Speeches - 2006
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Activities of the Finnish Presidency - Delivered in Plenary, 18th December 2006
First I wish to congratulate the Finnish Presidency on completing Romanian and Bulgarian accession. However, unlike most speakers in the House, I am glad Mr Vanhanen maintained unanimity on justice and home affairs, an area seen by countries, particularly my own United Kingdom, as one of delicate national sovereignty.
Enlargement strategy and main challenges 2006-2007 - Delivered in Plenary, 13th December 2006
The smooth successive waves of EU enlargement are a magnificent achievement of the EU. The fifth wave, which enlarged the Union to 25 Member States two years ago, has actually been a great success, in spite of warnings that the Union would be paralysed without a constitution and that countries such as my own would suffer unsustainable immigration flows, including from the Roma population.
Russia and the EU - Delivered in Plenary, 29th November 2006
Russia, in its four common spaces engaging with the EU, remains our strategic partner. We need a strong, united and stable Russia as an ally against rising Islamist terrorism, working with us through the Quartet in solving the Arab-Israeli conflict, preventing in the UN Security Council Iranian and North Korean nuclear proliferation, as well as being a reliable trading partner in its supply of 30% of the EU’s gas needs.
Famagusta - Delivered in Plenary, 16th November 2006
Since the Turkish invasion of 1974, Cyprus has remained tragically divided and the city of Famagusta has been occupied by the Turkish armed forces. We are now beginning to see a promising deal emerging under the Finnish Presidency of the EU, under which the Turkish-occupied north of the island can be reopened to direct trade through the port of Famagusta, under strict EU monitoring
Bangladesh - Delivered in Plenary, 16th November 2006
It must be a top EU priority to ensure free and fair elections next year in Bangladesh, a traditionally secular and democratic country of 140 million people. For many years since its foundation in 1971, Bangladesh was the exception in the Islamic world as it pursued its independent course as a Bengali nation in a peaceful and democratic fashion
Situation in Gaza - Delivered in Plenary, 15th November 2006
Last week’s incident in Gaza, when an IDF shell mistakenly struck Beit Hanoun causing the death of 19 innocent Palestinians, is clearly tragic. The Prime Minister of Israel has apologised and ordered a full investigation.
A Baltic Sea Strategy for the Northern Dimension - Delivered in Plenary, 15th November 2006
First of all let me congratulate the rapporteur, my friend Alexander Stubb, and my colleague Christopher Beazley for his good work as Chairman of the Baltic Intergroup.
EC-Syria Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreement - Delivered in Plenary, 25th October 2006
The EU’s strategic interest with Syria is maintaining peace in the wider Middle East so that oil flows, and to steer the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians towards a durable two-state solution settlement, as detailed in Mrs De Keyser’s report.
Visit of Lebanese Prime Minister - Delivered in Plenary, 28th September 2006
On a point of order, I wish to protest at the address made by Prime Minister Siniora of Lebanon to the Conference of Presidents yesterday. He made a totally biased, one-sided address and there was no catch-the-eye opportunity to reply to what he said.
The EU's economic and trade relations with India - Delivered in Plenary, 27th September 2006
The EU’s strategic partnership with democratic India is of vital importance for both the EU and India. I welcome the strengthening of political and economic dialogue and engagement as well as discussions on human rights at the India-EU Summit on 13 October. However, given the astonishing recent growth of India’s economy and its emerging global big-power status, our partnership must now deepen.
Turkey's progress towards accession - Delivered in Plenary, 26th September 2006
The stated EU position and that of my party is to support Turkish EU membership. But nevertheless, no one can under-estimate the challenges it poses in terms of Turkey’s absorption into the EU, with its very large population and hence the political influence it will gain by joining the EU, its relative poverty and therefore demands on the structural funds, as well as its distinct and separate cultural and religious identity.
Situation in the Middle East - Delivered in Plenary, 6th September 2006
The recent conflict between Israel and Hizbollah is a tragedy for Israel and the people of Lebanon. For some time, many of us in this House have been campaigning for the EU to declare Hizbollah a terrorist organisation. It is clear that Hizbollah seriously miscalculated the scale of the retribution when it decided to kill eight soldiers and kidnap two from northern Israel. Hassan Nasrallah, its leader, has admitted as much.
EU-China relations - Delivered in Plenary, 6th September 2006
China is the EU’s second-largest trading partner after the USA and, in economic terms, cannot be ignored. Nevertheless, it remains a one-party communist dictatorship, sharing little in the way of common values with the EU, unlike India, which shares the West’s respect for democracy and human rights.
Extraordinary rendition - Delivered in Plenary, 5th July 2006
Unlike Mr Moraes I was opposed from the very start to the Temporary Committee on the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners, and it should stop right now in its tracks. It is an expensive exercise, duplicating Senator Marty’s efforts in the Council of Europe, and one driven by a political desire by the left and liberals to bash America, and the CIA in particular, in their efforts to fight global terrorism.
Situation in Palestine - Delivered in Plenary, 5th July 2006
The escalation of tension in the Palestinian territory was provoked by the Hamas-led kidnapping of Corporal Shalit with unrealistic demands for the release of Palestinian prisoners. Coming on the back of the cold-blooded murder of a civilian settler and the continuing firing of Qassam rockets from Gaza on to Israeli civilian areas, Prime Minister Olmert had no choice but to launch the limited surgical intervention by the IDF. I too now call for Corporal Shalit’s immediate release.
East Timor - Delivered in Plenary, 15th June 2006
It saddens me that back in 1999 I made my maiden speech in the European Parliament on East Timor, shortly before the United Nations sent in a peacekeeping force which paved the way for its eventual independence. To date, it remains the youngest member of the United Nations, as from 2002.
European Council - Delivered in Plenary, 14th June 2006
I wish I was making this speech in a Parliament based in Brussels rather than in this Chamber, since the ongoing Strasbourg circus, now exacerbated by financial scandal, brings our House into disrepute.
17th EU-Russia Summit - Delivered in Plenary, 13th June 2006
Russia remains, geographically of course, the largest country in the world and enjoys a strategic partnership with the EU through the ‘four common spaces’. Russia, for all its faults, remains a democracy, albeit an increasingly authoritarian one. It still enjoys vigorous debate in its many media outlets, even if the control by the Kremlin through self-censorship is becoming more apparent in recent years.
Taiwan - Delivered in Plenary, 18th May 2006
Taiwan is a prosperous, peaceful, democratic country which upholds high standards of human rights and the rule of law and threatens no-one. Its citizens enjoy some of the best healthcare provisions in Asia.
European Neighbourhood and Partnership - Delivered in Plenary, 17th May 2006
Firstly I would like to congratulate the rapporteur, Mr Szymánski, on the ENPI. The European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument – which will replace the existing Tacis and Meda programmes in 2007 – is, in my view, essential to budgetary discipline and procedure. It will cover the Euromed countries of the Barcelona Process and the Western NIS countries, as well as the three Caucasus republics.
Accession of Bulgaria and Romania - Delivered in Plenary, 16th May 2006
Enlargement is truly one of the great stories of the EU. The fifth wave, which enlarged the Union to 25 Member States in 2004, has actually been a great success, in spite of many dire warnings that the Union would be paralysed without a Constitution and that countries such as mine would suffer unsustainable immigration flows, including from the Roma population.
Suspension of aid to the Palestinian authority - Delivered in Plenary, 26th April 2006
I stand 150% behind the Council and Commission’s wise decision to freeze all direct budgetary aid to the Palestinian Authority led by an unreformed Hamas. I always questioned Western legitimisation and acceptance of Hamas candidates committed to armed struggle and to wiping the state of Israel off the map. I took the trouble of reading their 1988 charter, which is chillingly medieval, bigoted and steeped in incitement to anti-Semitism and support for Jihad and Sharia law.
A stronger partnership between the EU and Latin America - Delivered in Plenary, 26th April 2006
Regrettably, in the last few years, particularly after the last wave of EU enlargement to the current 25 Member States, Latin America has ceased to be as much in focus politically as it was immediately after, say, the accession of Portugal and Spain in the 1980s and 1990s. Let us hope, however, that the 12 May Summit will change all of this.
Elections in Ukraine - Delivered in Plenary, 5th April 2006
I was privileged to observe the 26 March Ukrainian parliamentary election on behalf of this House and the delegation from my political group, the PPE-DE Group. Those elections, in all our views, were held on the day in an exemplary fashion. I formed the view, personally, that in many ways the elections were superior in design to those in my own country, the United Kingdom.
Belarus after the elections - Delivered in Plenary, 23rd March 2006
Belarus unexpectedly woke up to statehood in 1991. It has had a terrible history, suffering particularly badly from the fallout from Chernobyl. Indeed, I was one of the authors of an amendment in the last Parliament to increase the funding to help the children who are still suffering the consequences of the radioactivity to date.
Security of EU energy supply - Delivered in Plenary, 22nd March 2006
Energy security and diversification of the source of supply has dramatically risen up the political agenda this year following the use of the ‘gas weapon’ by Gazprom against Ukraine and Moldova over the New Year period. It is no longer a technical matter confined to technocrats and has become as much a part of the CFSP as the remit of energy ministers.
Enlargement - Delivered in Plenary, 16th March 2006
Like most of my British Conservative delegation colleagues, I voted in favour of Mr Brok’s excellent report and I congratulate him. Nevertheless, my party opposes the Constitutional Treaty for the European Union and therefore we voted to delete paragraph 6, as it is clear that the current wave of enlargement from 15 to 25 Member States has worked extremely well without an EU Constitution.
Kazakhstan - Delivered in Plenary, 16th March 2005
I, like all my MEP colleagues, am horrified by the brutal murder of opposition leader Altynbek Sarsenbayev on 13 February. I welcome the fact that President Nazarbayev has called in the FBI to track down the culprits, and his statement of 21 February on punishing the perpetrators.
Visit of Palestinian Authroity President - Delivered in Plenary, 13th March 2006
So far President Mahmoud Abbas, who is due to address us this Wednesday, has been a big disappointment as President of the Palestinian Authority. He has been unable or unwilling to reign in terrorist suicide bombers, including his own Fatah al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.
Cultural heritage in Azerbaijan - Delivered in Plenary, 16th February 2006
The alleged demolition in December 2005 of the mediaeval Julfa – also known historically as Jugha – Armenian burial grounds, with the breaking-up of the khachkars, or beautifully engraved headstones, is a serious desecration of European Christian heritage.
Iran and the international community - Delivered in Plenary, 15th February 2006
For some years Iran has sought to export its fundamentalist revolution beyond its Shia lands to Sunni population areas, including Palestine, where, through Syria and its proxy terrorist Hezbollah, it liaises with Islamic Jihad and Hamas, both committed to theocracies under Sharia law. A nuclear-armed Iran is therefore particularly dangerous to Western security, and that of Israel in particular.
Run up to Belarus presidential elections - Delivered in Plenary, 15th February 2006
19 March marks the Belarus presidential election, in which there is still a chance that the country will assume its rightful place in the European family of democracies and conduct a free and fair election. However, in reality, the chances are very small, as President Lukashenko, since his election in 1994, has turned his country into a self-isolated police state and a sham democracy.
Palestinian Elections - Delivered in Plenary, 1st February 2006
I had the deepest misgivings about allowing an unreformed Hamas to run candidates for the Palestinian elections. Perhaps the calculation of Mr Bush and others was that Hamas would not win, or that it would significantly modify its rhetoric and policies if brought into the electoral process. I beg to differ.
Extradition to Peru former President Alberto Fujimori - Delivered in Plenary, 19th January 2006
Speaking as a longstanding friend of Chile and Peru, the Fujimori extradition question is one of great interest to me. These two countries have very long memories, stretching back to the War of the Pacific in the 19th century, in which Peru lost Arica and Tacna to Chile.
Chechnya after the elections - Delivered in Plenary, 18th January 2006
Russia clearly faces a serious criminal and terrorist threat in Chechnya, and the surrounding northern Caucasus remain unstable, with daily killings of both the security forces and criminals. There are also frequent civilian kidnappings that go unpunished and are carried out by unaccountable ugly paramilitary units. Everyone remains conscious of the tragedy of Beslan.
European Neighbourhood Policy - Delivered in Plenary, 18th January 2006
I was initially sceptical when the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) concept was first floated in the 2003 communication on a wider Europe. The chief conceptual problem was how to coordinate a policy on countries that appear to have different and contradictory aims, such as Libya wanting to host the African Union at the time, and Ukraine wanting to join the European Union.