Speeches - 2012-2103
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Situation of women in North Africa - Delivered in Plenary, 14th March 2013
Spring heralded many positive changes in this politically repressed part of the world, but it is our duty now to ensure that women’s rights do not suffer from the continuing upheavals and increased extremism in the region.
Overseas countries and territories - Delivered in Plenary, 14th March 2013
The legacy of hundreds of years of European history dictates that there are many far away territories that still fall under the sovereignty of Member States. While not officially EU territory, they nevertheless deserve our political and financial support.
Multiannual Financial Framework - Delivered in Plenary, 14th March 2013
The annual budget and the multiannual financial framework (MFF) are the anchor and core around which the entire EU functions, and nothing that the EU does can take place without them. The importance of the annual budget and the MFF cannot be overstated. Agreeing the seven-year budget-cap MFF is therefore the most precious responsibility that we MEPs have: it is a power both material and symbolic.
European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) - Delivered in Plenary, 14th March 2013
Agriculture and CAP support to rural communities is a common thread across all EU Member States, but the industry varies in importance, from those whose economies rely on productive farming, such as Poland, to those with a much smaller agricultural sector such as my country, the UK. For all of us, rural development is the key to a healthy agricultural industry, but ultimately, I would like to see radical downsizing of the whole CAP scheme.
Energy roadmap 2050 - Delivered in Plenary, 14th March 2013
Energy security will, in many ways, be the key to the future prosperity of my country and all other Member States – which must think long-term and be forward-looking in this respect. It is crucial that we seek ways to diversify our energy sources and thus to protect all European countries from external influences which affect costs for consumers and threaten energy security.
Risk and safety assessments of nuclear power plants in the European Union - Delivered in Plenary, 14th March 2013
Nuclear power is the energy of the present and the future; it is cleaner in terms of greenhouse gas emission, and more efficient and more sustainable than any other prominent energy source. It is crucial that we recognise the potential of nuclear energy. It is also crucial that we do so cautiously. Stress tests on nuclear power plants are very necessary to ensure the safe production of this form of energy. These plants must be able to withstand strain such as that associated with earthquakes.
Protection of public health from endocrine disrupters - Delivered in Plenary, 14th March 2013
We all strive to protect our constituents from undue harm when possible. Health risks certainly fall within this remit.
Integration of migrants - Delivered in Plenary, 14th March 2013
The workforce is an essential component of any country: it is the workforce that upholds national economies and supports our national populations. As our working-age population declines across the Member States, we should all share concerns over the negative effect this trend will have within our countries.
Match-fixing and corruption in sport - Delivered in Plenary, 14th March 2013
If there is anything all of us in the EU share, it is a love of football. We certainly do not always agree on the same clubs, but people follow football with a passion, from London to Poland. We owe it to the football fans across our constituencies to ensure that criminally-fixed matches are prevented and the legitimacy of the game is upheld everywhere.
Global cotton value chain - Delivered in Plenary, 14th March 2013
Cotton is one of the unique materials that could be classified as a universal commodity. The material is found across industries and markets and produced all around the world. It is also of great interest to farming, textile and clothing businesses throughout the European Union, including the city I represent, London.
Situation in Bangladesh - Delivered in Plenary, 14th March 2013
When I was in Dhaka five years ago I visited the national Liberation War Museum and saw first hand the documented evidence of the atrocities carried out during the 1971 war of independence. These were mainly perpetrated on minorities, particularly the Hindus, Christians and Buddhists, who were deemed by virtue of their religion not to be loyal to Pakistan.
Iraq: plight of minority groups, in particular the Iraqi Turkmen - Delivered in Plenary, 14th March 2013
10 years after the allied military intervention, the Iraqi people sadly continue to be victims of violence and disorder on a depressingly regular basis.
Nuclear threats and human rights in North Korea - Delivered in Plenary, 13th March 2013
North Korea remains one of the most isolated and brutal dictatorships in the world, with a dangerous nuclear programme which risks a regional nuclear arms race. The recent atomic tests and ballistic missile experiments with weaponising its nuclear payload mean that the international community, via the Six Powers, and the EU now, must redouble its efforts to get the DPRK to sign the CTBT and reunify peacefully with the South.
Syria, with specific reference to the humanitarian situation - Delivered in Plenary, 13th March 2013
Each time we debate Syria the situation appears more desperate. Both sides are determined that they can win this war and seem content to entrench themselves in a battle of attrition regardless of the human cost. Assad, in particular, has reached the stage where he is prepared to reduce his once great country to a wasteland of rubble and blood, all for the purposes of retaining power and escaping justice – a megalomaniac’s Pyrrhic victory.
Situation in Mali - Delivered in Plenary, 13th March 2013
I had only a minor role to play, with three other doctors, but when duty calls, we do our best in the circumstances. I was only concerned about the length of time it took for the ambulance and the emergency medics to come from the local hospital. It was far too long a delay, but we will talk about that some other time.
EU-China relations - Delivered in Plenary, 13th March 2013
The ECR has always acknowledged the PRC as a constructive and essential global partner, and I do hope that one day we will be able to welcome it into the family of nations as a peace-loving and democratic China, with full respect for human rights – a bit like Taiwan. For the time being however, it remains a one-party Communist dictatorship with an alarmingly dismissive attitude to the welfare of its own people.
Alternative consumer dispute resolution - Delivered in Plenary, 12th March 2013
Many of our citizens’ main encounter with the EU single market comes from purchasing goods and services from other EU Member States. In principle, it is an excellent advertisement for free trade and healthy competition, and when these transactions operate smoothly it represents a great EU success story.
European venture capital funds - Delivered in Plenary, 12th March 2013
The thrust of this report on European venture capital funds is: how do we reconcile the appeals to professional investors to offer much needed risk capital to SMEs with the legitimate need to clamp down on tax havens? We must do all we can to help finance the small businesses which form the backbone of most of our economies and whose shareholders have frequently borne the brunt of the global financial turmoil.
Impact of the economic crisis on gender equality and women's rights - Delivered in Plenary, 12th March 2013
There are few in this Chamber who do not support the concept of gender equality and increased representation for women, and there is also broad agreement that the economic crisis has indeed created economic hardship for women in some parts of the EU.
Eliminating gender stereotypes in the EU - Delivered in Plenary, 12th March 2013
Perhaps the Liotard report will be most remembered for eliciting such a protest from enraged EU citizens, who have flooded our e-mail boxes, condemning Parliament’s attempts to ban pornography and censor the Internet. But, while the tone of the report is much more sensible than this – which was somewhat hysterical – it still attempts to adopt powers that are reserved to EU Member State governments.
European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing - Delivered in Plenary, 7th February 2013
Ageing is a challenge we must all face and in fact, for the record, professionally I trained as an old-age psychiatrist. The elderly are a growing portion of the EU population and have a great deal to contribute to our societies. Growing older should have no correlation to quality of life and it is important that we ensure that all of our respective national elderly populations age with grace and with opportunities to continue to be active, to learn new things and to enjoy their lives.
Corporate social responsibility - Delivered in Plenary, 7th February 2013
Corporate social responsibility programmes can have powerful impacts at local level on alleviating social issues throughout the world. For businesses which choose to create such programmes and have the capacity to manage them, I fully support their endeavours, but businesses should have the right to choose whether or not to participate in such programmes and this decision lies firmly with its shareholders and boards of directors.
Governance of the single market - Delivered in Plenary, 7th February 2013
For the British Conservatives the Single Market is the backbone of the European Union. As such it is integral to the existence of the Union, offering 500 million people in the world’s largest economic bloc the right to trade freely and competitively. Against the backdrop of the financial crisis a strong comprehensive Single Market is required now more than ever and can only be achieved through a framework of strong governance and leadership.
Judicial training - court coordinators - Delivered in Plenary, 7th February 2013
Duplication and redundancy is a plague amongst many of our national governments. In an international organisation such as the EU, we must be even more vigilant in avoiding repetition and in streamlining our efforts. Efforts to promote a European judicial standard are already under way in the area of civil law.
Laos: the case of Sombath Somphone - Delivered in Plenary, 7th February 2013
the mysterious disappearance of Sombath Somphone, who is a well-known critic and dissident in Laos, is a deep tragedy indeed and, from the video footage, it is widely suspected that the security service or the police may be involved, but proof of course is lacking.
Detention of human rights activists in Zimbabwe - Delivered in Plenary, 7th February 2013
It is an oft-peddled cliché that Zimbabwe travelled in the course of a few years from bread-basket to basket case. Certainly 10 years ago it stared into an economic abyss as Mugabe’s tyrannical regime impoverished, suppressed and exploited his own people.
Recent attacks on medical aid workers in Pakistan - Delivered in Plenary, 7th February 2013
the case of medical workers being brutally murdered in Pakistan simply for trying to protect children from a crippling disease – polio – exposes the moral bankruptcy at the heart of the Taliban. In their quest to subjugate women and spread lies about vaccinations making Muslim children infertile, they have not only further poisoned the political outlook in Pakistan, but potentially put a generation of children at risk of disease for the sake of their vicious and distorted dogma.
Prices of medicinal products for human use - Delivered in Plenary, 6th February 2013
20 years ago there were only 12 Member States and the single market was only a few months old. Despite all the fundamental changes that have occurred since then, the existing directive regulating the pricing of pharmaceutical products has not once been amended. It is therefore absolutely necessary to update this directive in the interests of patients and health insurance providers.
Common fisheries policy - Delivered in Plenary, 6th February 2013
It scarcely needs to be pointed out that the radical change to the common fisheries policy is long overdue. For years the sight of British fishermen being compelled to throw discards back into the sea – something like one million tonnes of these dead fish yearly, and they are perfectly edible fish – demonstrated an unfeeling absurdity in EU policy and fomented deep domestic resentment in the UK about the over-extension of European Union power.
Sound level of motor vehicles - Delivered in Plenary, 6th February 2013
Anyone who has visited my region of London can attest to the fact that the capital city is plagued by noise pollution. My constituents and I would certainly appreciate reduced noise levels in the city, but Londoners also have a love of motor sports and luxury vehicles and many are connected to the UK’s substantial auto industry. Ultimately they would not be willing to trade economic growth for slightly quieter streets.
Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls - Delivered in Plenary, 6th February 2013
I doubt there is a single decent-minded politician who would not welcome efforts to combat the scourge of violence against women and girls. Despite the progress of the last fifty years it is shocking that violence against women continues to be perpetrated in every country in the world, including even children, such as the recent case in Pakistan.
Improving access to finance for SMEs - Delivered in Plenary, 5th February 2013
If big business forms the backbone of a modern economy, such as the one in my region of London, then small and medium-sized enterprises could be described as its heart. They have suffered the most under the global financial crisis, so I am delighted to support EU growth measures to boost SMEs and protect them as far as possible from the economic uncertainties and increased red tape of today.
Iraq - Delivered in Plenary, 17th January 2013
The ECR Group accepts the need to sign the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with Iraq. However, we abstained during the vote on the resolution on the situation in the country.
EC-Eastern and Southern Africa States Economic Partnership Agreement - Delivered in Plenary, 17th Janaury 2013
I welcome the promotion of free trade as the cornerstone of EU external commercial policy. The Cotonou Agreement enabled African, Caribbean and Pacific countries to have a trade and development relationship with us covering not just trade in goods but also services, trade-related rules and development cooperation.
Regulation on mandatory marking of origin - Delivered in Plenary, 17th Janaury 2013
Is it vitally necessary to stamp ‘made in the UK’ on every product made in my country? Although emotionally appealing, this proposed regulation is all about compulsion, rarely welcomed by business. It can add to commercial costs without providing a durable consumer benefit.
State of play of EU-Mercosur trade relations - Delivered in Plenary, 17th Janaury 2013
The EU is Latin America’s second largest trading partner after the US, and its leading investor. Although only a handful of European countries are commercially active in the region, the GBP 200 billion of direct investment is not spread evenly across the continent. Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Chile take the lion’s share of this money but they are not responding with measures to open their markets.
Violence against women in India - Delivered in Plenary, 17th January 2013
We must remember that India is a strong, secular democratic country with a firm commitment to human rights. Much of the comment directed at India since this appalling murder has lambasted its so-called ‘rape culture’, but given the report’s statistics on rape and sexual assault in Europe, and indeed worldwide, we must be extremely careful before throwing stones from glass houses.
Human rights situation in Bahrain - Delivered in Plenary, 17th Janaury 2013
Let me make it clear that much of what has happened in the kingdom of Bahrain since the anti-government protests began two years again has been unacceptable. The police have frequently acted with gross disproportionality, and innocent protestors have indeed been killed.
Modification of Parliament's calendar of part-sessions - 2013 - Delivered in Plenary, 16th Janaury 2013
I just want to speak on this very important issue. It may be a little insensitive perhaps with the 50th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty coming up next Tuesday to stand in the city where a former Conservative Party leader, Winston Churchill, called for Europe to unite after the war and say that all MEPs must leave this city.
Public finances in EMU - 2011 and 2012 - Delivered in Plenary, 16th January 2013
The eurozone crisis gives me no pleasure and unemployment and recession are evils that nobody deserves, but they are a consequence of the profligacy and irresponsibility of some governments which avoided the choices that many other governments had to make in the 1980s and 1990s.
Credit rating agencies - Delivered in Plenary, 16th January 2013
Credit rating agencies have been widely blamed for their role in the financial crisis of 2008. They triple-A rated the US mortgage-backed securities, which ultimately caused the collapse of institutions such as Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and AIG.
Feasibility of introducing stability bonds - Delivered in Plenary, 16th January 2013
The eurozone crisis – which I actually wrote about as inevitable a decade ago – is an existential challenge to the European integrationalist project. It is therefore not surprising that European leaders – the ones most committed to further political union – will do whatever it takes to resolve this matter.
Situation in Syria - Delivered in Plenary, 16th January 2013
It is hard to believe that the Syrian conflict has now been going on for two years with so many lives lost and so little achieved in terms of bringing peace to a once stable Middle Eastern country. Only yesterday 87 people were killed in a bombing attack on Aleppo’s university campus.
EU-Iraq partnership and cooperation agreement - Delivered in Plenary, 16th January 2013
It is clear that Iraq has made some progress since the fall of Saddam Hussein, but key concerns remain about the stability of the country and the state of human rights within it. Iraq’s government is fragile and its people continue to face the daily anxiety of terrorism and intercommunal violence. Only today, ten people were reportedly killed in an attack on political offices in Kirkuk.
Recent casualties in textile factory fires, notably in Bangladesh - Delivered in Plenary, 16th January 2013
We must bear in mind above all that Bangladesh is a relatively stable secular democracy which expends genuine effort to fulfil its human rights obligations, and it depends very much on EU textile trade to create jobs in this country. What happened in the textile factory fire was a grave and genuine human tragedy, but I have received assurances of a thorough investigation by the Bangladeshi authorities and support for their families.
Recommendations of the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference - Delivered in Plenary, 16th January 2013
Despite my initial misgivings, this resolution put before Parliament is broadly in line with the views of the ECR and therefore we can support it. Certainly its aspirations that the Middle East should be an area free from weapons of mass destructions are shared by all of us. In a highly charged region, heavily susceptible to conflict, the dangers of nuclear proliferation are self-evident.
Urban redevelopment as contribution to economic growth - Delivered in Plenary, 15th January 2013
The Cozzolino report on urban development as a contribution to EU growth concludes that the EU Cohesion Policy must focus on developing and assisting local initiatives. As an MEP for London, this of course makes sense to me. We must avoid taxpayers’ money being filtered by bureaucratic layers, leaving only residues for those that are targeted.
Role of territorial development in cohesion policy - Delivered in Plenary, 15th January 2013
The report on territorial development and cohesion policy focuses on how to improve the funding programmes in the forthcoming 2014–2020 MMF, but it is too prescriptive, and its advocacy for increased funding is frankly not acceptable. Funding needs to be reduced.
European Union Solidarity Fund, implementation and application - Delivered in Plenary, 15th January 2013
The report on the EU Solidarity Fund dealing with assistance to Member States following national disasters, acknowledges that austerity across the Union precludes an increase in the budget line allocated to the Fund and this aspect I particularly welcome. So I also welcome the Commission’s recent decisions that changes in the Solidarity Fund will not impose any additional financial burden on both the Member States and the EU’s budget.
Intellectual property rights on genetic resources - Delivered in Plenary, 15th January 2013
The report on the development aspects of intellectual property rights and genetic resources overlaps with a key component of the MDG, namely the global protection and preservation of biodiversity, which is being lost at an alarming rate. In this context, biopiracy, which is the misappropriation of indigenous medicinal plant knowledge, has also emerged as a concern for developing countries.
Situation in Mali - Delivered in Plenary, 15th January 2013
The situation in Mali has rapidly become one of the most pressing and alarming issues facing the globe, both in humanitarian terms and in the wider international context of security. Ever since I was appointed as rapporteur for human rights in the Sahel, the outlook on the ground has deteriorated beyond measure.
EU strategy for the Horn of Africa - Delivered in Plenary, 14th January 2013
The whole of Africa is one of the most tense and conflict-prone regions of the world. The countries of the region – Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda – continue to be characterised by strife.
EU Agency for Fundamental Rights - Delivered in Plenary, 13th December 2012
The EU Agency on Fundamental Rights is something whose necessity – particularly at a time of economic austerity – and value added I remain sceptical about, given the overlapping roles of the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights, the OSCE, etc. I nevertheless support the agency’s efforts to improve the lives of ordinary citizens by combating discrimination and promoting human rights.
New EU-Russia agreement - Delivered in Plenary, 12th December 2012
Russia is a strategic partner for the EU with vast oil, gas and mineral reserves. As a neighbour it shares a border with the EU and there are large numbers of Russophone people across Europe, including in the London region I represent.
Situation in Egypt - Delivered in Plenary, 12th December 2012
As all students of political history know, a revolution represents not transformation but transition. Egypt could not have been expected to create fully-democratic institutions overnight, but nevertheless certain recent acts by President Morsi are to be roundly condemned.
Israeli government's decision to expand settlements in the West Bank - Delivered in Plenary, 12th December 2012
While the ECR greatly sympathises with Palestinian frustrations, their successful effort to win observer status at the UN provoked justifiable anger in the eyes of the Israeli Government who have offered much evidence to support their claims of a material breach of the 1993 Oslo peace accords.
Situation in Ukraine - Delivered in Plenary, 12th December 2012
I welcome the Council’s declaration on Ukraine, which recognises the European aspirations of this large, strategic country, of which I am very fond.
Human rights situation in Iran - Delivered in Plenary, 22nd November 2012
We in this House have watched with grave alarm over many years now as the human rights situation in Iran – not to mention the political situation, as well – continues to deteriorate. As this resolution makes clear, the Iranian regime is guilty of the most egregious abuses of basic human rights.
Climate change conference in Doha - Delivered in Plenary, 21st November 2012
With all the crises going on in the world – the eurozone one, the fiscal cliff in the USA, a nuclear Iran etc. – climate change has slipped somewhat down the political agenda. But Hurricane Sandy was a bit of a wake-up call, and I do now hope that President Obama in his second term will act decisively.
Enlargement: policies, criteria and the EU's strategic interests - Delivered in Plenary, 21st November 2012
The ECR Group is of the view that EU enlargement is a success story, but we also support a more flexible, variable EU geometry in any new proposed future European Union treaty allowing some countries to integrate further than others.
Situation in Gaza - Delivered in Plenary, 21st November 2012
The key difference, of course, is that Israel does not indiscriminately target civilians like Hamas and the Islamic Jihad do when they launch rockets towards cities as far afield as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Elections in Belarus - Delivered in Plenary, 26th October 2012
I was extremely disappointed – but not altogether surprised – to receive the negative reports about the recent Belarus elections. These elections represented a rubber-stamping exercise to support a foregone conclusion. The Lukashenko regime, now in its 19th year, has been ruthless in its persecution of political opponents and gagging of the press as part of a desperate attempt to cling on to power by whatever means.
Elections in Georgia - Delivered in Plenary, 26th October 2012
I too fully applaud the Georgian people for the dignified and peaceful way in which they conducted their elections, and congratulate the Georgian Government on its speedy implementation of the people’s democratic will. Georgia is an unrecognisable place from the dictatorship which oppressed its people until just nine years ago.
Human rights situation in the United Arab Emirates - Delivered in Plenary, 26th October 2012
The UAE is a relatively open and diverse society with more than 100 000 British citizens residing there. This openness to outside influences continues to result in a better understanding among the governing élite of the importance of human rights. The EU and the UAE have an important economic and security partnership as well.
Discrimination against girls in Pakistan, in particular the case of Malala Yousafzai - Delivered in Plenary, 26th October 2012
The cowardly attack on Malala Yousafzai was a truly heinous crime. Barbaric violence was visited upon a child of 14, whose only perceived offence was to dare to speak out for the rights of girls to an education.
Situation in Cambodia - Delivered in Plenary, 26th October 2012
Cambodia has come a long way from the murderous tyranny of the Khmer Rouge and the Killing Fields, but recent events demonstrate there is still much work to be done.
EC and Israel -Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products - Delivered in Plenary, 23rd October 2012
The ACAA Protocol is not about human rights, the occupied territories or Israel’s approach to the Middle East peace process. It is about trade and unblocking technical barriers which currently exist between producers and consumers: one of the fundamental objectives of the European Union.
Persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Burma - Delivered in Plenary, 13th September 2012
Burma has surprised the world in the past two years, moving dramatically away from military-governed authoritarianism and towards greater openness and democracy.
Azerbaijan: the case of Ramil Safarov - Delivered in Plenary, 13th September 2012
The ECR Group regards the granting of a pardon by President Aliyev, and the hero’s welcome given to Ramil Safarov immediately after his return home to Azerbaijan, as deplorable.
Common Foreign and Security Policy - Delivered in Plenary, 11th September 2012
The ECR Group has consistently asserted that CFSP must always be subject to unanimity in the Council. Britain, for instance, is a major military power with a permanent seat in the UN Security Council and must always, of course, retain sovereignty in its foreign policy.
EU-Israel agreement on conformity assessment - Delivered in Plenary, 3rd July 2012
The ECR Group believes, with regard to the EU-Israel ACAA, that the concerns raised in the joint oral question from the Committee on International Trade and the Committee on Foreign Affairs are unfounded and confused, as this agreement is not about the territorial provenance of pharmaceutical products, but the right for competent Israeli authorities to certify medicines that they examine as being up to EU standards.
Cases of impunity in the Philippines - Delivered in Plenary, 14th June 2012
I too express my deep concern over the reported climate of impunity that has developed in recent years in the Philippines. Of particular concern was the 2009 tragic massacre of 57 individuals, including civil rights campaigners and journalists, participating in a peaceful convoy in Maguindanao. This tragic event illustrates the extent to which the Manila Government is increasingly presiding over a criminal culture of intimidation, extra-judicial killings and widespread corruption.
Latest developments in the Middle East, including Syria - Delivered in Plenary, 12th June 2012
The ECR Group utterly condemns the barbaric atrocities perpetrated against innocent civilians, including women and children, by the al-Assad Ba’athist regime in Syria. Damascus has turned its paramilitary thugs against its own citizens. The so-called ‘shabiha’ are beyond control and are increasingly acting with total impunity. Their atrocities have actually shocked the international community and are reminiscent in my view of the unspeakable atrocities of the Balkans 20 years ago.
Elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo - Delivered in Plenary, 12th June 2012
The elections in the DRC last year did return President Kabila back to power. However, the elections themselves lacked the unequivocal legitimisation of being certified as free and fair, due to incomplete monitoring of the ballot, and there were widespread reports of voter coercion and other irregularities that, as of yet, remain unresolved.
Sudan and South Sudan - Delivered in Plenary, 23rd May 2012
The ECR Group is deeply concerned about the risk of war breaking out between Sudan and Africa’s newest State, South Sudan. We, as a group, fully support efforts by the ex-President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, to mediate via the African Union and bring the parties to the negotiating table.
Guinea-Bissau - Delivered in Plenary, 23rd May 2012
Ever since independence from Portugal in the 1970s after a bloody war, the small, impoverished West African country of Guinea-Bissau has remained in a state of almost constant conflict between the civilian and military authorities, with a spate of political assassinations.
Trade and investment strategy following the Arab Spring revolutions - Delivered in Plenary, 9th May 2012
The Arab Spring was undoubtedly the most important political transformation in the Middle East and North African countries in decades. Despotic and corrupt – but secular – governments were cast aside, and promises of freedom abounded. However, the transitional governments that have emerged so far have mostly failed to live up to their laudable commitments to plurality, with Tunisia perhaps being the sole exception.
EU accession to the European Convention on Human Rights - Delivered in Plenary, 19th April 2012
The European Court of Human Rights, in my view, now seems far too often to champion the phoney human rights of the criminal or terrorist rather than protect the victims. This court is deeply unpopular and, in my view, brings the whole of the European Union into disrepute because, in the eyes of the Daily Mail readership, the European Court of Human Rights and the Council of Europe are one and the same thing.
Situation in Mali - Delivered in Plenary, 17th April 2012
The ECR Group fully condemns the unilateral declaration of independence of Azawad, which is exploiting the vacuum following the military coup which recently ousted Malian President Touré. The MNLA (National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad) separatist rebels must now hand over control of the northern areas which they currently control to the central political authorities in Mali, as demanded by the international community. Anything else will destabilise the strategically-vital Sahel region.
Situation in Syria - Delivered in Plenary, 17th April 2012
The political and human rights situation in Syria continues to deteriorate, sadly. Reports this afternoon suggest that Syrian Government forces have once more started bombarding the Free Syrian Army-held areas in and around Homs, breaking with impunity the ceasefire under the UN-Annan peace plan. I now call upon the High Representative to redouble the EU’s efforts in the ongoing international negotiations.
Situation in Burma - Delivered in Plenary, 17th April 2012
The recent elections in Burma demonstrated the country’s substantial progress towards rejoining the international democratic community following decades of diplomatic isolation as a virtual pariah state. President Thein Sein should be congratulated on the reforms he is presiding over, and we all in this House congratulate and salute the courage of Aung San Suu Kyi, who now is an MP again in her country.
Enlargement report for Montenegro - Delivered in Plenary, 28 March 2012
Montenegro as a candidate country remains a relatively straightforward country in terms of monitoring its progress towards EU accession, and, in this case, small is beautiful. Montenegro has worked hard to address the criteria and benchmarks set by you as Commissioner in seven key priority areas
Human trafficking in Sinai, in particular the case of Solomon W - Delivered in Plenary, 15th March 2012
The current situation in Sinai is deplorable. Many asylum seekers are reported to lose their lives there each year, with still more being kidnapped and held hostage.
Palestine: raids by Israeli forces on Palestinian TV stations - Delivered in Plenary, 15th March 2012
The events reported last week in which Israeli soldiers raided the Palestinian television stations of Al-Watan TV and Al-Quds Educational TV, confiscating administrative files and broadcasting equipment, do indeed show that tension between the two communities is high.
Human rights violations in Bahrain - Delivered in Plenary, 15th March 2012
Last month marked the anniversary of the peaceful popular movement calling for respect for fundamental human rights and democratic reforms in Bahrain. There was evidence of disproportionate use of force by the security forces to crack down on protestors, and then came the controversial arrival of Gulf Cooperation Council troops.
Enlargement report for Iceland - Delivered in Plenary, 15th March 2012
The ECR Group fully supports Iceland’s eventual accession to the EU. Iceland is a small stable and wealthy democracy and a founder member of NATO and the Council of Europe. It has also made good progress in the accession process. I welcome the fact that Iceland’s Supreme Court has recognised its EEA/EFTA obligations and the jurisdiction of that court regarding compensation for Icesave depositors, which will no doubt come up during the accession negotiations. I understand around one third of the recognised priority claims have now been repaid.
Kazakhstan - Delivered in Plenary, 14th March 2012
Kazakhstan is a geopolitically strategic country in Central Asia with large energy reserves. It is also a model of peaceful Christian/Muslim coexistence. It has recently offered a secure route to evacuate British ISAF troops as a substitute for the precarious Pakistani route. I have no illusions that this country is a Western-style democracy, but neither is it a repressive totalitarian state.
Situation in Nigeria - Delivered in Plenary, 14th March 2012
I last spoke on Nigeria in 2010 after the Jos massacres. Recent events, following repeated atrocities and kidnappings by the jihadi group Boko Haram, remind us that Nigeria sadly is a chronically unstable country.
Situation in Syria - Delivered in Plenary, 15th February 2012
The shelling in the city of Homs by the Syrian regime is atrocious and must be condemned unequivocally by the international community. The decision of China and Russia to veto a UN resolution condemning this brutal crackdown and the killing of many unarmed women and children is also shameful.
Agreement between the EU and Morocco on agricultural and fishery products - Delivered in Plenary, 14th February 2012
Morocco is a stable North African kingdom with close historical relations across the Mediterranean to its nearest European neighbours. My Group is in favour of all measures which ensure that Morocco remains a prosperous and stable country in North Africa and welcomes the recent political and constitutional reform programme from the King.
Iran and its nuclear programme - Delivered in Plenary, 1st February 2012
Iran’s nuclear military ambitions and its government’s constant refusal to engage with the IAEA and UN Security Council demands constitute a major threat to global security. They also pose a potential risk to peace in the Middle East, with an existential threat to the State of Israel in particular.