Tag Archives: MEPs

MEPs label Russia “sponsor of terrorism”

Strasbourg 24.11.2022 Following the atrocities carried out by Vladimir Putin’s regime against Ukrainian civilians, MEPs have recognised Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.

On Wednesday, Parliament adopted a resolution on the latest developments in Russia’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine. MEPs highlight that the deliberate attacks and atrocities committed by Russian forces and their proxies against civilians in Ukraine, the destruction of civilian infrastructure and other serious violations of international and humanitarian law amount to acts of terror and constitute war crimes. In light of this, they recognise Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism and as a state that “uses means of terrorism”.

As the EU currently cannot officially designate states as sponsors of terrorism, Parliament calls on the EU and its member states to put in place the proper legal framework and consider adding Russia to such a list. This would trigger a number of significant restrictive measures against Moscow and have profound restrictive implications for EU relations with Russia.

In the meantime, MEPs call on the Council to include the Russian paramilitary organisation ‘the Wagner Group’, the 141st Special Motorized Regiment, also known as the “Kadyrovites”, and other Russian-funded armed groups, militias and proxies, on the EU’s terrorist list.

Parliament calls on the European Union to further isolate Russia internationally, including when it comes to Russia’s membership of international organisations and bodies such as the United Nations Security Council. MEPs also want diplomatic ties with Russia to be reduced, EU contacts with official Russian representatives to be kept to the absolute minimum and Russian state-affiliated institutions in the EU spreading propaganda around the world to be closed and banned.

Against the backdrop of the Kremlin’s escalating acts of terror against Ukrainian civilians, the resolution further calls on EU member states in the Council to swiftly complete its work on a ninth sanctions package against Moscow. MEPs also want EU countries to actively prevent, investigate and prosecute any circumvention of current sanctions and, together with the European Commission, consider possible measures against countries trying to help Russia circumvent restrictive measures already put in place.

The resolution was adopted by 494 votes in favour, 58 against with 44 abstentions.

For more information on the designation of states as sponsors of terrorism and similar legal frameworks in other countries, check out the latest briefing by the European Parliament’s Research Service.

MEPs condemn Belarus for political justice

Strasbourg 24.11.2022 The European Parliament strongly condemns the unjustified and politically motivated sentences handed down to more than 1 400 political prisoners in Belarus, among others members of the so-called “Autukhovich twelve”. It also denounces the ongoing incarceration of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Ales Bialiatski and urges the regime of Belarusian dictator Aliaksandr Lukashenka to ensure his release ahead of the award ceremony in Oslo on 10 December. (Image above: archive)

While endorsing the Belarusian democratic opposition’s position that Belarus should be recognised as an occupied territory from which Russian troops should immediately withdraw, Parliament strongly condemns the Lukashenka government’s involvement in Russia’s war against Ukraine.

The resolution notes that the Belarusian regime shares responsibility with Russia for war crimes in Ukraine, for which it should be held accountable before an international tribunal and the International Criminal Court.

In addition, MEPs reiterate their call on EU countries and the European Commission to strictly impose the same sanctions on Belarus that they have imposed on Russia. They also encourage the EU institutions to support Belarusian independent news outlets such as Nexta . and call for more systematic cooperation between the EU and representatives of Belarusian democratic forces.

The resolution was adopted by show of hands. F

MEPs: human rights in Afghanistan concerns

Strasbourg 24.11.2022 On Thursday, the European Parliament adopted three resolutions on the respect for human rights in Afghanistan, Belarus and Democratic Republic of Congo. (Image above: European Parliament building, Strasbourg)

Human rights situation in Afghanistan, especially the deterioration of women’s rights and attacks against educational institutions

The staggering regression in women and girls’ rights under the Taliban qualifies as gender apartheid, warn MEPs. They call on Afghanistan’s de facto authorities to ensure that women can again actively participate in public life. This must be a key condition, they say, if the international community is to engage with the Taliban. Denouncing the egregious ban on secondary education for girls, Parliament recalls the Taliban’s promises that women’s access to education would be restored and demands that the Taliban now honour their own commitments.)

Parliament deeply regrets that, since the Taliban takeover, access to information has become increasingly difficult, journalistic independence has been curtailed, and civil society organisations have been subjected to increasing pressure.

MEPs also express their alarm at the devastating impact of climate change and environmental degradation in Afghanistan, which is ranked by the UN as the sixth country in the world most affected by climate-related threats, and call for urgent action by the international community to help Afghans address this dramatic situation.

Finally, MEPs ask the EU to establish a long-term strategy on Afghanistan in light of the current situation and the failure of the Taliban to deliver on any of their initial promises.

The resolution was adopted by 532 votes in favour, 8 against with 25 abstentions.

MEPs against funding Hungary

Strasbourg 24.11.2022 Commission and Council should resist pressure from Hungary and go ahead with adopting the proposed rule of law conditionality measures to suspend EU cohesion funds.

In a resolution passed on Thursday by 416 votes in favour, 124 against and 33 abstentions, MEPs say that the 17 remedial measures negotiated by the Commission and Hungary are “not sufficient to address the existing systemic risk to the EU’s financial interests”, even if implemented fully.

They call on EU member states to adopt the proposed measures under the Conditionality Regulation in order to protect the EU budget against breaches of the principles of the rule of law in Hungary, and to lift them only after the Hungarian remedial measures have had a sustainable effect. “If these measures are reversed in the future, the Union should proceed to financial correction”, they add.

Regarding Hungary’s recovery and resilience plan (RRF), they deplore that, because of the government’s actions, recovery funds have not yet reached the Hungarian people. According to the EP, the risk of misuse of EU funds in Hungary remains and the Commission should not approve Hungary’s RRF plan until the country has fully complied with all recommendations in the field of the rule of law and all relevant judgments of the EU Court and the Court of Human Rights.

Pressure from Hungary and final beneficiaries

MEPs call on the Commission and Council not to give in to the pressure Hungary is exerting on them by blocking crucial EU decisions, such as €18 billion in macro-financial aid to Ukraine and the global minimum corporate tax rate deal. This “abuse” of the rule on voting by unanimity should “not have any impact” on the decisions regarding the Hungarian recovery plan and the application of the rule of law conditionality legislation, the text says.

Parliament stresses that final beneficiaries of EU funds should not be deprived of support due to their government’s lack of cooperation, and call on the Commission to find ways to distribute EU funds via local governments and NGOs.

Finally, MEPs complain that the proposal to trigger the Conditionality Regulation against Hungary has been long overdue and does not go far enough -“after a long delay and with too limited a scope”. Parliament urges the Commission to take action also concerning other breaches of the rule of law, particularly those relating to the independence of the judiciary.
On 18 September 2022, the Commission proposed to freeze 7.5 billion euro in EU funds for Hungary, citing corruption and public procurement concerns, after having triggered the rule of law conditionality mechanism against Hungary in April.

After negotiations with the Commission, Hungary has presented 17 remedial measures, such as creating an anti-corruption task force and changes to its public procurement rules, to address the concerns.

The Council has until 19 December to take a decision, by qualified majority, based on a Commission proposal.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government has said that it was willing to pay its share of support for Ukraine but would rather pay it bilaterally than through the EU’s joint borrowing.

“The government continues to be committed to take part in financial support to war-gripped Ukraine,” the decree reads.

Europarliament birthday celebrations

Strasbourg 20.11.2022 MEPs will mark the creation of the Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1952, with a ceremony in the hemicycle on Tuesday at 11.30.

EP President Roberta Metsola will open the ceremony with a statement, followed by plenary speeches by the Prime Ministers of Parliament’s three host countries – French Prime Minister Ms Élisabeth Borne, Mr Alexander de Croo of Belgium, and Luxembourg’s Mr Xavier Bettel. The ceremony will finish with an orchestra performance of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.

10 September 2022 marked the 70th anniversary of the first meeting of the Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). Convened in 1952, it comprised 78 appointed parliamentarians from the national parliaments of each member state. In 1958, following the creation of the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community, the Common Assembly of the ECSC was enlarged and renamed the ”European Parliamentary Assembly”. In 1962, it adopted the name “European Parliament”.

The official ceremony with the participation of dignitaries will take place on Tuesday 22 November.

ECR: President Putin – Russia Deep State

Strasbourg 04.10.2022 “With timely debates on Russia’s hybrid threats and the war it is waging on Ukraine over the week, ECR Coordinator on Foreign Affairs MEP Anna Fotyga has invited a panel of renowned Russian and Ukrainian politicians, historians and dissidents to participate in a high-level conference entitled “Not Only Putin – Russia’s Deep State, Society, and Foreign Assets in the War Against Ukraine” writes the the European Conservatives and Reformists Group of the European Parliament (ECR). ECR is a centre-right political group in the European Parliament, established in 2009 under the founding principles of the Prague Declaration. These principles brought together MEPs from across the European Union who supported a vision of common sense reform for the whole EU.

“​Ms Fotyga will be joined by co-host MEP Kosma Złotowski, historian Yuri Felshtinsky, Russian politician llya Ponomarev – the only State Duma Member who voted against the annexation of Crimea in 2014, Oleksiy Arestovych – Adviser to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Mark Feygin – Russian lawyer and politician – former MP and Vice-Mayor of Samara, and Russian scientist, political writer and analyst Andrei Piontkovsky. Participants will share their views on the prospects of dealing with Russian aggression and putting an end to its imperialism once and for all. The conference will also be streamed live in both English and Russian languages from the ECR Group’s and Anna Fotyga’s social media channels”.

EU: Ukraine €1 bn macro-financial loan

Strasbourg 07.07.2022 On Thursday, MEPs gave the green light to a €1 billion macro-financial loan to help Ukraine cover its external financing needs that have ballooned due to the war. (Image above: illustration).

Parliament agreed to a Commission proposal to provide Kyiv with an additional loan on highly favourable terms, on top of €1.2 billion disbursed already in March and May 2022. The current amount is the first tranche of upcoming exceptional macro-financial assistance worth €9 billion.

Ukraine’s external financing needs ballooned due to the Russian invasion: besides the tremendous damage to roads, bridges, factories, houses, hospitals and other physical infrastructure, the country has also lost its access to the international financial markets. As a result, Ukraine is short $39 billion (€37.3 billion) to meet its financing needs for 2022, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The loan serves as “swift financial support in a situation of acute funding needs and to ensure the continued functioning of the most critical functions of the Ukrainian state”, the proposal states. It will be disbursed in one instalment conditional on fulfilling various criteria including enhanced transparency and reporting on its use. The EU budget will exceptionally finance the interest costs.

A precondition for granting the assistance should be that Ukraine respects effective democratic mechanisms despite the concentration of power in the executive branch during the war, the proposal states.

The resolution, adopted under the urgent procedure, passed with 522 votes for, 17 against and 25 abstentions.

Macro-financial assistance is an emergency resource, provided on highly favourable terms, for EU neighbourhood countries struggling to pay their bills. The total amount of such favourable loans from the EU to Ukraine since the start of the war will reach €2.2 billion in 2022, and could reach up to €10 billion if the whole exceptional package is agreed upon.

Ukraine corruption index in 2021 indicated 23% public services users paid a bribe in last 12 months, overall Ukraine scores 122 place from 180 countries, where the research took place.

The measure will apply on the day following its publication in the Official Journal of the EU

MEPs: nuclear joins “green” energies

Strasbourg 07.07.2022 The European Parliament has rejected a motion to oppose the inclusion of nuclear and gas as environmentally sustainable economic activities. (Image above: illustration).

The European Parliament did not object to the Commission’s Taxonomy Delegated Act to include specific nuclear and gas energy activities, under certain conditions, in the list of environmentally sustainable economic activities covered by the so-called EU Taxonomy.

As the Commission believes there is a role for private investment in gas and nuclear activities in the green transition, it has proposed the classification of certain fossil gas and nuclear energy activities as transitional activities contributing to climate change mitigation.

The inclusion of certain gas and nuclear activities is time-limited and dependent on specific conditions and transparency requirements.

278 MEPs voted in favour of the resolution, 328 against and 33 abstained. An absolute majority of 353 MEPs was needed for Parliament to veto the Commission’s proposal. If neither Parliament, nor Council object to the proposal by 11 July 2022, the Taxonomy Delegated Act will enter into force and apply as of 1 January 2023.

The Taxonomy regulation is part of the Commission’s action plan on financing sustainable growth and aims to boost green investments and prevent ‘greenwashing’.

MEPs welcome Israel Immigration Minister

Brusssels 14.06.2022 Today the Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi addressed the European Parliament Conference on “Ukrainian humanitarian crisis: Current EU efforts and the Israeli experience” welcoming Israel’s Minister for Immigration and Absorption, Pnina Tamano Shata, who visited Brussels for a conference and series of meetings with the Members of the Parliament (MEPs).

“Let me start by warmly welcoming Minister Tamano-Shata to Brussels. I would also like to express my appreciation for MEPs Antonio Lopez-Isturiz and Bert-Jan Ruissen and also the President of the European Parliament, for not only hosting this event, but for your dedication to EU-Israel partnership. And many thanks also for Rabbi Margolin for not only organising this event, but for your commitment to foster and protect Jewish life in Europe and beyond” Olivér Várhelyi underlined.

“It is my pleasure to address you today on this timely topic “How the EU and Israel align in their support to Ukraine. We are living in turbulent times. In addition to the socio-economic challenges of the COVID pandemic, we are now facing the consequences of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

“The war is back on our continent, with immense suffering to the Ukrainian people and massive destruction of the country. We do not yet know how this conflict will be resolved. We do not yet know what the casualties and the damage are going to be. But we do know that the human suffering it has caused is enormous…” Commissioner said.

“The State of Israel, from its very founding, has always been a nation of immigrants and refugees.the State of Israel was established as the State of the Jewish People, many of whom arrived as refugees in the last century after war world tow ,many of them survived the Holocaust. In fact, it was these immigrants and refugees who built the state” Minister Tamano-Shata said.

“Therefore, a cornerstone of every Israeli government is our duty to help immigrants and refugees who are eligible to become citizens under the Law of Return. And I am thankful that over the past months, I have been able to continue to carry out this national mission’ the Minister continued.

“In the personal level, These days, more than ever, I feel deeply that it is a great privilege to be one of the decision-makers in the government working to provide extensive humanitarian aid to Ukrainian refugees escaping the war zone”.

Meeting with Commissioner Varheyli, the European Parliament Vice-President Nicola Beer, cross-party MEPs and Ambassadors from the EU, Israel and Ukraine, the Minister underlined the role played by Israel in helping refugees from Ukraine feel at home.

The co-organiser of the event the Brussels-based European Jewish Association (EJA), representing hundreds of communities and thousands of Jews across the European continent has played a prominent role in enhancing the visit of the Israel Minister. The EJA efforts were highly appreciated by the Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi and the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs).

Metsola:”Europe is future”

Strasbourg 09.05.2022 The President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola addressed the opening speech of The State of the Union 2022 at the European University Institute in Florence.
In her speech ‘Is Europe fit for the next generation?’, she encouraged European citizens and leaders to believe, to be confident and to use this difficult moment in time as an opportunity for change.

“…In my first address as President of the European Parliament I described myself as part of the generation that sees no old and no new Europe. We are the first of the Erasmus generation, the last of the Wałęsa, Kohl and Havel generation.

“What I meant was that I am part of the Europe generation. 18 years ago on the 1st May, I was standing in Valletta with what felt like the entire country, at midnight staring across the sea in our Grand Harbour as we counted the minutes and the seconds until Malta, together with nine other countries, joined the European Union as Member States.
I still recall the feeling of unbridled possibility, hope and belief in the future. A sort of sense of homecoming, of victory in the potential of our people, of relief, of joy – feelings shared by millions across Europe.

“With war in Europe, today, it is that spirit, that sense of purpose, of enthusiasm, of a clear direction, that I want our European project to re-capture.
People in Ukraine, in Moldova and Georgia, and still in the Western Balkans, are now looking to Europe, with the same sense of belonging and hope.

“And I want people to believe as we did. And to do that we need to understand that we are not just an economic bloc, we are not just about free movement, or about abolishing roaming charges. For my generation, Europe is – as cliché as this might sound – about a shared dream. About shared values. About a shared future, about coming together.

“To us, Europe is the future. It has always been the future.
However, we cannot deny that over the last years polarisation in our societies has increased. There are still too many people who feel lost, let down and left out. At the same time many will now look to Europe and to our institutions for leadership. And we need to be able to respond, we need to be able to lead. We must counter the anti-EU narrative that takes hold so easily and so quickly: mis- and dis-information, enhanced by bots and fabricated in Russian troll factories.

“Europe is about the defence of multilateralism. The understanding that we can only face the future together…”

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