Tag Archives: Strasbourg plenary

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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