20th March 2014: Yesterday afternoon at the European Parliament in Brussels, Andrew Brons made the following contribution in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) during a hearing on the Stockholm Programme on Home Affairs.
"The Commission’s Europe 2020 document said that the EU was fortunate to have a talented and creative population. Indeed a disproportionate contribution to world civilisation has come from our continent.
"Why then do we need to attract talented people from other countries and continents as you suggested?
"Indeed, if we are talking about attracting specialist labour from poor countries, is it ethical to do so?
"Some will remember the visit to the European Parliament four years ago of the former President of Mali, Mr Amadou Toure. He said that about a third of medical workers and nearly 40% of graduates had emigrated to work overseas.
"Countries that are poor, in every sense of that word, cannot afford to lose their precious pool of talented workers. Or is saving our money on education and training more important than saving lives in poor countries."
Commissioner Malmstrom said that we did indeed need to attract talented workers and she specified engineers. She did not explain why we could not educate and train them ourselves.
She claimed that people recruited from poor countries eventually returned to them.
20th March 2014: Yesterday afternoon at the European Parliament in Brussels, Andrew Brons put the following questions to Commissioner Reding during a hearing in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) on the Stockholm Programme.
"I should like to ask about judicial training (eventually of all judges in the EU).
"What is the content of the training and how will its effectiveness be measured. Would you envisage any measurement of the extent to which the training has been understood?
"Would the content be prescriptive or persuasive with regard to the power to create precedents in common law systems? Would it be prescriptive about approaches to the interpretation of legislation?
"Will it simply be descriptive of, and informative about, different legal systems and that of the EU?"
Commissioner Reding made references to judicial training in her responses to all of the questions, taken together. At the end of her responses, she said that she had replied to Andrew. However, she did not provide answers to any of his specific questions.
Andrew's intention was to see whether the training to which our judges would be subjected would try to influence our judicial culture indirectly.
19th March 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 "How to deal with the on-going crisis in the Mediterranean".
"The Minister (representing the Greek Presidency of the Council) said that his Government had an action plan to control migratory flows but then went on to mention non-refoulement*, which, in the way in which it is interpreted, encourages and facilitates illegal migratory flows.
"We, in LIBE, were told by the Executive Director of FRONTEX, perhaps two years ago, that illegal migrants over the Turkish-Greek border were processed and then released, sometimes with a piece of paper asking them very politely to leave the EU. However, that order was not enforced.
"Deaths in the Mediterranean of people seeking to enter the European Union illegally in unsafe or inappropriate boats are primarily the responsibility of the adults who embark on those boats and any traffickers who assist them.
"However, the people with almost equal responsibility for those deaths are those who develop asylum policy for the EU or for the United Nations, under which the people rescued are brought to Europe and granted asylum or refused asylum but allowed to stay anyway.
"People in danger must always be saved but they must not be rewarded for attempting to enter the EU illegally.
"If you want to stop these tragic deaths in the Mediterranean, you refuse every asylum application from anybody who has entered the EU illegally or was intending to enter the EU illegally. Furthermore, these failed asylum seekers must then be forcibly removed from the European Union preferably to their countries of origin.
"When the word spreads that the EU and its member states will not accept any of these people, the passage of these people immediately from North Africa but often ultimately from Southern Africa will cease overnight.
"We have been told this morning** that immigration is unavoidable and even necessary because of our demographic problem. We have been told that this is because of our falling birth rates and that immigration - most of it from outside Europe - will compensate for unborn European babies.
"When you bring in immigrants from Africa and Asia, they do not become substitute Europeans. They turn parts of Europe into Africa and Asia.
"Europe - at least in the West - is becoming, by the day, less and less European. Those of you from the East of Europe, don't worry. It will be your turn next.
* Non-refoulement is a principle in the United Nations 1954 Convention on Refugees. It says that states should not expel or return a person to a country in which his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.
In practice it is interpreted much more widely to mean that people cannot be returned to dangerous countries, even if the person would not be singled out for ill-treatment.
** By Mr Eugenio Ambrosi, of the International Organisation for Migration.