GUE/NGL
News

Day 5: Commission hearings

17h10

Irish MEP Clare Daly used the hearings with Jourová to highlight the erosion of trust between citizens and the EU institutions, and to halt the decline:

She also asked if Jourová will do more to protect EU journalists and NGOs from foreign attacks:

“Your portfolio includes defending EU democracy from foreign interference, as well as defending cross-border journalists through cross-border protections.”

“We have strong protections in Europe but foreign powers can still whisk journalists out of Europe to jails thousands of miles away.”

“What will you do to support EU democracy and NGOs from attacks on freedom of the press by foreign parties like the US, and in particular, to protect EU journalists from extradition for political persecution?

***** ***** ***** *****

16h50

In questioning the Spanish nominee hoping to be the EU’s high representative, Manu Pineda tells Josep Borrell “more deeds, fewer empty words” than his predecessor, Federica Mogherini:

“Israel has turned the Gaza strip into the world’s largest open air prison.”

“The West Bank is full of settlers under the occupation of Israeli forces, attacking defenceless, Palestinian communities. Israel wants Jerusalem to be the capital. But what will you do to make Israel comply with international law and UN resolutions and to respect the human rights of the Palestinian people?

He continued, “it’s true that the EU is maintaining humanitarian aid but much more is needed: policies.

“We need the recognition of a Palestinian state and that recognition may already be late but it will mean a lot. It doesn’t make sense for the EU to maintain preferential treatment to a country that dispects international laws, treaties and agreements. We must invoke Article 2 of the agreement which applies to human rights.”

***** ***** ***** *****

15h41

Police brutality has been very much in the news for the past year in France, and Anne-Sophie Pelletier is concerned that the lack of transparency and illiberal policies are spreading across Europe:

“In Poland, Hungary and Italy, governments have adopted laws that ban protests. We’ve seen police brutality is various countries such as Spain and Romania, and as a French citizen, freedom of association, freedom to gather are key fundamental rights.”

“Measures to prevent police brutality have been insufficient. I think of all the citizens who have suffered from brutality and tear gas: from the gilets jeunes to journalists, street protesters and environmental activists.

“We need transparency. How can thre Czech nominee ensure our inalienable right to protest?”

 

In addition, Pelletier said that NGOs also need the EU’s help:.

“In the Commissioner-designate’s written replies, I saw no mention of NGOs. If they have no support at the Commission level, how are they going to report in the face of  cuts to fundings and disinformation?”

 

***** ***** ***** *****

15h30

Idoia Villanueva was first up against Josep Borrell, and she tackled him on increase on nuclear proliferation and arms control ban:

“In the last few years, we’ve seen a new arms race where the big powers like the US and Russia are breakling non-proliferation agreement and carrying out nuclear tests. Also, we see an increase in armed conflicts in all sorts of areas around the world.”

“There’s also the fact that Turkey is attacking Kurdish communities in northeastern syria with Trump’s backing. What kind of role can the EU play that would work in the opposite direction in creating global secuerity and bring about disarmament?”

“On Turkey, will you take measures like freezing EU financing on Turkey or stop selling them weapons?”

 

 

She added:

“In Europe, we need deeds more than words. As Spain’s foreign minister, you rectified deal that sold weapons to Saudi Arabia which violates human rights. Are you going to commit yourself to the 2018 common position which put control on weapons exports?”

“We need to go beyond just showing and start to do something – and the EU is in a position to do that!”

***** ***** ***** *****

14h15

Only two are up for the Commission hearings today but two of the big beasts and also would-be Vice-Presidents.

This afternoon, it is Czech nominee Věra Jourová and Spain’s Josep Borrell’s turns to be scrutinised and as usual, we will keep track of their hearings and what our MEPs are saying.

Here are our main concerns for the two nominees:

 

 

Contact person