Daily Archives: September 29, 2015

Written question – Commission's position on the possible independence of Catalonia – P-012942/2015

Margaritis Schina, spokesman for the Commission, has made a remarkable statement on the independence process in Catalonia. He said that a Member State region which becomes independent automatically becomes a ‘third country’ which has to make an application for EU membership. The Commission thus stands by the position set out by Romano Prodi in 2004 — in spite of the massive support for independence in Catalonia — and upheld in the public debate on the recent independence referendum in Scotland. I also refer to the statement made by former Commissioner De Gucht, the day after the Scottish referendum: ‘We could hardly have refused EU membership to an independent Scotland’ (in the Flemish weekly Knack, 19 September 2014).

1. On what grounds in law and in the Treaties is the Commission spokesman’s statement based?

2. On what legal basis does the Commission propose to draw a distinction between EU citizens in Catalonia and EU citizens in the rest of Spain?

3. Can the Commission explain how its support for peoples striving for autonomy and independence, in such places as South Sudan, Kosovo and East Timor, relates to its unchanged attitude to similar processes within the EU?

Opinion – Towards a European Energy Union – PE 560.712v02-00 – Committee on International Trade

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At UN, French President pledges to work with all parties towards political solution in Syria – except Syrian leader

28 September 2015 – France is ready to work with all countries that want to find a political solution to the four-year crisis in Syria except for President Bashar Al-Assad, who cannot be part of the solution, French President François Hollande told the UN General Assembly today at the annual general debate.

Syria is “calling once more for our mobilization and intervention,” said President Hollande, underlining that the civil war has to date killed more than 250,000 people. He recalled that the “Syrian tragedy” follows an uprising which sought to undermine the “dictatorship of Bashar Al-Assad.”

Moreover, he stated that eight million people haven’t just fled a war – “they’ve fled Bashar Al-Assad’s regime – the same regime which dropped bombs on innocent civilians.”

“It is not because terrorists massacre, loot, and rape that there should be pardon or amnesty for the regime that created the situation,” the French President continued.

With 80 per cent of Syrian refugees fleeing to other countries of the global South, “it is the poor and most vulnerable who are hosting the poor and most vulnerable”, he said, underlining that European countries should do more.

He insisted that the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the World Food Programme (WFP) must be provided the means to ensure the necessary support, and refugees must be allowed to work in their host countries. He further announced that France is contributing €100 million to WFP for refugees in countries neighbouring Syria.

Meanwhile, President Hollande saluted the immense progress accomplished by the United Nations since its creation 70 years ago, while noting that unfortunately the world is still challenged by many conflicts.

Enumerating many natural disasters caused by climate change, he said the upcoming climate change conference in Paris must answer the question: “Is humankind capable of deciding to preserve life on the planet?” while noting some progress, singling out recent commitments made by the United States and China.

Furthermore, he said he favoured a global climate agreement, differentiating the responsibilities of each country, and laid out three conditions for success in Paris: every country must make commitments on emission reductions; a review mechanism must be established to allow for revisions every five years; and developed countries should fulfil their commitments to developing countries by ensuring $100 billion in support.

In addition, he announced France will increase its annual funding for climate from €3 billion to €5 billion to be disbursed, not as loans, but as grants.