Far left and nationalist parliamentarians fail to block a strong EU position on the crisis in Ukraine

Photo from EPA/ Zurab Kurtsikidze

Centrist groups have succeeded in reaching a common position to ask the European Union to send a strong signal of support for Ukraine’s European aspirations. EU Parliamentarians passed a resolution condemning the acts of terrorism and criminal behavior of the separatists and other irregular forces in eastern Ukraine.

The resolution also calls for the continuation of the current EU sanctions regime and takes positive note of the recently adopted additional sanctions on investment, services and trade regarding Crimea and Sevastopol. Continue Reading

Turkish government should stop systematic pressuring of the press, or loose financial assistance, MEPs say

All political families in the European Parliament agreed on a resolution expressing the concern of the EU over the attacks to the freedom of the press in Turkey following the arrests of journalists and media executives at the end of 2014.

In the resolution, the MEPs stated their doubts over real the independence of the judiciary in the country and their worries as regards increasing intolerance towards political opposition, public protest and critical media in the past few years. Continue Reading

The EU-Canada PNR agreement sent to ECJ by the left, ALDE, eurosceptics

The European Parliament approved a resolution tabled by the ALDE group asking for the EU-Canada agreement on the transfer of Passenger Name Records (PNR) to be referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for an opinion on whether it is compatible with the EU treaties and Charter of Fundamental Rights before voting on the new agreement. The PNR agreement was signed by the EU Council of Ministers and Canada on 25 June 2014, but in order to enter into force it needs the consent of the Parliament.

The resolution passed by 383 votes in favour, 271 against and 47 abstentions. The left-leaning groups (S&D, Greens/EFA, GUE/NGL) and the right wing eurosceptics supported the proposal (the EFDD group was split). The conservative EPP and ECR groups decided to vote against the resolution, as they considered that the PNR agreement should be enforced at the soonest, to fight against terrorism and international crime.

Graph PNR EU-Canada

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MEPs call on the EU to rethink its relations with Russia

The EP adopted a resolution welcoming the Minsk ceasefire agreement and criticising its violation by Russian troops and separatists. The resolution also strongly condemns the Russian Federation for conducting a “hybrid war” against Ukraine and calls on Russia to withdraw all its military forces from the country.

The text reiterates EU’s commitment to the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine and that the international community will not recognize the annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol. Continue Reading

Large majority of MEPs see a role for the EU in the Israel-Palestine conflict

MEPs passed a resolution condemning the violations of human rights committed by both sides during the last Gaza war and urging the EU to participate effectively in the humanitarian effort and to play a more active political role in facilitating Israeli-Palestinian relations after the Gaza war.

The resolution also welcomes the ongoing dialogue between the Israeli government and the Palestinian authorities and reiterates its support for the two-state solution based on the 1967 borders. Continue Reading

EPP, S&D, ECR, ALDE, Greens/EFA groups push through EU-Ukraine Association Agreement

EPP, S&D, ECR, ALDE, Greens/EFA push through EU-Ukraine Association Agreement

Simultaneously with the Ukrainian Parliament, the European Parliament gave its consent by a large majority to the ratification of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement (AA). The Agreement will deepen political and economic ties and will create a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) between the signatories. Continue Reading

MEPs call on Russia to genuinely support Ukraine’s peace plan

The EP adopted a resolution calling on Russia to back Ukrainian peace plan, to respect the ceasefire and stressing the fundamental right of Ukrainian people to freely determine their country’s economic and political future. MEPs ask the Council and the Member States to impose further sanctions and to reduce EU’s dependence on Russian gas as well as to set up a collective ban of sale of arms to the country. Continue Reading