Italy Deputy Prime minister Matteo Salvini has expressed his concern about the election by the European Parliament of Ursula von der Leyen as European Commission president.
“We saw a president of the European Commission indicated by Merkel and backed by Macron, Renzi and Berlusconi and the 5-Stars, leaning very far to the left on some issues like economic growth and border control, we are concerned,” Salvini said.
“She passed by nine votes, it’s as if in Italy there was a PD-FI-M5S government, what change does she represent? “I’m proud of the coherence and loyalty shown by the MEPs of the League (in not voting for her” he added.
China must stop arbitrary detentions of religious and ethnics minorities, said Members of European Parliament in a resolution adopted during April Strasbourg Plenary.
Parliament is concerned about the increasingly repressive regime that many religious and ethnic minorities, such as Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Tibetans and Christians, are facing in China. The situation is rapidly deteriorating, placing additional restraints on their fundamental rights. It calls on the Chinese Government to put an end to arbitrary detentions, without any charge, trial or conviction for criminal offence, of members of the Uyghur and Kazakh minority and Tibetans.
“Continuing to negotiate with China over investment and trade issues while ignoring reports of human rights abuses, means the international community is failing to respect its own set of values”, Thomas Mann MEP said. (pictured above).
According to the United Nations estimates, China has put in place an extrajudicial detention programme, currently detaining “from tens of thousands to upwards of a million Uyghurs’” who are forced to undergo political “re-education”. MEPs are also concerned about the information that the Xinjiang camp system has expanded into other parts of China and, in this regard, urge China to close all detention centres and to release the detained persons immediately and unconditionally. The full resolution will be available here (18.04.2019).
The resolution on China was adopted by 505 votes in favour, 18 against, with 47 abstentions.
MEP Andrejs MAMIKINS (Latvia) criticises disparities between slogans and realities of respect of human rights in Latvia, namely the situation of 12% of stateless inhabitants of the country, who are excluded from political life. There are around Soviet 200 000 inhabitants of Latvia who voted independence, but nowadays are forgotten, and they will not vote in upcoming European elections in May 2019.
Socialist MEP also raised an issue of conflict of interest of Prime minister Arturs Krisjanis KARINS, who keeps his American citizenship while chairing Latvian government. The interview was taken in Strasbourg after the debate between Latvian Prime minister and Members of European Parliament on Future of Europe. The debate has concluded the discussion between heads of states and government and MEPs on future of the EU.
Mr Kariņš was the twentieth EU head of state or government to debate the future of Europe with MEPs, the last one in this parliamentary term.
The EU needs to strengthen the its core principles, Latvian Prime Ministers Krišjānis Kariņš said in the debate on the Future of Europe, on April 17 at European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg.
Kariņš suggested four main fields of EU action: completing the Single Market, controlling external borders, undertaking a smart transition towards clean energy and boosting security. “Don’t fight the populists, address the causes of people’s malcontent,” Prime Minister said. With people worrying about their jobs, the EU needs to sharpen its main tool for job creation – the Single Market. Europe needs to foster “National Champions” by opening up the Single Market, not embarking on a Chinese way of protectionism. “We need to continue to tear down the barriers to the Single Market. This is what will create more jobs and more wealth in Europe,” he said, singling out digital industry and services as the two main fields of action.
To avoid re-erecting internal borders and allow for an unhindered Single Market, the EU needs to shore up its external borders, control migration and make sure people arriving in the EU accept European values. “It is extremely important to maintain our national identities. Arrivals need to adapt themselves,” Mr Kariņš said, suggesting that Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency need to be beefed up further.
“If we truly want to increase the share of renewable energy in our system, we need to open up markets and deregulate prices. Consumer choice is what can best drive energy transition,” the Latvian PM suggested. “By opening electricity markets to competition and market prices, we can greatly increase the uptake in renewable energy sources and increase energy efficiency.”
“My country spends 2% of its GDP on the military. I believe we all should. But we also need to work on strengthening our information defence”, PM Kariņš said, adding that new legislation could help to hold social media platforms to account for allowing disinformation to spread .
The Prime minister had discussion with MEPs, many of whom knew him as a colleague in the European Parliament.
However Prime minister has been also confronted with harsh criticism for disparity between his speech and realities. Lativian MEP Andrejs MAMIKINS raised a range of problems, including double citizenship of Mr.Kariņš, who kept his American passport while being head of Latvian government. MEP Mamikins pointed to the chronic situation of conflict of interests.
“Today was the prime Minister of Mr. Kariņas to participate in the ES future debate. The Prime minister spoke of the diversity in Europe and the need to fight dirty money. In return, I offer the prime_minister to look in the mirror”, MEP MAMIKINS said.
Debating with European Council president Donald Tusk and Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker the European Parliament largest political group leaders gave their support to the decisions taken by the EU heads of states and governments, concluding March 21-22 Summit to avoid a disorderly Brexit, giving additional opportunities to Theresa May government to avoid the UK departing from the bloc without an agreement. At In the second March European Parliament plenary numerous MEPs also individually expressed solidarity with pro-EU UK movements and bitterly criticised Westminster for incapacity to build a majority around any of possible models of moving forward.
The UK MEPs represented a variety of view, from ardent supporters of the EU membership, to staunch sovereignists, requesting immediate departure from they bloc without further delay.
In the situation when the Article 50 Agreement has not been delivered by the government, and the proposed deal was voted down twice by the Westminster, Alyn Smith from Scottish National Party (UK, Greens) MEP says the best way out is to stay in the EU. He reminded that his native Scotland voted to remain in the bloc.
Nigel Farage MEP, accused UK politics of being dishonest, while attempting to stop Brexit,the “Westminster has betrayed the greatest democratic vote in the history of our country“, he said, and vowed Brexiteers would not let it happen without consequences.
The top EU negotiator for Article 50 Agreement Michel Barnier reiterated that the deal was produced in co-operation with the UK, and not “against” the UK. He also underlined the unprecedented difficulty of the process, being not “trade talks“, but “exit” talks, and that it was a unilateral decision of Britons to leave, so they a have to assume the responsibilities for the consequences.
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.