Speeches - 2009
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New EU action plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan - Delivered in Plenary, 16th December 2009
We cannot afford to let the NATO-ISAF military mission in Afghanistan fail. With sufficient political will, the right military equipment and more troop numbers on the ground from all the Member States, NATO can defeat the Taliban, and of course this must be coupled to a hearts-and-minds campaign as well.
Belarus - Delivered in Plenary, 16th December 2009
As a long-term Belarus watcher, it is important that the EU remains engaged with Belarus, which is a medium-sized European country and which is becoming increasingly self-isolated and turning itself into a kind of Cuba of Europe.
The Middle East peace process - Delivered in Plenary, 15 December 2009
I agree with the Israeli Foreign Minister, Mr Lieberman, that the final Council statement is a lot better perhaps than the earlier Swedish draft which I saw a couple of weeks ago, but it makes no mention of the accepted Quartet principles which Hamas repudiates as it carries on terrorising Palestinian Authority officials and civilians alike in Gaza.
Enlargement strategy 2009 - Delivered in Plenary, 25th November 2009
The ECR Group strongly supports European enlargement. By extending the benefits of EU membership to those countries that are eligible under Article 49, we hope to see develop the looser, more flexible Europe in which we believe as a group.
EU-Russia Summit - Delivered in Plenary, 11th November 2009
The ECR Group accepts that Russia is a vital economic partner and a global diplomatic heavyweight, but this position brings with it responsibilities. The first such responsibility is to respect the territorial integrity of its neighbours such as Ukraine and Georgia and abandon the insulting ‘near abroad’ concept.
Conflict in Georgia - Delivered in Plenary, 22nd October 2009
Although it is factually correct that President Saakashvili did indeed launch an attack on South Ossetia in 2008, this was only after provocation including severe economic sanctions and a build-up of Russian troops in the occupied territories.
Guinea - Delivered in Plenary, 22nd October 2009
The story of Guinea-Conakry follows a depressingly familiar African script: a dictatorial ruler; a military coup; one authoritarian regime replaced by another; and most of the people still living in abject poverty.
Sri Lanka - Delivered in Plenary, 22nd October 2009
As a representative of London, a city that has repeatedly been a target for terrorists in the past 40 years, I have a great deal of sympathy with Sri Lankans of all ethnicities. The relentless terrorist campaign waged by the Tamil Tigers severely blighted the development of that beautiful country.
European external action service - Delivered in Plenary, 21st October 2009
As the Union seeks a broader role in international affairs, it arguably should have the tools to project our common values throughout the world, providing, of course, there is unanimity in all 27 Member States.
Transatlantic judicial and police cooperation - Delivered in Plenary, 21st October 2009
The ECR Group is strongly Atlanticist and seeks ever closer economic, trade and political ties with America, which we consider to be the EU’s foremost ally and not competitor. We also remain in debt to the USA for its contribution to NATO, which is based on our shared democratic values, and we welcome America’s belated commitment to fighting climate change.
Energy security (Nabucco and Desertec) - Delivered in Plenary, 17th September 2009
The ECR Group supports the need for an EU common external energy security policy based on solidarity between Member States, but energy mix must remain a Member State competence. We must, of course, diversify away from over dependence on Russian oil and gas, of which even the UK, traditionally dependent on the North Sea and Norwegian gas, is now an importer.
Situation in Taiwan following the recent typhoon - Delivered in Plenary, 17th September 2009
The scenes of devastation and destruction caused by Typhoon Morakot will remain in our minds for a long time, but many people in Taiwan will be living with the consequences of this tragedy for years to come. Over 700 people lost their lives and thousands of others have faced major disruption.
Murder of human rights activists in Russia - Delivered in Plenary, 17th September 2009
A culture of criminal impunity is developing in Russia with regard to the abuse of human rights activists. Journalists who dare to challenge the official view of things are harassed; ethnic minorities suffer disproportionately from violent crime, which seems to go unsolved; campaigners for greater freedoms are at best marginalised and at worst forcibly silenced.
Syria: the case of Muhannad Al Hassani - Delivered in Plenary, 17th September 2009
Syria is an important country in the Middle East and has a vital role to play in reducing the ability of Iran to support terrorist actions, via its proxies Hezbollah and Hamas, against Israel. Syria also has a habit of fomenting unrest in Lebanon, which Syria still regards as barely sovereign and within its sphere of influence.
Co-operation agreement with Tajikistan - Delivered in Plenary, 16th September 2009
Tajikistan is not blessed with the energy and mineral resources of other countries in Central Asia. However, that is no excuse for marginalising Tajikistan at the expense of its wealthier and larger neighbours.
Unrest in Xinjiang - Delivered in Plenary, 15th July 2009
For centuries the Uighurs have eked out a perilous living in an inhospitable part of a vast country. Most of them are peaceful followers of Islam. However, sadly some of the local population in recent years have become increasingly radicalised by terrorists in league with Al-Qaida.
Elections in Iran - Delivered in Plenary, 15th July 2009
The appalling Iranian theocratic dictatorship is already guilty of many crimes against its own people: from hanging Baha’is to hanging homosexuals and now apparently hanging 50 innocent protestors. So we should hardly be surprised by the mere stealing of an election through wholesale electoral fraud.
President Ahmadinejad of Iran - Delivered in Plenary, 6th May 2009
Iranian President Ahmadinejad recently asserted at the UN Conference on Racism in Geneva that Israel is a racist country. It is tempting to dismiss him as a populist demagogue courting publicity, but he has in the past outrageously called for Israel to be wiped off the map, and Israel would undoubtedly be the first target for the nuclear weapon he so much wants to build.
Taiwan and the World Health Assembly (WHA) - Delivered in Plenary, 4th May 2009
The Republic of China, better known to us as Taiwan, has finally achieved its just objective of being able to attend the World Health Assembly (WHA) as an observer. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has consistently blocked this move since 1971, when it replaced Taiwan in the United Nations.
Humanitarian situation of Camp Ashraf residents - Delivered in Plenary, 24th April 2009
I have never been a great fan of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, whose philosophical origins are Islamist-Marxist – which is a contradiction in terms – and they were of course for many years under the protection of Saddam Hussein, the butcher of Baghdad, whom they supported militarily.
Patients' rights in cross-border healthcare - Delivered in Plenary, 23rd April 2009
Most of my London constituents have little interest in or knowledge of what an MEP actually does or what purpose the EU serves. This week, however, there are two plenary reports where the public can genuinely resonate with their content. The first is the cap on roaming charges in the Telecoms Package, and the second is patients’ rights for elective medical treatment in other EU countries.
Situation in the Republic of Moldova - Delivered in Plenary, 23rd April 2009
Moldova remains one of the poorest countries in Europe, with a fragile democracy led by President Voronin, who is an unreconstructed Homo Sovieticus, who still proudly calls himself a Communist and who, sadly, is ambivalent towards the EU even in terms of the Eastern Partnership.
Situation in the western Balkans - Delivered in Plenary, 23rd April 2009
The Ibrisagic report of course emphasises that stability in the Western Balkans is our major priority. In fact, in my opinion, EU membership is the glue which binds the region together in peace and stability. We still expect Croatia to be the next country to join the EU, if Slovenia settles its border dispute, unless of course tiny Iceland is fast-tracked in beforehand.
International treaty for the protection of the Arctic - Delivered in Plenary, 1st April 2009
The Antarctic Treaty serves as a global shining example that territorial claims by littoral states can be set aside in the interests of peaceful cooperation and scientific research.
European neighbourhood policy - Delivered in Plenary, 25th March 2009
The Council’s declaration on the Eastern Partnership is most welcome. As rapporteur on the eastern dimension of the European neighbourhood policy, I support closer relations with the six countries to the east.
Interim Trade Agreement with Turkmenistan - Delivered in Plenary, 25th March 2009
There is a lot more to mysterious Turkmenistan than just oil and gas. That is not to say that the country’s hydrocarbon resources are not important. In fact they are of vital strategic value to the EU, given the Union’s wish, and Turkmenistan’s apparent desire, to move out of Russia’s shadow when it comes to energy supplies.
Relations with Belarus - Delivered in Plenary, 25th March 2009
The EU’s relations with Belarus are rightly now being driven by pragmatic considerations on both sides. Years of isolationist policy led nowhere, as the Council has somewhat belatedly now realised. It certainly did nothing to loosen the grip on power enjoyed by Europe’s last self-isolating dictator, President Alexander Lukashenko.
Eastern Partnership (2) - Delivered in Plenary, 12th March 2009
As two of my colleagues are not in the Chamber, I am availing myself of the time to say a couple of extra words on this issue, which is so vital to the immediate external priorities of the European Union in the coming years.
Eastern Dimension - Delivered in Plenary, 12th March 2009
As rapporteur for the eastern dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy, I welcome the Commission’s commitment to deepening relations with six countries to the east in the new Eastern Partnership. It is important to emphasise that the Eastern Partnership should not by itself preclude the possibility that some of those countries should one day join the EU as full members.
50th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising - Delivered in Plenary, 12th March 2009
The EU’s motto is ‘Unity in diversity’. It is a principle that has served us well.
Unfortunately, such an idea does not resonate at all well with the authoritarian Communist dictatorship in the People’s Republic of China.
Expulsions of NGOs from Darfur - Delivered in Plenary, 12th March 2009
It was entirely predictable that President Omar Al-Bashir of Sudan would respond to his indictment by the ICC with a political gesture, but by expelling NGOs and aid agencies from his country he has reinforced the popular image of a brutal tyrant, without any concern for the plight of the long-suffering people he nominally governs.
EU Enlargement - Delivered in Plenary, 11th March 2009
Thank you for clarifying that. Greece joined the European Union in 1981 and membership has brought many benefits to that country, of which I am extremely fond. But almost 30 years later Macedonia naturally wants to join the European Union and share those same benefits.
Sri Lanka - Delivered in Plenary, 11th March 2009
Sri Lanka’s brutal civil conflict is finally nearing its end. Of course it is too early to say whether this will mean the end of terrorist activity by the Tamil Tigers.
Kosovo - Delivered in Plenary, 4th February 2009
The international rush to recognise Kosovo was, in my view, hard to understand. There were plenty of older disputes to resolve that were worthier of the EU’s efforts: Kashmir, for example, or Taiwan, or even Somaliland in the Horn of Africa.
Resettlement of Guantánamo prisoners - Delivered in Plenary, 3rd February 2009
The prison at Guantánamo Bay was a necessary creation of the United States at the time. Its closure is now a matter for the United States. I oppose EU Member States entangling themselves in the inevitable legal complications and the burden imposed on our security services of taking non-EU national prisoners previously designated as enemy combatants.
Guinea - Delivered in Plenary, 15th January 2009
President Lansana Conté was the archetypal African strong man, a corrupt dictator who ruled the people of Guinea with an iron fist. In fact, Guinea has never enjoyed true democracy in its half-century of independence.
Press freedom in Kenya - Delivered in Plenary, 15th January 2009
Until last year’s violence, Kenya had a reputation as one of Africa’s politically more stable countries and had a tradition of a relatively free and robust press.
Orphans in Romania and Bulgaria - Delivered in Plenary, 14th January 2009
I would like this report to have looked more closely at the situation of orphans and disabled children in institutional care in Romania and Bulgaria, the newest EU Member States.
Gas supplies by Russia to Ukraine and the EU - Delivered in Plenary, 14th January 2009
Russia’s use of interrupting gas flow as a diplomatic weapon has once again proved why we need a common EU external energy security policy by intergovernmental cooperation. Such a policy has the obvious benefit of minimising our exposure to Russian strong-arm tactics by encouraging alternative sources such as LNG, and new gas pipelines such as Nabucco and the trans-Saharan route, and building an integrated EU electricity grid.
Situation in the Horn of Africa - Delivered in Plenary, 14th January 2009
The Horn of Africa is pretty much an unmitigated disaster. The region has been devastated by decades of war, famine, environmental degradation, corruption, mismanagement and political repression. Human rights are abused as a matter of course.
We should not be acting as if the Lisbon treaty is already in force. - Delivered in Plenary, 13th January 2009
It is premature to be talking about what will happen once the Lisbon treaty comes into effect. The treaty remains in limbo and is still subject to a possible second ‘no’ vote by Irish citizens in another referendum later this year.