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Open letter to Mr Schulz, President of the European Parliament on Ireland’s Marriage Refrendum

May 21, 2015

Dear Mr President,

As you might be aware of, the Irish citizens will vote this Friday 22 May in a referendum aimed at amending the Irish Constitution so as to redefine marriage as being between any two persons, regardless of their sex. Unfortunately, a climate of fear and intimidation has pervaded throughout the campaign, creating electoral conditions that are far from ‘free and fair’.

That is why we call on you, Mr President, to urgently and firm intervene in accordance with the standards already met in similar situations.

The EU claims to be a community of democracies, governed by the Rule of Law. When we go around the world observing voting, we insist that just as important as how voting procedures are carried out on polling day itself, is how the campaign is conducted.

What has taken place in Ireland over the past months is unacceptable for an EU Member State:

  • Every one of the publically-funded political parties in the Irish Parliament is actively campaigning for a Yes to same-sex marriage and have threatened their members with expulsion unless they follow the party line.
  • All of the media, both public and private, is strongly in favour and have even ignored a ruling of Ireland’s Supreme Court, ordering 50/50 allocation of space to groups on both sides of the debate. In addition, a number of senior media figures are actively campaigning on the Yes side. 
  • Multinationals with their headquarters in Ireland are telling their employees to vote Yes and to campaign for this on the social media. Considering that they employ thousands of Irish citizens during a difficult period for the Irish economy, the veiled threat is not hard to detect.
  • Foreign billionaire has channelled millions of dollars to the Yes side; illegal under Irish electoral law, but not reacted to by the Irish Government.

Most disturbing of all, the national Police force is actively supporting the Yes side, including through the use of state resources by allowing police stations to be used for photo opportunities. This is particularly sinister because it is the Police who in Ireland are charged with securing the integrity of the voting stations and the vote counting procedure. Even the former Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman intervened to condemn this inappropriate action by the Police.

We as Members of European Parliament are concerned that the integrity of the Irish Referendum has been seriously compromised. This attitude to democracy is contradictory to core values of European Union, therefore we appeal, Mr President, for your intervention which we perceive indispensable.

 

Strasbourg, 19.05.2015

Signed by MEPs:

Arne Gerike (ECR) Beatrix von Storch (ECR), Edouard Ferrand (NI), Kazimierz Michal Ujazdowski (ECR), Marek Jurek (ECR), Branislaw Skripek (ECR)

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EU Member States may restrict or totally prohibit sale of ‘morning-after-pill’ ellaOne

April 24, 2015

 

 

Brussels -- In January of this year, the European Commission urged Member States to act according to a decision which allowed the prescription-free sale of ellaOne, a contraceptive with an abortifacient effect. As a result, many countries – among them Germany – took this as a sign that any legislation which foresaw its sale only on the basis of a medical prescription should be abolished. However, the Commission this week clarified that there is in fact no obligation for Member States to do so.

 

What happened? In November 2014 the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommended that ellaOne be made available across Europe as an emergency contraceptive without a prescription. EllaOne is one of two ‘morning-after-pills’ available on the European market and, since its launch in 2009, was available only with a prescription in EU Member States.

 

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History repeats itself: How secularists dream their world at the European Parliament

November 13, 2014

The European Parliament Platform for Secularism in Politics (EPPSP), whose Advisory Board is composed of 11 different European NGOs, met November 12 to set their objectives for the next five years of the new legislature. Calling for a “right to secularism” was defined as one of its top priorities.

In the ideal world of the European secularists – who think liberal democracy is constantly under threat from religion – citizens who are believers would not have the same right as other citizens to engage in public debate. They would be silenced. And European secularists would consider this democratic progress, freedom or even political neutrality. They argue that the political sphere must be ‘protected’ from all religious belief which continues to influence democracy and human rights. Furthermore, according to those who militantly advocate for a Europe free from religion, it is the Vatican – with its “huge powers” – that is the main threat to modern secular society. 

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FRA’s big lie on “homophobia” challenged at the European Council

October 29, 2014

Yesterday, the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) together with the Italian Presidency of the Council of the EU (all 28 Member States) held a conference in Brussels on ‘Tackling sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination’. With more than 200 representatives from the 28 Member States and civil society organizations in attendance, the high-level conference pushed for stronger sanctions -- including criminal ones -- against such ‘discrimination’.

But the conference’s agenda was based entirely on the unreliable results of the FRA’s survey on discrimination against LGBTI, which has been much criticized during the past year -- in the media and by many Brussels-based NGOs – because of serious flaws in its design. At yesterday’s conference, despite more questions from the floor about its methodology -- and the rather ideological and unscientific nature of the entire survey – these remained unanswered.

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