Latest News

Sea-Watch-3-Mediterranean.jpg

New European Commission president-elect Ursula von der Leyen must clearly and immediately commit to act to act to prevent national governments from criminalising humanitarian assistance, a Labour MEP warned today as the European Parliament debated the situation in the Mediterranean, including the Sea Watch scandal, where the captain of a ship was arrested in Italy after disembarking more than 40 people she had heroically rescued at sea.

Claude Moraes MEP, Labour's European Parliament spokesperson on civil liberties, justice and home affairs, said:

“It has been exactly a year since the European Parliament called on the Commission to provide guidelines to prevent humanitarian assistance from being criminalised.

“The odyssey of Sea Watch 3 and Carola Rackete and the actual and repeated prosecution of individuals and organisations have shown the importance of these guidelines. The Commission and Commission President Ms von der Leyen need to clearly commit to issue these guidelines.

“I welcome that Council discussed a voluntary temporary disembarkation and relocation mechanism this week. This could be a first step to overcome the inertia in Council on the Common European Asylum System and Dublin for a system that is based on solidarity.”

Claude Moraes MEP added:

“We have seen in recent weeks the tragic attack on the detention centre in Tajoura, near Tripoli that led to the death of dozens of migrants. The airstrike killed more than 60 people.

“Thousands of refugees and migrants are trapped in detention centres in conflict areas and are exceptionally vulnerable - they are being exposed to fighting, particularly around Tripoli. Libya is not a safe country and NGOs that save the lives at sea of those fleeing war and torture deserve full support from the EU.

“And two weeks ago, 83 people drowned off the coast of Tunisia, the second deadliest incident of this type in 2019.

“So far this year, 682 people have died or gone missing. Without action, compassion and justice, hundreds, thousands more will die.”

Julie Ward MEP told the debate:

“We are once again discussing the lives of thousands of men, women and children who every day attempt the perilous journey across the Mediterranean, fleeing conflict and unsustainable lives.

“Carola Rackete, the captain of Sea-Watch 3 who was arrested last month for docking the search and rescue vessel in Italy without permission, trying to save hundreds of lives, is not a criminal, as Salvini would have you believe, but a heroine.

“The European Parliament must lead on this issue. Saving these people’s lives should not be politics but a duty and a moral obligation.”

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Von der Leyen must act now to prevent humanitarian assistance being criminalised or thousands more will die, warns Labour MEP

New European Commission president-elect Ursula von der Leyen must clearly and immediately commit to act to act to prevent national governments from criminalising humanitarian assistance, a Labour MEP warned today...

Read more

European-Parliament-Strasbourg-2019-700x410.jpg

The five hundred million citizens of the EU must continue to have their voices heard and amplified, especially on major issues like citizens’ rights and Brexit, a Labour MEP said after being elected socialist group coordinator on the petitions committee.

Jude Kirton-Darling MEP, Socialists and Democrats Group spokesperson on petitions, said:

“I’ve been a member of the petitions committee for the past five years and I find that my work there has been the most rewarding as an MEP. It’s the place where the half a billion citizens of the European Union can directly raise concerns to the European Parliament, the Commission and other Member States about areas of European policy or issues in their local area where they want the EU to act on their behalf.

“Many of the petitions we get in this committee have been strongly linked to Brexit. It was in the petitions committee where we led the fight to ensure that citizens’ rights are a red line in Brexit negotiations. I take it as a personal commitment to continue that in the new mandate as the coordinator and spokesperson for the socialist group.

“I am delighted to have been elected to this important role in a committee that has a direct positive impact on European citizens' lives and serves as a vital link between our constituents and the European Union – a true democratic tool. It's an exciting new challenge and I am looking forward to start steering our work in this committee from September, ensuring the voices of 500 million EU citizens are heard.”

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

We will ensure the voices of half a billion EU citizens are heard, Labour MEP says after being appointed petitions committee coordinator

The five hundred million citizens of the EU must continue to have their voices heard and amplified, especially on major issues like citizens’ rights and Brexit, a Labour MEP said...

Read more

Ursula-von-der-Leyen-European-Commission-President-plenary-vote-result.jpg

Along with our Socialists and Democrats Group colleagues in the European Parliament, it was only reluctantly and subject to significant conditions that Labour MEPs agreed to support Ursula von der Leyen as President of the European Commission, as proposed by the 28 European Union Heads of State and Government.

Labour MEPs demand substantially more ambition from her on climate action and energy policy, equality, fair taxation, rule of law, engagement with social partners and civil society. She must now firm up these stated commitments and deliver.

Commission president-elect Ursula von der Leyen must now put forward a comprehensive programme that will deliver on the pledges she has made and set a course for a more progressive Europe if she is to retain the support of Labour MEPs in the votes on the Commission as a whole in October.

Richard Corbett MEP, Labour's Leader in the European Parliament, said:

“Today we approved Ursula von der Leyen’s candidature for president of the European Commission, however the support of Labour MEPs is not unqualified. We have reservations about whether she is the best person to deliver the radical, reforming agenda Europe needs, but over the past few weeks, in meetings and correspondence with us and our socialist colleagues, she has shown a willingness to engage with us on the biggest issues, including Brexit.

“Any Commission president will have to work with all sides of the house, and our priority must be to ensure that the goals of the Socialists and Democrats are at the heart of any programme.

“People want their political leaders to get on and deliver, and rather than risking the European Union being plunged into months of uncertainty we have done just that, but our support is not unconditional.

“On the biggest issues, like action to tackle the climate emergency, greater gender equality, a minimum wage for all European workers, fair taxation so digital tech giants don’t continue to get away with tax avoidance, and upholding the rule of law and defending our fundamental EU values and human rights, not only will we hold her to the promises she made, but will push for more action. If she fails to deliver, and fails to listen, we will revise our support.

“Today’s vote is not the end of the process, and if Ms von der Leyen does not put forward the kind of programme she promised, one that addresses our priorities, with a gender-balanced team of commissioners able to deliver it, we will withdraw our support in the final ratification vote in October.”

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Labour MEPs: On climate, equality, taxation, rule of law and more, von der Leyen must now deliver

Along with our Socialists and Democrats Group colleagues in the European Parliament, it was only reluctantly and subject to significant conditions that Labour MEPs agreed to support Ursula von der...

Read more

More Stories >

As with most websites, we will place cookies on your computer to help make your visit to this site better.

Use of this site confirms your acceptance of these cookies.