"The European Parliament clearly welcomes the launch of trade negotiations with the US and will monitor closely the entire process, which should be as transparent as possible", said the European Parliament's International Trade Committee chair Vital Moreira (S&D, PT) on Friday, following today's EU Trade Council decision to grant EU negotiators a mandate to proceed with the talks.
"Holding presidential elections in Mali on 28 July is the only way to restore legitimacy there' said ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly Co-President in Brussels on Monday, at the opening of its 25th session. When the UN mission is deployed in Mali in July, replacing most French troops there, "it should take care to avoid a security vacuum at all costs", he added.
Parliament passed three separate resolutions on Thursday condemning the grave violations of human rights and the violence perpetrated against Rohingya Muslims in Burma/Myanmar; calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Ilgar Mammadov in Azerbaijan; and expressing its serious concerns about the recent repressive laws and their arbitrary enforcement in Russia.
Two years on, the European External Action Service (EEAS) cannot be expected to be fully functional. Yet more can be done to improve its coordination with the Commission and the Council, political leadership, visibility and accountability, MEPs said in a vote on Thursday. In their input to this summer's review of the EU's new diplomatic corps, they also call for a sharper focus on strategic planning and crisis response delivery.
MEPs are deeply concerned at the disproportionate and excessive use of force by Turkish police to break up peaceful and legitimate protests in Istanbul's Gezi Park. In a resolution voted by a show of hands on Thursday, they warn against the use of harsh measures against peaceful protesters and said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan must take a unifying and conciliatory position.
MEPs will discuss the recent developments in Turkey, and the EU's role in giving journalists more protection worldwide and in supporting freedom of religion or belief with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton at 15.00 on Wednesday. In a separate discussion, MEPs are expected to call for the European External Action Service (EEAS) to become more politically accountable to Parliament.
The current unrest in Turkey highlights the absence of a culture of compromise and the failure to tolerate dissent in Turkish democracy, foreign affairs MEPs said in a debate on Thursday. They also criticised the lateness of EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton's reaction to the violent crackdown on the anti-government protests as well as the lack of reaction so far by Prime Minister Erdogan.
MEPs welcomed the results of the Mali donors conference but insisted on respect for the rule of law and human rights during their discussion on Thursday with the acting president, Dioncounda Traoré. Members of the security and defence, foreign affairs and development committees also stressed the need to establish genuine democracy and decentralisation.
MEPs and MPs from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine hope to achieve a breakthrough in their relations at this November's Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, but not at the expense of democracy, rule of law and peace. At the Third Euronest Parliamentary Assembly in Brussels on 28-29 May, they pledged to press their governments for reforms to this end.
Serbia's 19 April deal with Kosovo, and the roadmap agreed on 22 May to implement it, were hailed as a remarkable achievement by Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs in a debate with Serbia's Prime Minister Ivica Dačić on Wednesday. Putting the deal into effect swiftly is now crucial, they stressed, reiterating that the Council should set a date at its next meeting for starting EU accession talks with Belgrade, provided Serbia sticks to its reform course.