Speeches - 2008
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Zimbabwe - Delivered in Plenary, 18th December 2008
In the past few years Zimbabwe has figured so often in these debates that we could be forgiven for running out of condemnatory words to say, but we must speak up because the long-suffering people of Zimbabwe have themselves been denied a voice by this ruthless despot, Robert Mugabe.
European area of freedom, security and justice - Delivered in Plenary, 17th December 2008
I welcome the honesty and detail of the Catania report, even if there are parts of it that I dispute. Exposing our own shortcomings in a report like this should remind us to stop preaching quite so much to others outside of the EU.
Shared effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions - Delivered in Plenary, 16th December 2008
European citizens are gravely concerned about the effects of climate change and support a low-carbon, clean energy provision for our future. It is therefore right that we send a strong signal to the Council of our common commitments.
Bangladesh General Election - Delivered in Plenary, 15th December 2008
As Chairman of the European Parliament observer mission to the December general election in Bangladesh, I wish to express my thanks to the presidency for allowing the mission to take place. The previous chairman, who declined to go – Mr Robert Evans from the Socialist Group – tried at the last minute to have the trip cancelled.
Future global architecture of financial markets - Delivered in Plenary, 3rd December 2008
I would like to pay a special tribute to the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, who has become the new Margaret Thatcher of Europe. She, like the Iron Lady, believes in balanced budgets and not spending your way out of the credit crunch and economic crisis in an unfunded way. Instead and in contrast, the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has got a massive borrow-and-spend fiscal reflationary crisis economic package, with no way of having a balanced budget.
Israel’s participation in Community programmes - Delivered in Plenary, 3rd December 2008
As rapporteur of reports on the ENP, I have long supported Israel’s increased involvement in EU programmes and agencies, which is mutually beneficial, given Israel’s advanced status as a country in areas such as scientific and in particular environmental research.
Somalia - Delivered in Plenary, 20th November 2008
Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow was barely a teenager. She would probably have never known anything about the European Union or its Parliament. Even as she was being gang-raped, or lay dying under a deluge of stones, she would probably never have imagined that politicians far away would recognise her ordeal and commemorate her very short life.
Democratic Republic of Congo - Delivered in Plenary, 20th November 2008
In 1994 the West turned its head while genocide occurred in Rwanda. The same could now happen in eastern Congo. The immediate priority is humanitarian, but beyond that there is a delicate and tangled political mess to sort out.
The case of the al-Kurd family - Delivered in Plenary, 20th November 2008
In these urgency sessions we debate the gravest abuses of human rights, involving torture, rape and murder. The al-Kurd case in East Jerusalem does not fall anywhere near that category. It is a civil dispute between two private parties, and we really have no business interfering in such a dispute.
Convention on cluster munitions - Delivered in Plenary, 19th November 2008
I am no pacifist – anybody in this Chamber who knows me well would say that – but there is much about warfare and the arms trade which we must regret. Cluster munitions to me are one of the most horrible ways of waging war which should always, of course, only occur as a very last resort.
Commemoration of the Holomodor, the Ukraine artificial famine - Delivered in Plenary, 22nd October 2003
Germany has rightly confronted and sought to atone for the unspeakable horrors of the Nazi era and the Holocaust. The newer Member States of our Union are finding their own ways to seek truth and reconciliation through a frank and uncompromising analysis of their Communist totalitarian past. But some countries still seek to hide from their history.
Relations with Russia - Delivered in Plenary, 21st October 2008
I would like to pay a special tribute to Mr Sarkozy, under the French presidency, for ensuring that 90% of the six-point plan has been complied with in terms of troop withdrawal from Georgia.
EU-Vietnam Cooperation Agreement - Delivered in Plenary, 21st October 2008
I have to say – and rather sadly – that I remain sceptical as to whether the human rights clause within the EU-Vietnam cooperation agreement is really worth the paper it is written on.
Situation in Belarus - Delivered in Plenary, 8th October 2008
When a sitting president wins all the seats in his Parliament, we can probably assume that something is amiss. Not even Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe has managed a clean sweep as President Alexander Lukashenko did last month in Belarus.
Preparation of the EU-India Summit - Delivered in Plenary, 24th September 2008
The EU strategic partnership with democratic, secular India is of critical importance in these dangerous and unpredictable times, as this is a country that shares our values and aspirations.
Combating terrorism - Protection of personal data - Delivered in Plenary, 23rd September 2008
I sometimes fear that the fact that this House so frequently debates terrorism reflects a worrying absence of consensus on our response to it. Surely the terrorist atrocities perpetrated over decades around the world, including the recent bomb attack in Islamabad, should have opened our eyes to its true, evil nature and the need to stand resolutely and unequivocally against the existential threat it poses to western democracy and way of life.
Hangings in Iran - Delivered in Plenary, 4th September 2008
The brutal theocratic regime in Tehran seems to take a perverse pleasure in shocking the world and defying the civilised standards that characterise most other countries. Iran is notorious not only for the sheer volume of executions, but the regular and merciless executions of juveniles and young adults who committed crimes as children.
Albino killings in Tanzania - Delivered in Plenary, 4th September 2008
The plight of albino people in Tanzania seems barely credible in today’s age. When I first heard about this issue, it seemed like something straight out of Joseph Conrad’s novel Heart of Darkness. I would like to believe in the renaissance and potential of Africa, as so many other colleagues in this House seem to, but the murder of albino people for their body parts does nothing to improve the image of the continent internationally.
Situation in Georgia - Delivered in Plenary, 1st September 2008
I support democratic Georgia’s right to seek security in the west and I disapprove of Russia’s disproportionate aggression and continued occupation of the country. The EU must increase its aid to Georgia for reconstruction, fast-track an EU free trade agreement and press ahead with visa facilitation. Georgia should also be allowed to go on the path for NATO, eventually for full membership.
Situation in Bangladesh - Delivered in Plenary, 10th July 2008
Bangladesh is a large and strategic South Asian country with 153 million inhabitants and some 80 million registered electors, making it one of the world’s largest democracies.
Enlargement is possible without the Lisbon Treaty - Delivered in Plenary, 10th July 2008
Britain, my country, was one of three countries to join in the first wave of enlargement back in 1973. Since then, my party, the British Conservatives, has actively supported the enlargement process to the current 27 Member States.
Palestinian Prisoners - Delivered in Plenary, 9th July 2008
Yet again the anti-Israel forces in this Parliament are seeking any opportunity to attack the Jewish State and yet again those of us who seek a balanced debate and a genuine peace in the Middle East are compelled to come to Israel’s defence.
Oil Prices - Delivered in Plenary, 18th June 2008
High oil and gas prices are here to stay and I doubt very much whether we will see the price much below USD 80 per barrel ever again. The West was caught on the hop and underestimated the rise in Chinese and Indian consumption.
EU Russia Summit - Delivered in Plenary, 18th June 2008
EU-Russia relations rank as one of the top challenges for the EU and opinions vary widely within this Parliament whether to wield the big stick and confront the bear or speak softly with a mixture of carrot and stick in dealing with Russia under its new President Medvedev, which rather aptly means ‘bear’ in Russian.
Speech to World Jewellery Confederation - Diamond Industry Exhibition - EP, 27th May 2008
It's a great pleasure and a privilege to welcome the World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO) to the European Parliament. I'm delighted to be sponsoring this exhibition. There are two reasons I decided to do so. The first reason is the importance of the diamond industry, both to the producer states – many of which are developing countries in the ACP and to Europe's economy.
Deterioration of the situation in Georgia - Delivered in Plenary, 7th May 2008
Russia has a new President today, but Vladimir Putin’s new job as Prime Minister will enable him to maintain his grip on power and supervise his protégé Dmitry Medvedev. As result, Russian foreign policy will not change.
Situation in Tibet - Delivered in Plenary, 26th March 2008
The recent brutal suppression of the Tibetan protestors is hardly surprising, given the People’s Republic of China’s long track record of totally ignoring human rights and democratic freedoms. We here, of course, are all calling on the Beijing authorities to exercise maximum restraint and to respect the cultural autonomy and unique way of life of the Tibetan people, and to stop demonising the Dalai Lama.
Kosovo - Delivered in Plenary, 20th February 2008
I fail to see the rush to resolve the Kosovo issue, circumventing the UN and ignoring current international law. I believe that Kosovo’s new nationhood will be difficult, with no obvious exit strategy for the EU, whose presence will be long term, given a hostile Serbia next door and the prevalence of organised crime.
An EU Strategy for Central Asia - Delivered in Plenary, 19th February 2008
A partnership between the EU and Central Asia is long overdue, and I congratulate Mr Özdemir on his report. This vast and strategically vital region is being pulled three ways: by China, by Russia and by Europe. It is essential that we do all we can to ensure that central Asia’s rational choice is partnership with the European Union.
Situation in Iran - Delivered in Plenary, 30th January 2008
Iran remains a danger to the stability of the world and the Middle East. Iranian jihadis are fighting alongside terrorists in Iraq, killing British soldiers. Iran’s judges routinely pass death sentences on homosexuals and teenagers.
Situation in Gaza - Delivered in Plenary, 30th January 2008
Gaza remains a human tragedy, and none of us in this House can blame its long-suffering Palestinian citizens from rushing through the Rafah border-crossing breech in the wall to buy goods in Egypt.
EUROPOL - Delivered in Plenary, 16th January 2008
I wanted to add my voice to that of my colleague, Geoffrey Van Orden, and my previous colleague from the Czech Republic, from the ODS. I disagree with Mr Stubb. I am also nervous – and I do not think it would be supported by many of my constituents in the United Kingdom – about the idea of turning EUROPOL into a kind of supranational fledging European Union FBI-style organisation.
Situation following the assassination of Benazir Bhutto - Delivered in Plenary, 16th January 2008
The Economist stated recently that Pakistan is the world’s most dangerous nuclear arms state. Regrettably, in my view, President Musharraf’s commitment to fully eradicating Islamist terror has always been lukewarm at best, and his control over the ISI or intelligence services, who allegedly are in bed with Islamists, is tenuous as well.