Tag Archives: MEPs

Piri MEP believes in Turkey European future

Reacting upon the severe political and democratic regress, the European Parliament recommended suspending EU accession negotiations with Turkey.

If the EU takes its own values seriously, no other conclusion is possible than to formally suspend the talks on EU integration. Our repeated calls to respect fundamental rights have fallen on deaf ears in Ankara. On top of the severe human rights violations, the dismantling of the rule of law and the fact that Turkey holds the world record for the number of journalists in jail, the recently amended constitution consolidates Erdoğan’s authoritarianism” Dutch Socialist MEP Kati Piri Rapporteur on Turkey said.

Kati Piri believes that the definitive closure of the accession talks, suggested by ENF group is a wrong move,  rejecting those forces, who desire change and who share European values. Although fully admitting that today’s Turkey does not match the Copenhagen criteria, she considers crucial to keep the door open for possible positive changes in the future.

“I realize that stopping the accession talks is not a step which will help Turkey’s democrats. For that, the EU leaders must use all possible tools to exert more pressure on the Turkish government. The Parliament, therefore, calls for dedicated funds to be made available to support civil society, journalists and human rights defenders in Turkey. In addition, modernising the customs union must remain conditional on clear improvements in the field of human rights. And more efforts must be put into people-to-people exchange programmes” MEP added.

A resolution was adopted March 13 by 370 votes in favour, 109 against with 143 abstentions. Kati Piri thanked her all those who participate in working on the resolution, including shadow rapporteurs.

MEPs for suspension of Turkey accession talks

Following years of severe political and democratic backsliding, the European Parliament recommended suspending EU accession negotiations with Turkey.

MEPs remain seriously concerned about Turkey’s violations of human rights, the rule of law, media freedom and the fight against corruption, authoritarian trends .

However MEPs welcome Turkey’s decision, last year, to lift the state of emergency introduced after the failed coup attempt in 2016. However, they regret that many of the powers granted to the President and executive following the coup attempt remain in place, and continue to limit freedom and basic human rights in the country. MEPs express concern about the shrinking space for civil society in the country, as a large number of activists, journalists and human rights defenders are currently in jail.

Taking into account the human rights situation and the new Turkish constitution, the European Parliament recommends that the current EU accession negotiations with Turkey be formally suspended.

 

Despite the serious situation, MEPs express their will to stand behind Turkish citizens, and keep the political and democratic dialogue open. EU funds must be made available – not via Ankara, but to Turkish civil society – for human rights defenders, students and journalists to promote and protect democratic values and principles.

 

 

Europarliament 2019-2024 seats projection

Parliament released the first seat projections, based on a cross-section of national polls, for the composition of the next (9th) European Parliament 2019-2014.

The European Parliament has published a first set of projections on how the next chamber would look like based on national polling data taken up to the beginning of February 2019. The data is based on a selection of reliable polls conducted by national polling institutes in the Member States and aggregated by Kantar public on behalf of Parliament.

Parties are only allocated to existing political groups or where they are already affiliated to an associated European political party. All new political parties and movements, who have not yet declared their intentions are categorised as “other”.

By projecting today’s voting preferences across the EU27 onto the distribution of seats in the European Parliament after Brexit, the next hemicycle would reflect a more fragmented political landscape than ever. The next Parliament will have fewer MEPs (705) than the outgoing Parliament (751).

Country by country data for download and sharing
All data can be downloaded from the press kit as an excel file with the complete catalogue of evolving voting intention polls from all Member States. The file will give full information on the national parties, their names, political affiliation on European level, their results at the last European and national elections as well as their standing in all voting intention polls collected. The polls themselves are identified including all defining criteria such as institute, sample size and fieldwork dates.

Parliament will be publishing updated projections every two weeks until the end of April and every week during the month of May until election night itself. Initial exit polls will then be published on 26 May, for those countries that conduct them and where voting has finished, from 18.00 and every hour until provisional final results are available from all Member States.
The first direct elections to the European Parliament were held 40 years ago on 12 June 1979. This year’s elections will be the most important in Parliament’s history, given the political context, the envisaged departure of the United Kingdom and major political and cross-border challenges that need to be addressed. Voters will be going to the polls between 23 – 26 May to decide Europe’s future.

Ukraine animal welfare activists appeal to MEPs

“Appeal of Ukraine animal welfare activists to
the Members of the Inter group for animal welfare of the European Parliament
February 14, 2019
 
Animal welfare and animal rights activists of Ukraine and compassionate citizens thank you for your support in saving wild animals from Igor Padalko zoo in Pokrovsk, Ukraine – the worst zoo of Europe.
We express special gratitude to Stefan Eck who reacted first to the problem of animal suffering and stretched his hand, we thank the chair Sirpa Pietikäinen, who took emergency measures to save dying animals, Anja Hazekamp, ​​who provided an opportunity to raise our concerns at the meeting of the Inter group, John Flack, who was ready to go to Pokrovsk immediately, and his colleague Rupert Matthews, who took the sufferings of the animals close to his heart. We highly appreciate the support that you provided by responding to our petition asking for help, signed by more than 30 thousand citizens of Ukraine.
We felt your support and, apparently, the officials of the Ministry of Ecology, too, because after five years of the failed attempts, things started to move. Unfortunately, we have to admit that it would be irrelevant to talk about success, because the situation with a handful of animals saved from Pokrovsk zoo has not been legally or practically resolved yet.
 
The evacuation of animals at the end of December last year was canceled by the Ministry of Ecology, and around hundred zoo animals disappeared without a trace, including primates, wolves, foxes, raccoons, donkeys, llamas, a camel and rare birds. The old blind lion and two bears vanished, a young lion was starved to death From hunger the bears tore off their fur to eat it, it was a hideousness abuse. To date, 11 bears and five lions have been evacuated. The fate of other animals is unknown.
According to local residents, during five years, hundreds of animals died and went missing in the Padalko Zoo. On the territory of the zoo there are still exhausted horses and dogs on chain, who do not even have bowls, they just  lick snow replacing water and food.

 
The sad epilogue of the Pokrovsk zoo story is that  laws to protect animals can’t be implemented, and officials do not regard animal welfare as a serious matter, making efforts not to save animals, but to hush up the scandal. Veterinary examinations and transportation of animals of Pokrovsk were paid from donations of citizens of Ukraine, the Ministry of Ecology did not allocate a penny to the evacuation of the animals of Pokrovsk.
The evacuated animals are not microchipped, relevant documentation is missing.
Alas, according to the Deputy Minister of Ecology, Mr. Vasil Poluiko, there are 60 zoo in our country, similar to the Padalko’s concentration camp, subsequently the problem of keeping wild animals in captivity requires systemic resolution.
 
As you know, the majority of Ukrainian citizens choose the European path, so striving for European values ​​is a sincere choice of people who do not want cruelty, they advocate for the emancipation of society, sharing humane views on harmonious coexistence with the other earthlings: domestic and wild animals.
 
In the absence of functional institutions and effective mechanisms for the protection of animals in our country, we consider the participation of MEPs in promoting the best European practices as a unique opportunity to reform our society in a meaningful way, bringing it closer to the European Union.
That is why we hope for your support of the civil society of Ukraine, which is committed to reforms, in particular, with regard to the welfare of animals, and their protection from cruelty.
We hope that Article 13 of the Lisbon Treaty will be a subject of the EU Enlargement policy in negotiations with our government, which promises European way for our country.
We also hope that we will have the opportunity to personally meet with you and highlight the full range of problems faced by animal welfare movement of Ukraine. We are convinced of the importance of our cause for the emancipation and progress of society.

The story of Padalko zoo confirms: a human does not have two hearts, the animal abuser Igor Padalko was arrested accused of child abuse. The tragedy could have been avoided if five years ago the authorities had listened to the Pokrovsky animal welfare activists.

Animal protection is the protection of humanism. We hope that you can explain that to your counterparts in Verhovna Rada. They will not ignore your opinion as they ignore ours.”

The petition  to the European Parliament asking MEPs to save Pokrovsk zoo animals was singed by more than 30 thousand people. Please find further information on problems of Wildlife in Ukraine in groups #SaveUkraineBears #МишкиПокровск #LionDonetsk

 

 

Italy PM Conte debates Future of Europe

MEPs will exchange views on the future of Europe with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Tuesday at 17.00.

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Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte leaving the Europarliament studio where he had an interview with European Youth. He refuses questions of press, under pretext that he is in a hurry to meet the President and MEPs to debate The Future of Europe.

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In a plenary debate on the Future of Europe, the Italian Prime Minister said: “This is a valuable opportunity to reverse the process of detachment between rulers and governed, which if fed could lead to the European project imploding”. The prerequisite for relaunching it, are “solidarity and cohesion between the member states”.

Prime minister focused on different aspects of the EU foreign policy, in first ranks challenges of African multiple crisis, causing migration, but also paid a lot of attention to Venezuela problems, he also mentioned the need of more coordinated approach to foreign policy, for example a need to receive a common EU seat in the UN Security Council. Among priorities he underlined the significance of strengthening relations with the United States, an imperative of a strong dialogue with Russia and China and the creation of a meaningful European common defence.

In spite of explaining at length the Italian position towards Venezuela, it was Africa to absorbing the central place of Italian foreign policy.  Through his speech and in the debate with MEPs Prime minister Conte underlined the paramount significance of Africa for European future, underlining that in spite of all efforts the EU border guards, or asylum policy are in modality of coping with consequences of multiple crisis Africa suffers. He insisted on intensifying aid to African states,  build on new partnerships, and aimed at assistance in crisis resolution. Concerned with human dignity, Conte underlined that fighting African poverty is one of the biggest challenge for the EU future.

A bitter regret of absence of EU solidarity has been a bitter refrain thorough the speech and debate with MEP,  Prime minister blamed the EU a great deal of hypocrisy in handling the migration crisis, producing declarations, but failing to deliver upon promises.

 

MEPs call Rada Dyriv to save Pokrovsk zoo animlas

The ongoing Padalko zoo (Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, Ukraine) horrendous animal abuse continues to cause sharp criticism of the whole spectrum of the European political forces. The Members of the European Parliament joined an initiative of John Flack (UK, ECR) addressing an open letter to Anotolii DyrivFirst Deputy Chair of Committee on Environmental Policy of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine

padalko zoo cages

The Members of the European Parliament have called the Ukrainian Parliament Rada to act without delay to save the animals.

We in The European Parliament, and  I know that also my political colleagues in the United Kingdom wish to encourage Ukraine to forge closer links with the Western family of nations” John Flack MEP (UK, ECR) wrote.

“We in the west take the humane treatment of animals very seriously and would urge all in the Ukraine to follow best practice. It is not only the right thing to do but will encourage future
investment” he underlined.

 MEP (UK, ECR), who initiated the letter, regrets he can not leave for Porkovsk immediately, to accept the invitation of the animal welfare groups in Ukraine, but out of his own convictions and the wish of his electorate to monitor the situation closely, he is considering a trip to Ukraine in the nearest future to see how the situation with Padalko zoo abused animals has been resolved, and what are the conditions of the other animals in private, and public zoos.

Mr.Flack urges Mr.Dyriv and the Rada committee he chairs to use the “considerable influence to protect the vulnerable and abused animals”.

In relation to Pokrovsk zoo MEPs call Mr.Dyriv to “arrange for unrestricted access by qualified veterinarians to all animals”. But not only, due to the scale and gravity of abuse and cruelty, MEPs call for “police to investigate the fate of missing Lions and Bears”, that were listed on the zoos inventory at the beginning of November 2018 but are now missing without explanation.

“If crimes have been committed then their should be prosecutions, both to punish the perpetrators but also to encourage correct behaviour in others” the open letter continues.
There is also a request to arrange for permission to be granted for International and Ukrainian animal welfare charities to
“both visit and then to monitor the conditions at all Ukrainian zoos”.

European politicians ask Mr.Dyriv to consider  “urgently”  whether Pokrovsk zoo is a “fit and proper place” to keep animals and whether it would be in “national interest” the Padalko zoo to be closed forthwith and the animals transferred to other reputable facilities.

“With elections due shortly in Ukraine I am sure that many of your people will be closely watching the fate of these defenceless animals.
I and my colleagues would welcome the opportunity to visit you in the Ukraine and to see for ourselves the improvements you are able to bring about” the letter concludes.

The open letter was initiated (23.01.2019) and singed by the Member of the European Parliament  (MEP) John Flack MEP, who is the Vice President European Parliament Animal Welfare Intergroup, and British Conservative Spokesman for Regional Development; and Rupert Matthews MEP,  Member for the East Midlands (U.K),  at present the letter circulates in the Europarliament, collecting signatures of the politicians. 

The scandal broke out when the pictures of the animal abuse hit social media, provoking a wave of indignation in Europe, and across the globe, launching a international campaign to save Porkovsk zoo animals from Padalko zoo.

MEPs Stefan Eck, Sirpa Petiekainen, Anja Hazekamp, and legendary Brigitte Bardot have already addressed the issue, calling President Petro Porkoshenko, and Minister of Ecology Ostap Semerak to save the Porkovsk  zoo animals from abuse, however in vain so far. One more lion died from hunger after the transportation to another private zoo with an ambivalent reputation, and a number of animals have vanished without trace.

All the proposals of charities to transfer animals to sanctuaries were rejected by the owner of the zoo Igor Padalko, who is hoping to recover the animals after his zoo is rebuilt from public funds.

There are around 100 animals in private zoo in Pokrovsk, owned by Mr.Padalko, who denies veterinarians and activists the access to the dying animals. A few of them have been transported to another private zoo. Mr.Padalko is supported by the Mayor of Porkovsk Ruslan Trebushkin, and the governor of the Donetsk region Olexander Kutz.

The Ukrainian activists called for a demonstration in Kiev on the 24 of January opposite the Ministry of Ecology to protest against the animal abuse, and inaction of the Minister of Ecology Ostap Semerak, the petition for demanding his resignation has been circulation online, collecting the first hours two thousand signatures.

MEPs concerned with Ukrainian zoo cruelty

The January hearing of the Intergroup on the Welfare and the Conservation of Animals in Strasbourg chaired by Anja Hazekamp (NL, GUE/NGL)  opened the floor with the discussion of the devastating situation of lions, and bears in Porkovsk private zoo of Igor Padalko (Ukraine, Donetsk region).

The issue of Porkovsk zoo came to attention of the MEPs due to a Petition launched by Ukrainian animal welfare activists, who said they are not heard by their own government in Kiev, asking the European Parliament to take action to save animals from an ongoing horrendous abuse in Padalko private zoo. In a few days the Petition gathered 25 thousand signatures, and continues to circulate. The activists requested to freeze the EU micro-financial aid to Ukrainian government until the European values are respected, namely the Article 13 of Lisbon Treaty, stating that animal welfare is “European value“, and animals are “sentient beings.”

It has been years that Ukrainian activists have been struggling for liberation from a horrendous abuse of six lions, 11 bears and around 100 of other animals in Pokrovsk zoo , suffering in tiny filthy self-made cages, unable even to stretch their paws, stamping in their own feces, not removed for weeks.

MEPs present at the hearing were appalled by the cruelty to the wild animals, but also concerned by the inaction of the Ukrainian Ministry of Ecology, and the other relevant instances, who did not assume their responsibility.

padalko lion abuse

They also reminded that Stefan Eck, the vice-president of the group, has already called (5.12.2018) President Poroshenko to act in line with the European norms and save Padalko animals from abuse. So far the call remained unanswered, and Ukrainian activists informed about death of the second exhausted lion frozen alive in his urine in his cage (- 11C°). Soon after his death the corpse vanished.

Concluding the discussion the MEP sent a a letter from Intergroup to the  Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn, seeking his support, and reminding that the EU and Ukraine regularly reaffirm their strong partnership based on their association agreement and pledge to strengthen the political association and economic integration of Ukraine with the EU. As part of Ukraine’s ambitious reform agenda which is financially supported by the EU, “it would be desirable that also the respect of animal welfare concerns would be taken into account“.

The Intergroup has also written a letter to the Ukranian Minister for Ecology Ostap Semerak, asking him to take an immediate action to rescue and re-home the animals of Padalko zoo:  “…We call on you as the Ukrainian Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources to intervene as a matter of urgency in order to rescue and re-home the animals from this zoo. Be assured that any action you will take in this regard can be supported by NGOs who can offer help for re-homing the animals”.

The local animal welfare activists claim Igor Padalko kept animals in the abominable conditions for years with a purpose to collect money all over Ukraine via social networks: for “food for lions“, and for “cages construction“. Nobody saw any improvements for animals, however the Padalkos acquired for their son a comfortable apartment in Kiev.

The other lucrative activity was in receiving bus excursions of schoolchildren from the region, supposedly to learn about wild nature. Many teachers complained that children were crying, while looking at suffering on animals jammed in small filthy cages.

Although cruel and abusive towards animals, who had bruises and broken jaws from beatings with rods, unable even to stand up from hunger and exhaustion,  Padalko has been continuously accumulating social capital in local community – offering Ukrainian military from the front line the beautiful beach on river-side, and tea-houses for recreation on his 25-hectare territory; organising from time to time free dinners for elderly locals; and even adopting children. The remarkable social skills helped to establish connections, and even patronage, making all the attempts of the animal rights groups to liberate the lions and bears from the torture conditions ineffective.

Reportedly the adopted children were taken away from Padalko, presumably after numerous complains about his cruelty, the question remains, how such a character received the orphans in first place. Lately Padalko threatened to shoot activists, if they dare to enter the zoo. Local police asked to avoid any contacts with him, but also refused any complains of animal abuse. In spite of numerous frauds, and abuses, thanks to his connections Padalko stays “untouchable“.

Animal rights groups presume that Padalko counts on sympathy of the governor of the Donetsk region Oleksander Kuz, who send his employers to Kiev to hash up the scandal, and demand subsidies for the zoo renovation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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