Tag Archives: Strasbourg

COVID19: Europarl reduced modus operandi

Today, European Parliament President David Sassoli has announced that the Parliament will take further precautionary measures in response to the Coronavirus COVID-19. (Image: illustration, Europarl Brussels).

For the course of the next three weeks, 130 events at Parliament premises, which were expected to be attended by 6000 to 7000 participants, will be cancelled. In addition, visitors will not be allowed to access the Parliament for this period.

At the same time, Sassoli stressed that parliamentary work will continue, including committee meetings and the plenary session. The current set of measures applies for the next three weeks with the possibility of changes and adaptations, according to the development.

Statement of European Parliament President David Sassoli on the situation regarding COVID-19:

We assess the spread of the Coronavirus on a daily basis, in close cooperation with the European health services as well as national authorities. As a result of this assessment, we have decided to update our set of precautionary measures.

“We will limit the access of visitors to the Parliament. This measure derives from the fact that we are a very open institution by nature with 700.000 visitors per year. Under the current circumstances, it is our responsibility to suspend these visits. In the same spirit, we will cancel 130 events such as exhibitions or external conferences planned for the next weeks on Parliament premises.

“As far as EP administration and staff is concerned, we demand everybody who has visited one of the areas affected or has been in touch with an infected person to work from home and monitor closely their health status. Members of Parliament are advised to apply the same principle of responsibility.

“The Parliament has the duty to maintain its legislative work. Activities such as the next plenary session, committee meetings, the Conference of Presidents as well as the work of President’s office will therefore be upheld.”

Sassoli removes national flags

To indignation of some Members of the European Parliament, the January Plenary session in Strasbourg started with removal of national flags from the desks in the Chamber.
The European Union is slipping further. The autocratic socialist Sassoli, who was appointed President of the European Parliament, has ordered to bailiffs to seize all national flags on the banks of parliamentarians. Continuation follows!”wrote Gerolf Annemans, MEP from Vlaams Belang party.

Nigel Farage leading the UK Brexit party expressed his content to leave the bloc.

Puigdemont attends Strasbourg Plenary

In spite of the arrest warrant issued in Madrid, on January 13 Catalan independence leader Carles Puigdemont attended Plenary session in Strasbourg in his right of a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), due to immunity guaranteed by the status.
The former Catalan president has been elected to the European Parliament upon the political programme aiming at independence referendum for Catalonia, legally exiting the Kingdom of Spain.

Upon his arrival to the court of the Europarliament, Puigdemont called for an immediate release from a Spanish jail of Oriol Junqueras, the fellow Catalan MEP

“Mr.Junqueras should be here with us. He has the same rights,” Puigdemont said, backed by the group with posters “Free Junqueras.”

Puigdemont arrived together with the other Catalan MEP, Toni Comín.
Both politicians are wanted in Spain for their role for the 2017 independence referendum, considered ‘illegal” by Madrid. They have narrowly escaped the arrest and persecution in Spain, by fleeing to Belgium, where they continued their activities, struggling for the interests of their electorate.

In a statement made in four languages Catalan, Spanish, French and English, Puigdemont underlined the problem of Catalan protracted argument with Madrid is not a regional, but “European affaire“, because in spite of being the EU member state, Spain does not respect fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens. He also mentioned the extraordinary resources behind the attempts of Spain to prevent him to enter his MEP office. Puigdemont added that he feels no fear in France, because his MEP immunity is respected there. He expressed hope that Spanish judiciary will also respect the decision of the European Court of Justice ruling on 19 December 2019, clearly stating that Junqueras had parliamentary immunity as he was an elected MEP and should have been released from prison.

Junqueras is currently serving a 13-year prison sentence after being convicted in Madrid of sedition and misuse of funds by Spain Supreme Court for his engagement in organising the October 2017 referendum, considered “illegal“. Furthermore he was accused for the subsequent unilateral declaration of independence passed in the Catalan parliament. At the time of the events in 2017, Junqueras was deputy regional president, while Puigdemont was president and Toni Comín a minister in the regional government.

MEPs approve of Leyen Commission

The plenary vote has concluded the process of careful examination by Parliament of the proposed team of commissioners. Its objective has been to ensure that the EU’s executive body has the democratic legitimacy to act in the interest of Europeans.

The MEPs approved of Ursula von der Leyen team with +461 in favour, -157 against and 89 abstentions.

MEPs elected Ursula von der Leyen as Commission president in July. Then, from the end of September to mid-November, parliamentary committees organised hearings with each of the nominees to judge their suitability for their proposed post.

On 21 November political group leaders and Parliament’s president Sassoli agreed that the process of examination had been completed and that Parliament is ready to hold the final plenary vote.

The vote took place after the introduction of the opinions of the leaders of the political groups on Wednesday 27 November in presence of Ursula von der Leyen, who will her team and the new Commission’s programme. Following a debate, MEPs will decide by simple majority whether to elect the Commission or not.

The new Commission will start work on 1 December.

Sentsov to receive Sakharov prize in Strasbourg

Ukrainian film director and human rights activist Oleg (43) will visit the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 26 November to receive in persona the 2018 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

When Parliament’s Human rights prize was awarded last year, Sentsov was in prison in Russia serving 20 years, convicted of terrorism for setting fires to the doors of the offices of the ruling United Russia party in Crimea, and plotting to blow up a monument to Lenin. Sentsov became world famous due to 145 days hunger strike, which evoked a lot of sympathies, and reactions among public, supporting an international campaign for his release.

After serving five years he became one of thirty-five Ukrainian citizens released by Russia in exchange for Ukraine freeing an equal number of Russians.

MEPs vote for Brexit deadline extension

The European Parliament continues to support an “orderly Brexit” based on the already negotiated Withdrawal Agreement (WA), MEPs reaffirmed in the resolution adopted on September 18 during Strasbourg Plenary with 544 votes in favour, 126 against and 38 abstentions.

In the resolution the MEPs pledge to reject any Withdrawal Agreement without a backstop; in case of “no deal” consider the UK solely responsible for the consequences of the  a haphazard departure.

The consequences of a are noDSCN9756[1]t theoretical. They are human, social, political, financial, economic and legal. Leaving without a deal will not solve these questions. We will pursue the negotiations with responsibility, honesty and determination” said the EU Brexit top negotiator Michel Barnier, while concluding the debate in Strasbourg Plenary.

The MEPs approve of another conditional Article 50 deadline extension upon the UK request.
According to the Resolution the Withdrawal Agreement is fair, balanced and provides legal certainty, reiterating Parliament’s support for an “orderly Brexit”.

The document also underlines that the existing Withdrawal Agreement takes into account the UK’s red lines and the EU’s principles, providing a fair and balanced solution.

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”.

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