Tag Archives: Strasbourg plenary

Need for EU legislationon exotic pet trade

Anna van Densky from Strasbourg At monthly hearing of the European Parliament Animal welfare intergroup David van Gennep, CEO AAP Animal Advocacy and Protection foundation (AAP), explained the profound need in regulating exotic animal trade, limiting the list to 42 allowed spices in the European Union, thus creating the ‘positive list’. The exotic animals as pets fashion is a rise, so is the trade in the species, however the overwhelming majority of them can not be adapted to life in captivity, suffering in misery,  being moved from cage to cage, changing owners and caretakers. Many of the exotic pets are tormented by various diseases, related to the unsuitable conditions, lacking space, proper diets and even sunshine. Some of them are transmitting bacteria and viruses, representing danger to humans. Public health and security remain the compromised issues, victim to whims of some individuals, eager to compensate their own mediocrity with the exotic pets colorful identities.

Unfortunately barbaric tradition to keep exotic animals as pets in captivity is booming in Europe nowadays due to the e-commerce, facilitating the purchase. High popularity of pictures with exotic species  is also a lucrative business for their  owners, careless, and often negligent to the particular spices needs,  exploiting the animal to maximum profit along the dramatically shortened lifespan.

‘With the growing popularity of exotic pets we can not help all the suffering and abandoned animals, the only way out is to address the root causes of the problem, and put in place the legislation, establishing the positive list of allowed exotic pets across the EUDavid van Gennep said, calling the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to ensure  the proper legal framework for resolving the issue of exotic pets. Dutch APP foundation, led by Mr.Gennep, aims at long-term solutions for improving the welfare of these exotic, non-domesticated animals, and in this regard the proper European legislation is the relevant solution for the animals and communities in Europe and beyond.

Some of the exotic pet trade is legal, selling spices bred in the EU, but increasingly the animals are captured from the wild illegally (often in Africa) to supply for the European demand for exotic pets, fueling the multi-billion global black market. Some owners discover themselves unable to provide for the pets, when they rapidly grow, and intentional releases of exotic pets are increasingly common in Europe, exposing animal to long agony and painful death. Not less catastrophic  is the other outcome of the irresponsible behavior, when the abandoned animal does not die from starvation or exposure to harsh conditions, but finds a mate to proliferate producing invasive species to detriment of the ecosystems.

Furthermore the exotic pet trade is the contempt to the EU Lisbon Treaty, enshrining animal welfare as “European value“. The Lisbon Treaty, in force from December 1st 2009, includes animal sentience as an Article. It means that recognition of animals as creatures having ability to feel is now in the main body of the Treaty, establishing responsibility of the governments of the EU member-states towards the animals, and requesting the humane treatment of them.

The hearing of the Intergroup chaired by Anja Hazekamp  MEP (GUE/NGL) took place on October 24 in Strasbourg during Plenary week #EPlenary of the European Parliament.

Europarl to support Brexit delay

On September 18 (Wednesday) the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) will discuss the current state of play of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU with the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

The discussion will focus on the implications of no-deal Brexit and the conditions under which the Parliament would support a third extension of Article 50.

MEPs will vote on a resolution supporting Brexit extention on the same issue later in the afternoon.

The Europarliament Motion for the Resolutionindicates that it would support an extension of the period provided for in Article 50 if there are reasons and a purpose for such an extension (such as to avoid a ‘no-deal exit’, to hold a general election or a referendum, to revoke Article 50, or to approve a withdrawal agreement) and that the work and functioning of the EU institutions are not adversely affected”.

MEPs demand China to stop arbitrary detentions

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.

Europarl: no extension without clarity

The European Parliament representative for Brexit talks Guy Verhofstadt said there can not be a deadline extension beyond March 29 in absence of clarity of the position of the majority in House of Commons. The statement was made after consultations with Michel Barnier the EU chief negotiator.

Guy Verhofstad MEP warned off the European elections ‘hijacked‘by Brexit crisis, replacing political debate on European issues by political struggle in Westminster.

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)

 

Strasbourg Europarl in lock down after shooting

Europeans Parliament in lock down after Christmas market shooting in Strasbourg. Reported one dead and four injured. Details to follow.

AMENDNED: According to press reports there are two dead and 11 ‘hurt’, it is unclear if they are are wounded or they have accidental injures in the cause of the incident. The inhabitants of Strasbourg are advised to stay home.

German media reports two killed and 11 ‘injured’, and the perpetrator ‘at large‘. He has a criminal, non-terrorist record. The prosecutors has opened terrorist probe.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who chairs the European Council rotating Presidency, expressed his sympathy to the victims, and underlined the determination to stand by the European values, condemning the attack.

The President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani expressed his condolences to the victims, and ensured the MEPs will be not intimidated by the attack, and “move on”.

We will continue to work, and react strengthened by freedom and democracy against terrorist violence”.

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AMENDED:  European Parliament president Antonio Tajani summoned MEPs on the situation in Strasbourg.

LUX Film Prize: “Woman at war” striving for change

Woman at war”, an Iceland/France/Ukraine co-production, has won the 12th LUX Film Prize, European Parliament PresidentAntonio Tajani announced in Strasbourg on November 14.

“I am remarkably proud of our film competition, dedicated since 2007 to European film productions focused on themes which are fundamental to our European Union: universality of European values, integration and tolerance, and defence of cultural diversity. Awarding the LUX Prize has never been as difficult as this year. The nominees in the competition were extraordinary, both in terms of originality and the relevance of the subjects they covered” President Tajani said, while congratulating the three finalists.

The finalist films tackle three key themes for the future of Europe: the risks associated with extreme nationalism, the urgency of acting to save the environment and the need to find coherent and cohesive responses to the migration issue. Differing in genre and subject, these films have an important point in common: they tell stories of strong women who are determined to change the status quo.

“On behalf of the European Parliament, I would like to thank the directors and writers present, as well as all those who contributed to making these films and to the success of this edition of the LUX Prize. By showing us new and personal points of view on this Europe of ours, you are contributing significantly to the political debate that takes place every day in this institution” President Tajani added.

Woman at war” (Kona fer í stríð) by Icelandic director Benedikt Erlingsson, a political film, feminist saga and a fable, tells the story of a woman who is a music teacher and who lives a double life as a passionate environmental activist. She sees her political convictions challenged when her plans to adopt a child come true.

The other two films shortlisted for the 2018 prize wereThe Other Side of Everything” from Mila Turajlic and Styx by Wolfgang Fischer (Germany/Austria).

Woman at war (Kona fer í stríð) tells the story of Halla, a music teacher who lives a double life as a passionate environmental activist. As she begins planning to sabotage an aluminium production plant, which is destroying the Icelandic highlands, she finds out that her application to adopt a child has finally been accepted and there is a little girl waiting for her in Ukraine. At that moment she faces the dilemma of how to reconcile her fight for the environment and her deep wish to become a mother. She finds strength in nature and in the people who support her cause.

 “It’s about democracy, spin media, and this environmental fight and the right of people to act even if you break the rules”, describing the film, director Benedikt Erlingsson said. The funny and surreal “arthouse action thriller with a lot of music” employs breath-taking Icelandic nature to illustrate the dramatic urgency of the environmental issues the world is facing.

Merkel favorable of European army as “NATO supplement”

While delivering her speech on the ‘Future of Europe‘ the German Chancellor Angela Merkel shared her vision on the future of the European defence with the Members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg Plenary session.

Chancellor proposed the organisation of the EU security council and operational forces to be able to act swiftly in performing mandated missions outside the EU.

While debating with the Chancellor Merkel Future of Europe, MEP Nigel Farage (UKIP) dabbed  the idea of organisation the EU army as a construction of an “Empire” and  “militarized union”, “expanding to the East“.

Treaty establishing the European Defence Community has remained  unratified since the day it had been signed on 27 May 1952 by six countries – West Germany, France, Italy, and the Benelux. The treaty would have created a European Defence Community (EDC) with a pan-European defence force. The treaty failed to pass ratification in the French parliament – National Assembly, and consequently never entered into force.

 

 

MEPs encourage EU to engage in Yemen conflict resolution

At Strasbourg  Plenary MEPs debate the latest developments in Yemen, which is facing the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.

 

More than three years of conflict between the forces loyal to the internationally recognized government and Houthi rebels have devastated the country, leaving 22 million Yemeni people (80% of the total population) in dire need of humanitarian assistance or protection. The country is also suffering from the largest cholera outbreak ever recorded in modern history, with over one million suspected cases reported in 2017 and over 2 200 related deaths.

The war in Yemen is also seen as part of a regional power struggle between Shia-ruled Iran, backing Houthi rebels, and Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia, leading the Western-backed alliance of Arab states trying to restore the internationally-recognised government.

Throughout the civil war in Yemen, the European Parliament has called on all actors to de-escalate the conflict and to engage in UN-led peace talks and strive for political solutions. MEPs also called on EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to launch an initiative to impose an EU arms embargo against Saudi Arabia given the serious allegations that the Saudi Arabia-led coalition is breaching international humanitarian law in Yemen.

“There is a need for urgent humanitarian aid”, – said MEP Sajjad KARIM  (UK, ECR) to Europe Diplomatic Magazine, however it is much more, than just assistance to starving populations required. “…Concert of international efforts is needed to put an end to this conflict and engage in peace process”, MEP concluded, sharing his vision of putting an end to the ongoing human tragedy.

 

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