12th February 2014: This morning at the European Parliament in Brussels, Andrew Brons made the following contribution to a debate in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) on an EU Azerbaijan agreement on the re-admission of persons residing without authorisation (illegal immigrants!).
"Persons residing without authorisation is a wonderful euphemism for those whom I would call illegal immigrants and most of you would call irregular migrants.
"There must be a figure of speech in English and all other languages for an agreement that sounds very even handed but is in fact completely one-sided. If there is, I must have forgotten it; if there is not, I shall invent one and tell you when I have done it.
"However, whatever it might be called, here are two of them.
"There are two agreements. The first is a re-admission agreement under which people from one country who are found to be residing in the other illegally (or without authorisation if you prefer it) must be accepted back by their own country. Now this is a two way agreement, it applies to either country's citizens or possibly to nationals without citizenship.
"However, there is one little imbalance in this Agreement. There might be one or two (just one or two) more Azerbaijanis living illegally in the EU than there are citizens of EU states living, without authorisation, in Azerbaijan.
"There is another slight problem with this Agreement. Countries are obliged to accept their citizens (though possibly not their nationals who might have renounced their citizenship) under international law. So Azerbaijan agrees to do something that, in most cases, it must already do in return for EU member states agreeing to take back any of their citizens who have sneaked into Azerbaijan to claim fraudulently their one manat or one hundred gyapiks a day in social security - probably not a very numerous category.
"The other Agreement is a visa liberalisation agreement. This is also a two-way agreement.
"Citizens of EU countries will be able to travel to Azerbaijan under a simplified visa procedure a visa and have the opportunity of overstaying illegally. I don't know if there anybody in this room thinking of doing that?
"Equally, Azerbaijanis will be able to travel to the EU and return when their business is concluded or when they feel like it.
"It's not very two-way if you ask me!"
Response from the Commission:
The representative said that the agreement was a visa facilitation agreement and not a visa liberalisation agreement (although it had been said, by the Rapporteur, that it would be a prelude to visa liberalisation) and visas would still be required. If a person overstayed beyond the period allowed by the visa he would be returned under the terms of the re-admission agreement.
However, the return of the person is predicated on the assumption that he or she could be found and had not disappeared into the black economy!
12th February 2014: This morning at the European Parliament in Brussels, Andrew Brons made the following contribution to a debate in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) on ways of combating new psychoactive substances.
"There is an important difference between saying that something must be done about a problem and saying that what has been proposed must be done about it.
"The identification of the problem is somewhat easier than the solution. New substances, not covered by existing criminal law, are being taken by young people recreationally and they suffer changes in consciousness, behaviour and cognition, impairing rational behaviour and possibly having long term consequences.
"The difficulty is apparently that the identities of the substances or at least their names, if not all of their ingredients, are changing continually, perhaps ahead of legislation.
"It is interesting that they are said to come from clandestine laboratories in emergent economies like China and India, which do not appear to have the regulatory frameworks to control the production. It is perhaps an irony that China can manage to repress dissent rather more efficiently than it can regulate harmful economic activity.
"It is another irony that the EU, wearing its Globalist hat, is so keen to conclude trade agreements with these countries. It appears that they are being traded through official channels, though perhaps with misleading descriptions.
"This is yet another example of the EU saying that this is an international problem, so it needs an EU solution. However, the words international and European Union are not (yet at least) synonymous. World-wide problems require world-wide solutions that can be produced only by international treaties with the maximum number of signatories.
"I found the concern that the actions of individual member states to solve this problem might be a threat to the Single Market rather disturbing. So that's what we are worried about!
"The problem is that the opening up of borders has created a Single Markets in all manner of illicit goods, services and even the fruits of criminal activity."
11th February 2014: Yesterday at the European Parliament in Brussels, Andrew Brons made the following contribution to a debate in the Constitutional Affairs Committee (AFCO) on relations between the Europe Parliament and national parliaments.
"The Report is, in essence, asking the question; "What are national parliaments for?" The question is not as foolish as it might seem, in view of the enormous shift in legislative competence from member states to the EU.
"It is true that when the EU enacts directives, national parliaments are allowed to put them into their own words. However, their exclusive competence has been shrinking continually. We now know that their main task is to control their member of the Council- their government and presumably to push it further in an integrationist direction.
"I had always thought that their function was to be responsible to their electorates and to take their mandates from those electorates- to be the embodiments of national democracy. However, it seems that their main task is to control the Council and prevent its members from engaging in heretical ways.
"Mr Duff said that states in a federation do not usually have a role to play in federal matters. He is an open and honest federalist. Some others in the EU are less honest about their federalism.
"There was an attempt to include the word 'federal' (or its equivalent in all the languages), in The Maastricht Treaty - now the Treaty on the European Union -including amendments. The word was deleted on the insistence of John Major although the EC and later EU has continued in a federal direction.
"National parliaments must, in my view, revert to their original task to represent the wishes of the people, rather than playing bit parts or cameo roles in a supranational production.
"We must not presume that national parliaments will receive a mandate from their electorates for "a journey toward (ever) greater EU integration" - the words in the first sentence of the Explanatory Memorandum.
"National moods are changing although they stand to be misled by the people who will claim to represent them."
11th February 2014: This is sometimes described euphemistically as female circumcision. However, it involves the removal of the clitoris from baby girls often without anaesthetic or appropriate sterilisation of equipment. It is so that the adult woman will derive no pleasure from sex and will be less likely to be unfaithful to her husband.
It is a cruel and barbaric practice that is condemned by all civilised people. It is practised in the United Kingdom by some ethnic minorities. UKIP is anxious not to appear 'extreme' or 'intolerant', so it tolerates barbaric practices in the name of tolerance!
On 6th February, there were three votes condemning female genital mutilation. There were only three UKIP MEPs present: Clark, Agnew and Helmer. Farage and the others were absent from the voting. All three either registered an abstention or did not vote on any of these votes.