Tag Archives: MEP

MEPs criticise Nigeria and Burundi

16.01.2020 Strasbourg The European Parliament adopted two resolutions on monitoring respect to the human rights and rule of law situation in Nigeria and Burundi.

Nigeria

Following the recent terrorist attacks in the country, the European Parliament strongly condemns the repeated violations of human rights and international and humanitarian law, ‘’whether based on religion or ethnicity’’. MEPs urge the Nigerian authorities to guarantee respect for human rights and to protect the civilian population from terrorism and violence. The fight against impunity is fundamental to the stability of the country and to building lasting peace, MEPs say.

The situation in Nigeria has significantly deteriorated over the last few years, posing a serious threat to international and regional security. Recent killings are part of a wider series of terrorist acts, including the attack on 24 December 2019 on a village near Chibok that resulted in the death of seven villagers and the kidnapping of a teenage girl.

The text was adopted by show of hands. For more details, the full resolution will be available here (16.01.2020).

Burundi

MEPs strongly condemn the current restrictions on freedom of expression in Burundi, including the limitations placed on public freedom, large-scale violations of human rights, the intimidation and arbitrary arrests of journalists and broadcast bans. They recall that Burundi is bound by the human rights clause of the Cotonou agreement and therefore urge the country’s authorities to immediately revert this abusive trend and to uphold its human rights obligations.

Civil society and journalists play a vital role in a democratic society, MEPs say, particularly in the context of upcoming elections in Burundi. The European Parliament calls on the Burundian authorities to stop intimidating, harassing, and arbitrarily arresting journalists, human rights activists and members of the opposition, including those returning from exile.

Image above: MEP Assita KANKO, Strasbourg Plenary.

Tripoli GNA obstructs Europarl debate

Anna van Densky from Brussels. As a result of the considerable diplomatic effort of the Government of National Accord (GNA, Tripoli) mission in Brussels, the public event with H.E.Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Libyan Interim government Abdulhadi Ibrahim Lahweej (pictured) posted by MEP Fulvio Martusciello (EPP, Italy), has been occluded. The Italian MEP initiate has been aimed at engaging in conversation with the Libyan top diplomat in search of avenues for peace in torn by conflict country, supporting efforts of establishing the meaningful dialog among rivals for political power.

However the GNA obstruction of the dialogue, reaching European Parliament premises in Brussels, opposing exchange of views between the MEP with the Minister, casts a long shadow on Tripoli administration, conforming the worst assessments of the experts, claiming the situation has degenerated. and the capital is overpowered by Muslim Brotherhood militia, imposing their ambition on Fayez Al-Sarraj, dabbed their “hostage“. The protracted devastating for the Libyans conflict serves primary the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood, considered by the Libyan parliament as terrorist group, and subsequently the major obstacle to reconciliation and peace. (Image below: sign against Muslim Brotherhood in streets of Tripoli).

Te rejection of the dialogue between rival Libyan political centre undermines the position of the EU, so far supporting Chairman Fayez Al Sarraj, howerver this support by no means is la carte blanche for Tripoli administration policies and actions. The blunt rejection of the attempts to establish a dialogue is seen by experts and the opponents of al-Sarraj as his ultimate submission to Muslim Brotherhood influences, which further degrade Libyan statehood, depriving it of avenues for restoration.

The de-constructive position of GNA is also raising questions of viability of future conference on Libya proposed by the German diplomacy. But not only, because peace in Libya is essential for stability and security in Maghreb and Sahel.

Since overthrowing of Gaddaif regime, the terrorist threat in Maghreb has risen 300 percent, with a dramatic impact on sub-Saharan Africa, namely Sahel, where the EU along with France and Germany supports G5 – five nations alliance, fighting terrorism. The future head of the European diplomacy Josep Borrell has been atmost clear when stating that peace in Libya is key element for security and stability of Europe.

The dictatorial impulses of Al-Sarraj administration, establishing their power through exclusion of the political opponents, and occluding debate, as it happened in case of MEP Martusciello initiative, serve as the convincing evidence of growing influence of Muslim Brotherhood in Tripoli. which further degrades Libyan statehood, depriving it of avenues for revival.

AMENDEMENT: image on display Minister Lahweej at European Parliament, Brussels, 15 October 2019, @AlexandreLouvet.

Tajani reiterates call for Africa Marshall Plan

Italian Member of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani warned about growing inequalities threatening the economic and social development in sub-Saharan Africa. The economic situation in many African countries has aggravated recently, impacting the security situation, gradually eroding social cohesion. The growing inequality leads to instability,  Tajani said. He underlined that the security situation in the Sahel can not be resolved without substantial improvement of the living conditions of populations.

As a president of the European Parliament Tajani has been a strong proponent of the large-scale European investments in Africa – Marshall Plan for “strong engagement against climate change, against poverty, against terrorism, against the war between African countries and for growth”.

During September Plenary in Strasbourg (16-19/9) MEPs debated statements made by Tytti Tuppurainen (President-in-Office of the Council), on behalf of the Vice-President of the Commission of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, on recent developments in the political situation in Burkina Faso, Colombia and Kashmir.

This month Burkina Faso and G5 Sahel have secured support of the European Union (EU), Berlin and Paris in fighting terrorism. The cross-border joint force of the G5 Sahel was officially launched on 2 July 2017 in Bamako by the Presidents of the five Sahel States exposed to the terrorist threat (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger).

 

Mogherini appoints observers to Mozambique

Following an invitation from the Mozambican authorities, the European Union will deploy an Election Observation Mission (EOM) in the country, to observe the general elections which will be held on 15 October. This decision reflects once again the European Union’s commitment to support democracy in Mozambique, where the EU has observed all elections conducted since 1994.

The EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini has appointed as Chief Observer of the Election Observation Mission Ignacio Sánchez Amor (pictured), Member of the European Parliament (MEP).

The 2019 elections in Mozambique come at an important moment in the country’s history, when real progress towards a comprehensive peace agreement opens the way to permanent reconciliation and accelerating reform”, said Mogherini.”A successful electoral process can help to generate the stability and confidence needed for growth and development. I am confident that Chief Observer Ignacio Sánchez Amor MEP will lead a successful EOM that will once more contribute positively to the strengthening of democracy in Mozambique.”

“I feel honoured to head the EU EOM to Mozambique. These elections take place in the context of important changes in the country’s administrative structure, notably with the decentralization of key aspects of governance. My objective is for the EOM to provide a positive input – through impartial and objective assessments and constructive recommendations – to an overall credible, transparent and inclusive process. And I would add that we will of course continue our work with the Mozambican authorities to implement recommendations from previous observation missions”, Chief Observer Sánchez Amor reacted.

The Electoral Observation Mission’s core team, consisting of 9 analysts, will arrive in Maputo on 31 August. The team will stay in the country until the completion of the electoral process, and will prepare a comprehensive final report. The core team will be joined shortly after its arrival by 32 long-term observers to be deployed across the country. A further 76 short-term observers will be deployed around election day. The EU EOM also looks forward to cooperating and communicating with other international and domestic observation missions.

Louis Michel receives death threats

Since the end of  2018 a prominent Belgium politician, Louis Michel  has been attacked by Congolese opponents and received several letters containing death threats, media reports. (Image: archive).

I have received several threatening letters, I have refused close protection but I am under surveillance, I do not want to say more,” said Louis Michel, the Member of the European parliament (MEP),  former European Commissioner and father of the incumbent Prime Minister.

The threats launch started on December 10, in Oslo, during the presentation of the Nobel Peace Prize to Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege, after which a dozen Congolese opponents of the Union pour la Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) movement attacked the politician.

During the month of December, Louis Michel again received letters containing explicit death threats at his home in Jodoigne.

The MEP complained and the case was taken seriously by the State Security who offered him close protection. As he confirms himself, he has not accepted it but he has been under discreet surveillance ever since.

Polls taken over the last decade indicate that roughly 75% of Congolese population self identify as members of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS).

From 1908 until independence in 1960 the Congo used to be a colony of Kingdom of Belgium. The former colony adopted its name – the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 1964.

 

Illegal migrants storm fences in Spain

A several hundreds of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa entered Spain after storming a double barrier between Morocco and the Spanish territory of Ceuta, with some attacking security forces with quicklime, police reported.

The scramble over the barrier is the biggest in Ceuta since February 2017, when more than 850 migrants entered the overseas territory over four days. Today around 600 illegals migrantes participated in breaking into Spanish territory.

At present Spain becomes the number one destination for illegal migrants crossing the Mediterranean by boat, surpassing Italy with 19,586 arrivals so far this year, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

A spokesman for the Guardia Civil police force in #Ceuta told AFP the migrants managed to climb over the double barrier, which is covered in small blades, early on Thursday morning, June 26.

They scrambled over “all of a sudden, with much violence,” and some attacked police with quicklime they had in tubes and bottles.

As a result, “more than a dozen police” were injured, four of whom had to go to hospital for burns in the face and arms.

“There is no possible justification for an organized, illegal, massive and violent assault on a border like today’s : 600 young and strong men have wounded viciously and used quicklime against  22 agents. All my support and admiration for the Guardia Civil” – wrote in her Twitter microblog Beatriz Becerra, MEP, vice-chair of the Subcommittee of Human rights of the European Parliament.

Spanish citizens are waiting for the reaction of government on this outbreak of violence.

AMENDMENT: Spanish newspaper El Pais reports total more than “800 illegal migrants from sub-Sanitarian Africa without documents” early morning hours stormed the border between Ceuta and Marocco.

 

EU sends observers to Zimbabwe elections

Following an invitation by the Zimbabwean authorities, the European Union has deployed an Election Observation Mission (EOM) to Zimbabwe to observe the harmonised elections, scheduled for 30 July 2018. This is a further demonstration of the European Union’s long-term commitment to support credible, transparent and inclusive elections worldwide.

Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, has appointed Elmar Brok, Member of the European Parliament, as Chief Observer of the EU Election Observation Mission to Zimbabwe.

“These elections will be key for the future of Zimbabwe. The future president, parliament and local government councils will have the responsibility of steering the transition process in the country. Zimbabweans can count on the strong support of the European Union and of the international community. Its stability and economic growth are key for the entire region and for the European Union as well. I am confident that the mission under the leadership of Chief Observer Elmar Brok will make an important contribution to this electoral process,” said the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini.

EU appoints observation mission to Sierra Leone

In response to an invitation by the Sierra Leonean authorities, the European Union has decided to deploy an Election Observation Mission (EOM) to Sierra Leone to observe the general elections scheduled for 7 March. This is the fourth time that the European Union is observing general elections in Sierra Leone, which reflects the EU’s long-term commitment to supporting credible, transparent and inclusive elections in the country.

Federica Mogherini, the EU top diplomat, has appointed Ms. Jean Lambert, Member of the European Parliament, as Chief Observer:

“The elections of 7 March 2008 are a milestone for the democratic process of Sierra Leone. It’s a great opportunity for the government, the National Election Commission and political parties to foster transparent, credible and peaceful elections” , Mogherini said. “This year’s general elections are very competitive and the rule of law should prevail. Under the leadership of Chief Observer Lambert the EU EOM will make an important contribution to this electoral process”.

“I am honoured to lead the EU EOM to Sierra Leone. The forthcoming general elections will be another defining moment in the country’s democratic process as a peaceful transition of power will take place for the second time after the end of the civil war” – the Chief Observer, Ms. Lambert, said ahead of his mission.  “Sierra Leone has achieved progress in terms of democratisation and governance since the end of the civil war, and this election should further consolidate stable democratic institutions. I trust that all institutions and political parties will work together to ensure that voters will be able to express their choice in a free, peaceful and calm environment, with all sides refraining from any actions or statements that may incite violence.”

The EOM Core Team of nine EU election analysts arrived in Freetown on 25 January, and will stay in the country until the completion of the electoral process to prepare a comprehensive assessment.

On 7 February, an additional group of 28 long-term observers will be deployed to Sierra Leone’s counties, ‘In this respect, the work of our long-term observers will be essential for our assessment. They all have substantial experience in observing elections around the world’ – declared Ms. Lambert.

In early March additional 40 short-term observers will be deployed across the country. A delegation of the European Parliament and diplomats from EU Member States will also reinforce the mission on election day. The EU EOM looks forward to cooperate with other international elections observation missions that have endorsed the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation.

The deployment of an EU EOM aims to contribute to enhancing the transparency of the process, the respect for fundamental freedoms and will submit to the consideration of the authorities a set of recommendations to further improve the election framework for future elections.

Tannock: “cautiously optimistic” about Zimbabwe future

Charles Tannock, MEP (UK, ECR), member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament shares his views on possible democratic developments in Zimbabwe in the aftermath of Robert Mugabe impeachment. Although an emerging new leader of the country Emmerson Mnangagwa used to be Mugabe’s closes aid, Tannock does not exclude the changes towards democratisation in domestic and foreign policy during Mnangagwa presidency. Tannock claims the European Parliament has been always paying greatest attention to the situation in Zimbabwe, calling the government in numerous resolutions to respect human rights and rule of law. However a glimpse of hope for better future for Zimbabweans came with a new leadership, the MEPs follow with keen attention Emmerson Mnangagwa’ next steps.

 

Castaldo calls EU to support democracy in Kenya

Strasbourg. Ahead of  the plenary debate on foreign affairs, Fabio CASTALDO, vice-president of European Parliament (Italy, Five Star Movement*), warns about dangers of deepening of democratic crisis in Kenya, and calls for an intense diplomatic actions of the EU to ensure restoration of fundamental rights and further peaceful development of the East African country. The outbreaks of violence are of particular concern, threatening the stability, and multiple economic projects aiming at raising the living standards of Kenyans.