peterle said.

EU Court ruled UK can cancel Brexit

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that the UK has right to  cancel their request to withdraw form the European Union (EU) under Article 50 procedure, commonly known as Brexit, without asking for permission from other member states of the bloc.

The decision followed the opinion given last week in a less official and not binding procedure to the court from a top European law expert.

The case was brought by a group of Scottish lawmakers who sought a legal ruling on the UK request under Article 50 to leave the EU could be unilaterally revoked before the deadline of March 29, 2019.

10:00 AMENDED:

In his comment the leader of the UKIP Gerard Batten (MEP) said that if the House of Commons ends Brexit, it will be an ‘act of betrayal unique in our history”.

10:10 AMENDED:

The full text of the ruling is published on the European Court of Justice site:

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