Plenary Focus - September 2016
State of the Union
The Brexit referendum was a clear warning sign that the EU cannot go on like this. Without fundamental changes, this unique project will fail. The EU has been devastated by so many crises that a mere ‘business as usual’ is no longer an option. From regaining citizen’s trust, or tackling unemployment and social inequality, to dealing with the migration crisis, the EU badly needs to change or it’ll lose its legitimacy.
EU Trust Fund for Africa
This Trust Fund is just another instrument for reallocating, controlling and managing migration flows. It reinforces the externalisation of our borders and ‘Fortress Europe’. Moreover, this fund could well be used for ‘peacekeeping’ operations which essentially allows the security sector and private firms to thrive, which is very alarming. After all, we all know of the consequences of deploying these so-called ‘peace operations’.
Outcome of the G20 summit
What is clear from the G20 Summit is that these so-called ‘leaders of the world’ are still ignoring public demand for tackling tax avoidance and ways to deal with the root causes of the refugee crisis. We must also hold the G20 to account for promising further investments, development and tackling climate change. Social justice, fairer taxation, world peace and humanitarian solidarity should be central to all of their commitments.
Social dumping in the EU
This report on social dumping shows why neoliberal policies have helped to deregulate working relations and destroyed the welfare state. Social dumping is growing at such a scale that even the conservative and neoliberal forces can’t ignore it any longer. We at GUE/NGL supported the report though we believe more is needed for improving workers’ rights, collective bargaining and agreement, plus equal pay at the work place.
Provisional measures for asylum in favour of Italy and Greece
This proposal amends the Council Decision (EU) 2015/1601 so that 54 000 refugees will be resettled from Turkey instead of being relocated from Greece, Italy or other EU member states. Our group supported the rapporteur and rejected the proposed resettlement scheme. We instead ask for a reinforcement of the current provisions concerning the emergency relocation decisions - including a bolstering of the strong family reunification provisions.
Recent developments in Poland
Recent legislative developments in Poland, including proposals for a complete ban on abortion and unlawful denial of entry to persons seeking international protection, raise serious concerns regarding the respect of the rule of law and fundamental rights - compounded by the prolonged paralysis of the Constitutional Tribunal. We stress that the protection and promotion of human rights is a binding requirement for all member states and is at the core of the European project.
Draft budget 2017
Liadh Ní Riada
The budgetary cuts proposed by the Council and Commission are very disappointing. A post-Brexit Europe is becoming increasingly disenfranchised and fragile both economically and politically. We must strategically invest in and support the European Social Fund and to create employment if we are to reap the long-term benefits and reduce the burden on member states.
Draft budget 2017
It’s hard to agree with the overall budgetary cuts proposed. What Europeans are waiting for on jobs, growth, environment and security is for the EU to invest more - not less. We cannot accept the cuts in commitments and payments proposed for the European Social Fund and for the Youth Employment Initiative whilst many EU citizens are still suffering greatly from the consequences of the economic and financial EU crisis.
Employment Equality Directive
Rina Ronja Kari
The report includes a number of excellent recommendations and I particularly welcome its strong message on the need to improve access to justice - from the reporting of incidents to bringing them to court - and its emphasis on improving rights awareness and strengthening the support for civil society organisations. Certain problems identified in the report cannot be solved through legislation, however, but this is where NGOs come into play.
The situation in Turkey
We denounce the recent coup attempt just as we are against any violation of the rule of law and freedom of speech. We are also against the subsequent purges instigated by President Erdoğan. We must keep pressing for the democratisation of Turkey and to stop offering Erdoğan ‘immunity’ in his campaign to root out his opponents - including the Syrian Kurds who are the only force consistently fighting against I.S.
The situation in Turkey
Why are we still allowing Erdoğan to call the shots? The EU-Turkey deal is a betrayal of human rights and plays into the EU policy of ‘Fortress Europe’. Visa liberalisation must be delayed until we get a decent humanitarian policy in return. Likewise, we cannot turn a blind eye to current plight of the Kurds and a solution to both the wars in Syria and against I.S. is badly needed.