Plenary Focus - February 2015
The main points of discussion are the fight against terrorism, the economic and monetary union and developments in Ukraine. But heads of state and government must deal with their relations with Greece and find a solution on the basis of solidarity and mutual respect. GUE/NGL calls on the Council to stop its austerity policies and the drastic cuts dictated by the Troika.
Citizens across Europe have consistently called for origin labelling for the food they consume. The recent horsemeat scandal helped to reveal the murky and complex character of our food chains and heightened consumer demands for better information on where the food they eat comes from. The Commission must listen to these voices and finally come forward with origin labelling proposals for all meat products, including processed foods such as lasagne.
Debate: Monday; Vote: Wednesday
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a human rights violation and a form of torture. It is an extreme form of violence against women and girls (VAWG). Building on the global momentum to end FGM, it is imperative that we put girls and women centre stage in the post-2015 framework and accelerate an end to all kinds of violence against women and girls by ratifying the Istanbul Convention and putting pressure on the European Commission to come up with comprehensive EU legislation against VAWG.
I do not believe Frontex should receive additional funding. Search and rescue missions are not being done properly at the EU level not because of a lack of human resources or budget but because of its repeated unwillingness to act. Additional resources should be assigned to purposes other than mere border controls: to rescue operations in member states and to the European Asylum Support Office (EASO).
Tackling the root causes of radicalisation is paramount if we want to keep our societies secure from attacks like those we saw in Paris or keep our young people from fighting for the IS. This means we must end the omnipresent racism in Europe and the marginalisation of minorities; we must fight social exclusion and increase our efforts for social cohesion. We must realise that new policing tools, like profiling and the various forms of data retention, are received as discrimination by those affected, aggravating many Europeans’ daily experiences of racism.
In December 2014, the US Senate published a report on CIA torture following the 9/11 attacks. Since 2006, the European Parliament has been working to bring the perpetrators of CIA illegal detention and secret flights in Europe to justice, and to shed light on the complicity of some member states in these activities. This report bolsters this work and should pave the way for more pressure to be put on the Council and the member states concerned to respond once and for all to the Parliament’s demands as set out in 2012 and 2013.
This crisis started with the 2003 invasion of Iraq which displaced over 4 million people, half of whom fled to Syria. The Iraqi government that followed the invasion behaved as a sectarian militia, dissolving the Awakening Councils that had expelled Al Qaeda and using the army to supress civilian demonstrations in Al Anbar. This caused social discontent and religious extremism, which was boosted and financed by Western powers seeking a regime change in Syria. Only though coordination with the Iraqi and Syrian governments can a solution for eradicating the causes of terrorism be found. We need collaboration with regional actors under the principle of sovereignty and non-interference of the UN Charter. In terms of the humanitarian situation, members of the ‘international community’ should step up their economic efforts - they certainly seem to have enough money to spend on weapons for their air campaigns.
Debate: Wednesday; Vote: Thursday