Tag Archives: Strasbourg

Von der Leyen endorsed by MEPs as Commission president

Today MEPs voted on the candidate for the president of the European CommissionUrsula von der Leyen, put forward by the European Council.  Her candidacy was endorsed with with 383 votes in favour.

German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who was nominated for the post by the European Council, after “leading candidate” Manfred Weber was rejected by a number of member-states. The European People’s Party insisted the top job should belong to one of their political family, because they came out with the best result after the European elections in May this year.

 

In Strasboug Plenary Von der Leyen presented her programme and responded to questions of MEPs.

In order to become Commission President, von der Leyen  had to secure the support of an absolute majority of MEPs (at least 374 votes). The vote was a secret paper ballot.

 

In case she failed to win a majority, the European Council would have to put forward another candidate.

AMENDED: In her speech this morning  Ursula von der Leyen outlined her priorities as Commission President. 

Having identified the collective need for “a healthy planet as our greatest challenge and responsibility”, Ms von der Leyen proposed bolder emissions targets, with a reduction of 50% to 55% by 2030 and committed to submit a plan for a “Green Deal for Europe” and a European Climate Law within her first 100 days in office. She also announced plans for sustainable European investment (also through the partial conversion of EIB funds into a “climate bank”) to provide €1 trillion in investments within a decade.

Von der Leyen also stressed that the EU must establish an economy that serves the people. In order for this to happen however, “everyone needs to share the burden” – including those tech giants that conduct their business (and should continue to do so) in Europe, yet do not repay the people of Europe for their access to EU human and social capital.

Reiterating her commitment for a gender-balanced College of Commissioners during her term, she also highlighted that violence against women has to be tackled decisively; she would therefore seek to define violence against women as a crime in the European treaties, in parallel to completing the EU’s accession to the Istanbul Convention.

Von der Leyen declared her commitment to rule of law as a European value, announcing that she intends to establish an EU-wide monitoring mechanism in parallel to existing measures. She emphasised that these European values also include a duty to save lives at sea and should translate into a humane border policy. She stated her support for a “new pact on migration & asylum” and Dublin Regulation reform, adding that she intends to ensure that Frontex border guards number 10,000 not by 2027, but by 2024, and that all countries should shoulder their fair share of the burden based on the principle of European solidarity.

On the matter of European democracy, von der Leyen announced a two-year Conference for Europe as of 2020, in which citizens will take a leading and active role. She also emphasised the need for the Spitzenkandidaten system to be strengthened and that transnational lists should be reconsidered in future European elections. She also declared her full support for a right of initiative for the European Parliament, committing to put forward a legislative proposal in response to every resolution that is passed with a majority of Parliament’s constituent members.

Von der Leyen vows cooperation among EU institutions

Ursul von der Leyen, endorsed by the EU leaders for European Commission president had a meeting with the European People’s Party MEPs in camera at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on July 3. She also made a press statement, explaining that the cooperation among EU insitutuions will be her proportion in case her candidacy is approved by the Europarliament.

Von der Leyen met with the newly elected president of the European Parliament Socialist David Sassoli, however the exchanged of view has not been revealed.

 

Catalan MEPs banned from Europarl seats

EU Catalan electorate organised demonstration at doorstep of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on July 2 – the first day of the sitting of a new legislature. They have been protesting against ban of three of their elected MEPs to access their offices. Oriol Junqueras,  imprisoned in Spain, Charles Puigdemont and Antoni Comin, stay in exile in Belgium.

Carles Puigdemont was expected among the demonstrators but his lawyer Gonzalo Boye convinced him to avoid travelling in France, fearing his arrest.

According to local police, around 10,000 demonstrators participated. They came by bus, cars and even two chartered flights.

Spanish MEPs from parties like the Ciudadanos insist that fugitive suspects do not have the right to sit in the European Parliament, representing electorate.

On Monday, the European Court of Justice agreed with this opinion.

Europarl delays president election

The European Parliament (EP) election of president is postponed due to EU leaders third day crisis Summit Brussels, which have failed to produce the list of the EU institutions top jobs nominees on Sunday (June 30).

The conference of presidents of the EP political groups agreed to extend deadline to 22H00 July 2 to nominate candidates for the speaker.

In spite of the fact that European parliament is only elected institution, and the European elections were announced as the second most numerous democratic exercise across globe, the Europarl relinquished its powers to elect President independently, and agreed to align its choice with the decision of the European Council, nominating candidates for EU top jobs, including most influential president of the European Commission, de facto Prime Minister of Europe, and guardian of the EU Treaty.

In protest Brexit Party MEPs turned their backs to former President Tajani during the European anthem chanting  at the opening session of the EU Parliament today.

AMENDED:

 

Mamikins MEP challenges Latvian PM

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.

Latvian PM shares vision of Future of Europe

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.

MEPs battling over Brexit

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.

 

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