Wednesday, 20 November 2013 12:11
Published inOther News
20th November 2013: Yesterday afternoon Andrew Brons attended a presentation by Krystina Morvai, and some fellow Hungarians from both Hungary and from Serbia, on racially motivated attacks by Serbs on the large Hungarian minority in the Vojvodina.
The presentation was attended by just two Hungarian MEPs and two British MEPs - Andrew Brons and Nick Griffin.
Andrew will be providing this website with a fuller account of the presentation later, but more information can be found here.
19th November 2013: Yesterday evening at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons made the following contribution to a hearing in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) on Electronic Mass Surveillance. The speaker was Dr Adam Bodnar of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)*.
"In evidence to the appropriate committee in the Westminster Parliament, the heads of the three security bodies in the United Kingdom**, suggested that the revelations of Edward Snowden and others had alerted potential terrorists to surveillance methods, which might help them to avoid surveillance.
"I have attended two of the hearings conducted by LIBE into mass surveillance and my experience was that the former members of the (U.S.) National Security Agency and MI5 did not reveal surveillance methods but told us of the range of people subjected to it: investigative journalists; and even members of the government.
"Has that been your experience too?
"It appears that the security services (in the United Kingdom) are trying to discredit 'whistle blowers' by describing them as people who were, wittingly or unwittingly, helping terrorists. Have you or any of your colleagues, been on the receiving end of similar innuendos."
* Dr. Bodnar's organisation has been asking 'freedom of information' questions to various government institutions in Poland about the involvement of Poland with the mass surveillance programmes of the United States.
19th November 2013: This morning at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons made the following speech during a debate on the inter-institutional agreement on budgetary discipline, on co-operation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management (the Trzaskowski Report).
"The Report, on the Inter-institutional Agreement, is highly critical of the length of the negotiations within the Council and between institutions. However, the money that is the subject of negotiation is taxpayers' money and its expenditure must be given due consideration.
"The Rapporteur is keen that Parliament's legislative and budgetary powers granted by the Treaty of Lisbon should be fully respected and is critical of the Council for binding itself to the conclusions of the European Council.
"It is true that the Parliament is the only directly elected body and it seems, at first sight, to be right that it should be pre-eminent in the budgetary process.
"However, most of the money spent by the EU comes from or through member states and member state governments are held responsible to their electorates for their taxpayers' money.
"The European Parliament might be constitutionally responsible to a theoretical European electorate but that electorate is not conscious even of its own existence as an entity. There is little dialogue between MEPs and their electors about the precise allocation of funds, as distinct from their total amount.
"The European Council, unlike the Council, does not have an official legislative role but, as the body representing heads of government, its members are more aware of the views of their citizens than are MEPs. For as long as the EU exists, they must have an important say in the negotiating process."
16th November 2013: On Thursday at the European Parliament in Brussels, Andrew Brons made the following contribution during a debate in the CIvil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) on a proposed regulation on rules for the surveillance of external sea borders.
"The regulation will change non-binding guidelines for search and rescue of would-be migrants into a legally binding instrument. I would applaud member states taking on such obligations independently. It is self-evidently right that people in danger should be rescued. Member states should not need to be told to do so.
"However, the regulation extends the obligation to rules for disembarkation of rescued persons – where* they should be disembarked. That should be a matter for member states notwithstanding the decision of the European Court of Human Rights**.
"The Explanatory Statement says that the need to protect our borders should not be detrimental to the fundamental rights of migrants. However, we might ask whether the principle of non-refoulement*** and the ECHR judgment are detrimental to the ability to protect external borders.
"This principle means that would-be migrants need only show or persuade that they come from dangerous countries, whether they have documents or do not, to be granted asylum.
"The operation of the principle of non-refoulement provides the incentive that persuades would-be migrants to risk their own lives and those of their families by embarking on perilous crossings. That principle is directly responsible for the tragic deaths in the Mediterranean.”
* Rules against them being taken back to where they sailed from and insisting that they should be brought to Europe!
** Hirsi Jamaa and Others v. Italy
*** The principle of non-refoulement is that migrants, even if they have entered illegally, cannot be sent back to dangerous countries.