Speeches - 2012
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EU Agency for Fundamental Rights - Delivered in Plenary, 13th December 2012
The EU Agency on Fundamental Rights is something whose necessity – particularly at a time of economic austerity – and value added I remain sceptical about, given the overlapping roles of the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights, the OSCE, etc. I nevertheless support the agency’s efforts to improve the lives of ordinary citizens by combating discrimination and promoting human rights.
New EU-Russia agreement - Delivered in Plenary, 12th December 2012
Russia is a strategic partner for the EU with vast oil, gas and mineral reserves. As a neighbour it shares a border with the EU and there are large numbers of Russophone people across Europe, including in the London region I represent.
Situation in Egypt - Delivered in Plenary, 12th December 2012
As all students of political history know, a revolution represents not transformation but transition. Egypt could not have been expected to create fully-democratic institutions overnight, but nevertheless certain recent acts by President Morsi are to be roundly condemned.
Israeli government's decision to expand settlements in the West Bank - Delivered in Plenary, 12th December 2012
While the ECR greatly sympathises with Palestinian frustrations, their successful effort to win observer status at the UN provoked justifiable anger in the eyes of the Israeli Government who have offered much evidence to support their claims of a material breach of the 1993 Oslo peace accords.
Situation in Ukraine - Delivered in Plenary, 12th December 2012
I welcome the Council’s declaration on Ukraine, which recognises the European aspirations of this large, strategic country, of which I am very fond.
Human rights situation in Iran - Delivered in Plenary, 22nd November 2012
We in this House have watched with grave alarm over many years now as the human rights situation in Iran – not to mention the political situation, as well – continues to deteriorate. As this resolution makes clear, the Iranian regime is guilty of the most egregious abuses of basic human rights.
Climate change conference in Doha - Delivered in Plenary, 21st November 2012
With all the crises going on in the world – the eurozone one, the fiscal cliff in the USA, a nuclear Iran etc. – climate change has slipped somewhat down the political agenda. But Hurricane Sandy was a bit of a wake-up call, and I do now hope that President Obama in his second term will act decisively.
Enlargement: policies, criteria and the EU's strategic interests - Delivered in Plenary, 21st November 2012
The ECR Group is of the view that EU enlargement is a success story, but we also support a more flexible, variable EU geometry in any new proposed future European Union treaty allowing some countries to integrate further than others.
Situation in Gaza - Delivered in Plenary, 21st November 2012
The key difference, of course, is that Israel does not indiscriminately target civilians like Hamas and the Islamic Jihad do when they launch rockets towards cities as far afield as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Elections in Belarus - Delivered in Plenary, 26th October 2012
I was extremely disappointed – but not altogether surprised – to receive the negative reports about the recent Belarus elections. These elections represented a rubber-stamping exercise to support a foregone conclusion. The Lukashenko regime, now in its 19th year, has been ruthless in its persecution of political opponents and gagging of the press as part of a desperate attempt to cling on to power by whatever means.
Elections in Georgia - Delivered in Plenary, 26th October 2012
I too fully applaud the Georgian people for the dignified and peaceful way in which they conducted their elections, and congratulate the Georgian Government on its speedy implementation of the people’s democratic will. Georgia is an unrecognisable place from the dictatorship which oppressed its people until just nine years ago.
Human rights situation in the United Arab Emirates - Delivered in Plenary, 26th October 2012
The UAE is a relatively open and diverse society with more than 100 000 British citizens residing there. This openness to outside influences continues to result in a better understanding among the governing élite of the importance of human rights. The EU and the UAE have an important economic and security partnership as well.
Discrimination against girls in Pakistan, in particular the case of Malala Yousafzai - Delivered in Plenary, 26th October 2012
The cowardly attack on Malala Yousafzai was a truly heinous crime. Barbaric violence was visited upon a child of 14, whose only perceived offence was to dare to speak out for the rights of girls to an education.
Situation in Cambodia - Delivered in Plenary, 26th October 2012
Cambodia has come a long way from the murderous tyranny of the Khmer Rouge and the Killing Fields, but recent events demonstrate there is still much work to be done.
EC and Israel -Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products - Delivered in Plenary, 23rd October 2012
The ACAA Protocol is not about human rights, the occupied territories or Israel’s approach to the Middle East peace process. It is about trade and unblocking technical barriers which currently exist between producers and consumers: one of the fundamental objectives of the European Union.
Persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Burma - Delivered in Plenary, 13th September 2012
Burma has surprised the world in the past two years, moving dramatically away from military-governed authoritarianism and towards greater openness and democracy.
Azerbaijan: the case of Ramil Safarov - Delivered in Plenary, 13th September 2012
The ECR Group regards the granting of a pardon by President Aliyev, and the hero’s welcome given to Ramil Safarov immediately after his return home to Azerbaijan, as deplorable.
Common Foreign and Security Policy - Delivered in Plenary, 11th September 2012
The ECR Group has consistently asserted that CFSP must always be subject to unanimity in the Council. Britain, for instance, is a major military power with a permanent seat in the UN Security Council and must always, of course, retain sovereignty in its foreign policy.
EU-Israel agreement on conformity assessment - Delivered in Plenary, 3rd July 2012
The ECR Group believes, with regard to the EU-Israel ACAA, that the concerns raised in the joint oral question from the Committee on International Trade and the Committee on Foreign Affairs are unfounded and confused, as this agreement is not about the territorial provenance of pharmaceutical products, but the right for competent Israeli authorities to certify medicines that they examine as being up to EU standards.
Cases of impunity in the Philippines - Delivered in Plenary, 14th June 2012
I too express my deep concern over the reported climate of impunity that has developed in recent years in the Philippines. Of particular concern was the 2009 tragic massacre of 57 individuals, including civil rights campaigners and journalists, participating in a peaceful convoy in Maguindanao. This tragic event illustrates the extent to which the Manila Government is increasingly presiding over a criminal culture of intimidation, extra-judicial killings and widespread corruption.
Latest developments in the Middle East, including Syria - Delivered in Plenary, 12th June 2012
The ECR Group utterly condemns the barbaric atrocities perpetrated against innocent civilians, including women and children, by the al-Assad Ba’athist regime in Syria. Damascus has turned its paramilitary thugs against its own citizens. The so-called ‘shabiha’ are beyond control and are increasingly acting with total impunity. Their atrocities have actually shocked the international community and are reminiscent in my view of the unspeakable atrocities of the Balkans 20 years ago.
Elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo - Delivered in Plenary, 12th June 2012
The elections in the DRC last year did return President Kabila back to power. However, the elections themselves lacked the unequivocal legitimisation of being certified as free and fair, due to incomplete monitoring of the ballot, and there were widespread reports of voter coercion and other irregularities that, as of yet, remain unresolved.
Sudan and South Sudan - Delivered in Plenary, 23rd May 2012
The ECR Group is deeply concerned about the risk of war breaking out between Sudan and Africa’s newest State, South Sudan. We, as a group, fully support efforts by the ex-President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, to mediate via the African Union and bring the parties to the negotiating table.
Guinea-Bissau - Delivered in Plenary, 23rd May 2012
Ever since independence from Portugal in the 1970s after a bloody war, the small, impoverished West African country of Guinea-Bissau has remained in a state of almost constant conflict between the civilian and military authorities, with a spate of political assassinations.
Trade and investment strategy following the Arab Spring revolutions - Delivered in Plenary, 9th May 2012
The Arab Spring was undoubtedly the most important political transformation in the Middle East and North African countries in decades. Despotic and corrupt – but secular – governments were cast aside, and promises of freedom abounded. However, the transitional governments that have emerged so far have mostly failed to live up to their laudable commitments to plurality, with Tunisia perhaps being the sole exception.
EU accession to the European Convention on Human Rights - Delivered in Plenary, 19th April 2012
The European Court of Human Rights, in my view, now seems far too often to champion the phoney human rights of the criminal or terrorist rather than protect the victims. This court is deeply unpopular and, in my view, brings the whole of the European Union into disrepute because, in the eyes of the Daily Mail readership, the European Court of Human Rights and the Council of Europe are one and the same thing.
Situation in Mali - Delivered in Plenary, 17th April 2012
The ECR Group fully condemns the unilateral declaration of independence of Azawad, which is exploiting the vacuum following the military coup which recently ousted Malian President Touré. The MNLA (National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad) separatist rebels must now hand over control of the northern areas which they currently control to the central political authorities in Mali, as demanded by the international community. Anything else will destabilise the strategically-vital Sahel region.
Situation in Syria - Delivered in Plenary, 17th April 2012
The political and human rights situation in Syria continues to deteriorate, sadly. Reports this afternoon suggest that Syrian Government forces have once more started bombarding the Free Syrian Army-held areas in and around Homs, breaking with impunity the ceasefire under the UN-Annan peace plan. I now call upon the High Representative to redouble the EU’s efforts in the ongoing international negotiations.
Situation in Burma - Delivered in Plenary, 17th April 2012
The recent elections in Burma demonstrated the country’s substantial progress towards rejoining the international democratic community following decades of diplomatic isolation as a virtual pariah state. President Thein Sein should be congratulated on the reforms he is presiding over, and we all in this House congratulate and salute the courage of Aung San Suu Kyi, who now is an MP again in her country.
Enlargement report for Montenegro - Delivered in Plenary, 28 March 2012
Montenegro as a candidate country remains a relatively straightforward country in terms of monitoring its progress towards EU accession, and, in this case, small is beautiful. Montenegro has worked hard to address the criteria and benchmarks set by you as Commissioner in seven key priority areas
Human trafficking in Sinai, in particular the case of Solomon W - Delivered in Plenary, 15th March 2012
The current situation in Sinai is deplorable. Many asylum seekers are reported to lose their lives there each year, with still more being kidnapped and held hostage.
Palestine: raids by Israeli forces on Palestinian TV stations - Delivered in Plenary, 15th March 2012
The events reported last week in which Israeli soldiers raided the Palestinian television stations of Al-Watan TV and Al-Quds Educational TV, confiscating administrative files and broadcasting equipment, do indeed show that tension between the two communities is high.
Human rights violations in Bahrain - Delivered in Plenary, 15th March 2012
Last month marked the anniversary of the peaceful popular movement calling for respect for fundamental human rights and democratic reforms in Bahrain. There was evidence of disproportionate use of force by the security forces to crack down on protestors, and then came the controversial arrival of Gulf Cooperation Council troops.
Enlargement report for Iceland - Delivered in Plenary, 15th March 2012
The ECR Group fully supports Iceland’s eventual accession to the EU. Iceland is a small stable and wealthy democracy and a founder member of NATO and the Council of Europe. It has also made good progress in the accession process. I welcome the fact that Iceland’s Supreme Court has recognised its EEA/EFTA obligations and the jurisdiction of that court regarding compensation for Icesave depositors, which will no doubt come up during the accession negotiations. I understand around one third of the recognised priority claims have now been repaid.
Kazakhstan - Delivered in Plenary, 14th March 2012
Kazakhstan is a geopolitically strategic country in Central Asia with large energy reserves. It is also a model of peaceful Christian/Muslim coexistence. It has recently offered a secure route to evacuate British ISAF troops as a substitute for the precarious Pakistani route. I have no illusions that this country is a Western-style democracy, but neither is it a repressive totalitarian state.
Situation in Nigeria - Delivered in Plenary, 14th March 2012
I last spoke on Nigeria in 2010 after the Jos massacres. Recent events, following repeated atrocities and kidnappings by the jihadi group Boko Haram, remind us that Nigeria sadly is a chronically unstable country.
Situation in Syria - Delivered in Plenary, 15th February 2012
The shelling in the city of Homs by the Syrian regime is atrocious and must be condemned unequivocally by the international community. The decision of China and Russia to veto a UN resolution condemning this brutal crackdown and the killing of many unarmed women and children is also shameful.
Agreement between the EU and Morocco on agricultural and fishery products - Delivered in Plenary, 14th February 2012
Morocco is a stable North African kingdom with close historical relations across the Mediterranean to its nearest European neighbours. My Group is in favour of all measures which ensure that Morocco remains a prosperous and stable country in North Africa and welcomes the recent political and constitutional reform programme from the King.
Iran and its nuclear programme - Delivered in Plenary, 1st February 2012
Iran’s nuclear military ambitions and its government’s constant refusal to engage with the IAEA and UN Security Council demands constitute a major threat to global security. They also pose a potential risk to peace in the Middle East, with an existential threat to the State of Israel in particular.