TTIP and NATO start being mentioned in the US electoral debates

New Hampshire, United States – On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders came out with a major win over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. After an extremely narrow loss in Iowa last week, the Vermont senator won by over 20 points in New Hampshire.

On the Republican side, Donald Trump emerged victorious with about 35% of the vote and taking 10 delegates to the Republican National Convention this summer. Continue Reading

German and British MEPs are the only Socialists who disapprove the creation of the European Defence Union

In a vote last week in the European Parliament, British and German Socialist delegations have disapproved the creation of a European Defence Union.

The votes took place on an EP resolution called Mutual Defence Clause, which aims at asking to the EU institutions to establish, as soon as possible, practical arrangements and guidelines for the future potential activation of the mutual assistance clause. The document was adopted in the chamber following the official invocation of the mutual defence clause of Article 42(7) TEU[1] by France after the terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015. This was the first time in the EU history when this clause was invoked.

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EU Parliamentarians call for stronger EU-China relations, but condemn China’s human rights records

A vast majority of Members of the European Parliament pushed through a non-legislative resolution calling for the deepening of EU-China relations and for promoting EU-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

The resolution on EU-China relations was adopted by 554 votes in favour, 50 against and 99 abstentions. All the EU political groups voted in favour of the text with the exception of the majority of the far-right group of Marine Le Pen that opposed it and the Eurosceptic EFDD group and the Radical-left group GUE-NGL that abstained. Continue Reading

Manfred Weber (EPP) vs. Gianni Pitella (S&D): allies or rivals?

Manfred Weber and Gianni Pittella are the leaders of the two biggest political factions in the European Parliament, the groups of the European People’s Party and of the Socialists and Democrats, respectively.

Many observers have argued that there are few differences between the views of these two, a situation which acts as a disincentive for the European citizens to come to vote, since they can’t see why an option is better than the other. Continue Reading

Majority of EU Parliamentarians endorse the relocation of an additional 120,000 asylum seekers. Conservatives, Far-right and UKIP oppose

EU Parliamentarians endorsed an emergency proposal to relocate 120.000 asylum seekers from Italy, Greece and Hungary to other EU Member States. This EU Commission proposal was published on 9 September to respond to the unprecedented arrival of refugees and migrants at EU’s borders.

The text was adopted by 370 votes in favour, 134 against and 52 abstentions. This time again, the majority supporting the proposal included the socialist group S&D, the radical left group GUE/NGL and the group of the Greens together with the Christian-Democrats (EPP group) and the Liberal and Democrat members (ALDE group). The Conservatives of the ECR group opposed it alongside the far-right group of Marine Le Pen (ENF) and the British members of the EFDD group.

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EU Parliamentarians vote in favour of refugees’ binding quotas. The Conservatives and the far right oppose

Against the background of the latest refugee crisis developments, the members of the European Parliament adopted a non-legislative resolution welcoming the EU Commission’s new proposals to deal with the unprecedented influx of migrants and refugees.

The text was adopted by 432 votes in favour, 132 against and 57 abstentions. All the political groups at the left of the spectrum (the socialist group S&D, the radical left group GUE/NGL and the group of the Greens) supported the resolution together with the Christian-Democrats (EPP group) and the Liberal and Democrat members (ALDE group). The Conservative MEPs of the ECR group opposed it alongside the far-right group of Marine Le Pen (ENF) and the British members of the EFDD group (UKIP). Continue Reading

EPP and S&D groups at odds on EU security priorities

The non-binding resolution concerning the European Agenda on Security for 2015-2020 proposed by the Commission was adopted by a narrow margin by the European Parliament. This document  sets out the guidelines on how the Union can bring added value to support the Member States in ensuring security.

The text was adopted by 250 votes in favour 204 against and 184 abstentions. The socialist group and the liberals supported the final resolution. The majority of the EPP members abstained, together with the majority of the Greens and of the GUE/NGL. The conservatives, the eurosceptics and the new party group of Marine Le Pen voted against.

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Merkel’s MEPs want to consider sending arms to Ukraine, but leftist majority rejects

by Doru Frantescu

(https://twitter.com/dorufrantescu)

In a report of the European Parliament on the military situation in the Black Sea area, some Members supported an amendment asking that the possibility of providing Ukraine with defensive arms should be considered, if Russia does not fully implement the Minsk ceasefire agreements (par. 16/3).

This strong statement generated severe disagreements, dividing the MEPs on both ideological and national lines. Notably, all MEPs coming from Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU alliance supported the idea. Conversely, all MEPs coming from their coalition ally in the German government, the social-democrats (SPD), voted against it. This development illustrates the deep divisions within the German Government on what the best course of action should be in response to the rising geo-political tensions on the EU’s Eastern frontier.  Continue Reading

EU is to end its strategic partnership with Russia

The EU Parliament adopted by a large majority a report on the state of EU-Russia relations stating that in the current international context the EU has no choice but to “critically re-assess” its relations with Russia.

The non-legislative report was adopted by 494 votes in favour, 135 against and 69 abstention. Only the radical left / communists, eurosceptics and the nationalists opposed the final text. Continue Reading

Majority in EP supports Turkey’s path, but disagree on key matters

EU Parliamentarians adopted their annual report on Turkey’s progress in the context of the EU accession process. The non-binding text states that the Commission should review the conduct of the EU accession negotiations with Turkey and assess how EU-Turkey relations could be improved.

The resolution was adopted by 432 votes in favour, 94 against and 127 abstentions. The support for the continuation of the negotiations came from the EPP, S&D, ALDE and the Greens/EFA groups. Continue Reading