Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Speeches - 2004

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Romania's progress towards EU accession - Delivered in Plenary, December 15th 2004
I have been a Romania-watcher for five years now, ever since I took up the case of a London constituent of mine, Prince Carol Mircea. He demonstrated clearly to me that the Romanian Government, through its Prosecutor General, had repeatedly intervened on one side - allegedly under instructions from President Iliescu - of the civil case against Carol's half brother, ex-King Michael of Romania.

EU Perspectives on Human Rights in China - US Embassy, Brussels, November 30th 2004
China as the world’s most populated country with 1.3 billion people shares with the world’s next largest country, India, a common challenge which they pose to the EU in terms of economic competition but at the same time both offering a huge opportunity for exports into such massive and rapidly growing markets.

Human rights in Eritrea - Delivered in Plenary, November 18th 2004
Eritrea is a small country in Eastern Africa with four and a half million people, which only secured its independence in 1993 from Ethiopia after a bitter 30-year struggle.

Situation in Cuba - Delivered in Plenary, November 16th 2004
The role of Prime Minister Blair, as a close friend of President Bush, who is tough on Cuba, is a bit of a mystery, unless it is some shabby deal cut over Gibraltar, which is thankfully off the agenda in Madrid right now.

Ukrainian Elections - Delivered in Plenary, November 15th 2004
I will be a member of this Parliament's delegation to observe next Sunday's run-off presidential election in Ukraine. But unless the EU agrees to the long-term possibility of eventual EU membership for that delightful country, it is inevitable that whoever wins has only one economic option: to look east to Moscow.

Forthcoming Elections in the Ukraine - Delivered in Plenary, October 27th 2004
The election schedule for this Sunday is critical for the future of Ukraine. Unlike other former Soviet countries, the outcome is still genuinely uncertain and contrasts markedly with the election two weeks ago in Belarus, where a massive fraud was perpetrated on the people of that country.

Israel - Delivered in Plenary, Ocotber 13th 2004
Unlike the previous speaker I refuse to condemn so forcefully the government of Israel or the Israeli defence force in its operation on 29 September in Gaza to prevent Hamas – an organisation banned by both the US and the EU – from launching Qassam rockets which recently killed two Israeli children and wounded ten civilians in Sderot.

The British people will say “No” - Conservative Party Conference, October 5th 2004
May 1st this year finally signified the end of the cold war and sealed the reuniting of a Continent which we failed to protect from being divided-up as a result of Communist tyranny, and it gives me great pleasure to work alongside my new friends from countries such as the Czech Republic, as well as our very old friends from France and Portugal, all present here today.

Speech to Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin - Brussels, October 4th 2004
It gives me enormous pleasure to address such a distinguished audience of leading members of the Indian communities scattered across the globe as well as representatives from EU member states, including my own the UK which shares a long historic connection with the country and people of India.

Situation in Iraq - Delivered in Plenary, September 15th 2004
The situation in Iraq remains precarious, with the deaths yesterday of 47 innocent Iraqis at the hands of a fanatic suicide bomber - mainly unemployed men seeking work as policemen and willing to try to re-establish law and order in their country and enable free elections to be held next January.

Humanitarian situation in Sudan - Delivered in Plenary, September 14th 2004
Almost undoubtedly the Darfur humanitarian crisis is the worst in the world today, with approximately 1.4 million people displaced, many to camps in Chad, and an estimated 50 000 killed, and, according to WHO estimates, 10 000 dying monthly from disease and violence.

Situation in Belarus - Delivered in Plenary, September 14th 2003
Belarus is in focus now, not only for sharing over one thousand kilometres of border with the EU, but also as the last surviving major European bastion of neo-soviet ideology. One could say in its favour that unlike some of its neighbours it remains free of inter-ethnic strife.

East Timor - Delivered in Plenary, September 13th 2004
Shortly before the summer break the Supreme Court of Indonesia finally acquitted all those military officers indicted for the unlawful killing of civilians in the former Portuguese colony of East Timor

Future EU Enlargement - Delivered in Plenary, May 5th 2004
As a supporter of enlargement to the whole of Europe, I was deeply disappointed by the statement from President Prodi which gave the green light for eventual Turkish and Balkan countries’ membership but excluded Ukraine permanently. This position in my view contravenes Article 49 of the Treaty, of which he is the guardian, unless of course he regards Ukraine as not being a European country.

Cyprus referendum result - Speech to EPP-ED Group in Brussels, April 28th 2004
I speak as a friend of Cyprus with close links to the Democratic Rally Party of Cyprus. I also believe that there is too much vilification by the EU Institutions and world media against the Greek Cypriot side and Commissioner Verheugen’s arrogance is extraordinary and characteristic.

Persecution of Christians in Nigeria - Delivered in Plenary, April 22nd 2004
Nigeria is Africa's most populous state. It is a regional superpower and has made progress in terms of democracy, as well as contributing to vital peacekeeping military operations to settle regional conflicts. It is also a member of the ACP and the Commonwealth. I have many Nigerians living in London, my constituency.

Ottawa Treaty on anti-personnel mines - Delivered in Plenary, April 22nd 2004
By definition all modern military weapons are a source of death and destruction, but antipersonnel mines are particularly pernicious as, after the cessation of hostilities, their continued presence results in the ongoing death and mutilation of innocent civilians, particularly children.

Cyprus - Delivered in Plenary, April 21st 2004
As a friend of the large Cypriot community which I represent in London, I have always supported peaceful reunification of Cyprus. However, I have never underestimated the practical and political difficulties created over the 30 post-invasion years in which Turkey has moved 120 000 mainland settlers into the north, when they do not share the common historical heritage of the island and generally do not speak English or Greek, previously the bicommunal languages.

Pakistan EU Trade Agreement - Delivered in Plenary, April 21st 2004
In the past I have been a long-standing critic of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in terms of its human rights violations, in particular the ongoing persecution of Christian and Ahmadi Muslim minorities and its ambivalent and lukewarm cooperation in the fight against Islamist terrorism.

Is Ukraine next in line for EU membership - Speech to a delegation of Estonian MPs, April 11th 2004
Enlargement of the EU to 25 members is due in 2 weeks time. But what should the next move be if the process is duly digested, Romania and Bulgaria join and the Balkan left-over states in turn become members? This then opens the delicate but essential debate as to who fits in in the EU long term and where are its final boundaries.

Fight against International Terrorism - Delivered in Plenary, March 31st 2004
The fight against international terrorism is the EU's greatest challenge. In my London Constituency yesterday British Police arrested 8 British citizens of Pakistani descent with half a ton of bomb making material.

Middle East - Delivered in Plenary, March 30th 2004
The Middle East is constantly in the news which is hardly surprising. It is after all the spiritual home of the 3 great revealed religions of the world and sadly the inspiration as well for those misguided few who invoke Islam as the justification for terrorist killings.

NATO Enlargement and Russian Concerns - Delivered in Plenary, March 29th 2004
Today marks the official enlargement of NATO from 19 to 26 members as the 3 Baltic Republics join with Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania and Bulgaria. In effect all the current EU candidates for May 1st bar Malta and Cyprus.

Democracy in the Ukraine - Delivered in Plenary, March 11th 2004
In a true democracy a struggle for political power and ideas is healthy and gives people their own choice of government and political leaders. However, the results of an election can never be made certain before polling, preventing people from dismissing an unpopular regime.

EU Enlargement on May 1st - Delivered in Plenary, March 10th 2004
1st May 2004 will finally signify the end of the cold war and seal the reuniting of a continent that we failed to protect from Communist tyranny. The EU, a body of 25 states, will soon have a population of 455 million and be the biggest economic zone in the world, even bigger than the United States of America.

Rights of Guantanamo detainees - Delivered in Plenary, March 9th 2004
September 11, the attacks on the twin towers in New York, opened up a new chapter in the concept of war - namely, an asymmetric, large-scale attack by a well-organised and well-resourced, fanatic, international, Islamist grouping affiliated to al-Qa'ida, with no respect for the traditional rules and conduct of war as we know them and very difficult to formally classify under the Third and Fourth Geneva Protocols of 1949.

Fall of President Aristide - Delivered in Plenary, March 8th 2004
The dramatic fall from power of President Aristide in Haiti and the undemocratic and increasingly repressive measures by President Chávez of Venezuela to thwart the will of his people to hold a recall referendum represent a worrying trend in Latin America, as Aristide becomes the sixth democratically elected leader in that region to be ousted from power since 1999.

Toys in confectionery products - Delivered in Plenary, February 26th 2004
I would like to raise the issue of the suppression of the report commissioned by the STOA panel on the risks of small plastic toys in confectionery products. I am informed that the official statistics used by the authors significantly underestimate the true number of incidents which made them conclude that these products only pose a low risk to small children.

EU-Russia relations - Delivered in Plenary, February 26th 2004
Russia is a vast country and its contribution -historically speaking - to European culture is immense. It remains a major military power and deserves recognition on the global centre stage. Although economically it has shrunk, it is a vital source of gas and oil to the EU and has a common enemy in international Islamist terrorism.

Elections in Iran - Delivered in Plenary, February 12th 2004
Iran is a great country with a glorious past. I also believe it to be one of the most sophisticated Middle Eastern societies, with an inherent tendency towards progress and modernity. Perhaps its fundamentalist Islamic revolution will be seen, with the passage of time, as a blip in the curve of its traditionally long historic record of advancement.

Afghanistan - Delivered in Plenary, February 12th 2004
Sadly Afghanistan has been slightly forgotten about in the aftermath of the Iraq war. A lot of resources will be needed to rebuild the country, and the EU is a large donor; in my view this entitles us to lay down significant political conditions, including demanding progress in human rights, particularly women's rights to education and access to the workforce.

Pakistan Nuclear Programme and Moscow Metro Bombing - Delivered in Plenary, February 9th 2004
I would like to protest at the leniency shown by President Musharraf of Pakistan to the television confession of Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan. This House has criticised Pakistan's exports of nuclear technology in the past and received condemnation from its government for doing so.

Reform of the UN - Delivered in Plenary, January 29th 2004
First of all let me congratulate my good friend Mr Laschet on his brave attempt to reform the structures of the UN, which were shown to be sadly lacking during the recent Gulf War. The report also looks at the role that the EU should play within the UN.

EU Constitution and the Irish Presidency - Delivered in Plenary, January 28th 2004
As someone who is at least a quarter Irish, I welcome Ireland’s presidency. Mr Barón Crespo is right: the British Conservatives do not mourn the demise of the European Union constitutional project and we give thanks for Spanish and Polish intransigence.

Weapons of Mass Destruction and Syria - Delivered in Plenary, January 14th 2004
Could I press you a little further on this? You briefly alluded to the issue of weapons of mass destruction, which, rather surprisingly, on 6 January 2004, President Assad effectively admitted to possessing.

India and Pakistan - Delivered in Plenary, January 12th 2004
On a point of order. Last week at the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, India and Pakistan announced that they will meet again in a month's time to take bilateral confidence-building measures, including talks on Kashmir. This House will welcome an easing of tensions at the most dangerous flashpoint in the globe which only two years ago was on the brink of a nuclear war.