Europe day to day
The opening of the plenary session of the EP in Strasbourg today will be crucial for German Socialist President (Speaker) of the European Parliament Martin Schulz.
It would seem that there are no limits to his megalomaniacal ambitions. Brussels insiders are aghast at the audacious attempts by Schulz to parachute his political advisers into key positions in the, supposedly apolitical, European Parliament administration before his two-and-a-half-year mandate comes to an end this June. Former EP Presidents have usually managed to get promotions agreed for one or two of their top advisers, but the scale of the Schulz power grab is unprecedented.
If all goes according to his brazen plan, the Parliament’s appointing authority for senior positions (the Bureau) will today, at its final meeting before the European elections, confirm the appointments of no less than six of Schulz’s political advisers to be either Directors General (the top layer of EU management) or Directors (the next layer down).
The expected appointments are:
It was a real thriller. But the result couldn’t be better for the proponents of the biggest Citizen Initiative of the EU, One of Us. The European Parliament has never before, in its history, seen such a frank, honest and high-level debate about the inconsistencies of the EU regarding the equal protection of every human being from the moment of conception onwards.
What went on behind the scenes?
Two days before the hearing, the Citizens’ Committee received a letter with a draft agenda, which has been changed without the consent of the Citizens’ Committee. As it turned out, Parliament tried to give minimal speaking time to the representatives of ‘One of Us’ while filling the slots with statements of MEPs. Given the controversies that One of Us has caused over the last two years in some circles, certain MEPs were seemingly attempting to lecture One of Us instead of listening, as would be appropriate for such a hearing.
It was particularly shocking to see that the first round of statements provided speaking slots for four MEPs and two Commissioners before even allowing the Citizens’ Committee to present the initiative and its objectives.
Today, April 10th, the European Parliament will hold a public hearing for the European Citizen Initiative (ECI) “One of Us”. The hearing will take place from 09h00 to 12h30. With over 1.7 million validated statements of support, reaching the minimum number of signatures in 19 of 28 Member States, this initiative is the most successful of all European Citizens in the European Union so far. It calls for an end of EU funding of any activity that presupposes or involve the destruction of a human embryo. The hearing will be web-streamed (link below).
The hearing is jointly organized by the Committee on Development, the Committee on Legal Affairs and the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, in association with the Committee on Petitions and it will host following the introductory statements, two rounds of presentations on "EU Research funding" and "EU Development aid".
The legislative proposal aims to add an ethics clause to the EU's Financial Regulation, which would prohibit the allocation of EU funds to any activity that destroys, or presupposes the destruction of, a human embryo through the presentation of a drafting proposal to modify the Research Framework Programme "Horizon 2020", and the Regulation under which development aid is financed.
UPDATE: With a small margin of 9 votes, the European Parliament today has rejected with 298 to 289 the paternalistic Zuber Report and its false and narrow view of women's equality. The alternative EPP resolution, which was equally problematic, was rejected as well.
Both the Zuber Report and the alternative resolution would have:
- reduced women to the role of mere taxpayers,
- lacked respect for the personal life choices of women,
- implemented unconditional factual political and economic parity,
- ignored the principle of subsidiarity, and
- called for "gender training" for children.
European Dignity Watch had called upon MEPs to vote against both texts — the Report and the alternative resolution tabled by the EPP group. We congratulate the 298 MEPs who voted against the Report. By doing so, they made a statement in support of freedom and non-interference by the EU in the personal life choices of women.
This vote points in the right direction with regards to equality between women and men: by rejecting the view that a women is equal solely if she is a full-fledged member of the workforce and a taxpayer, the path has remained open for a more balanced and dignified view of women, family life, child-rearing and freedom.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, 11 March 2014, the European Parliament will vote on the “own-initiative” Report on equality between women and men in the European Union - 2012. Along the same lines of the Lunacek and Estrela Reports, this is yet another politically-motivated, non-legislative resolution that MEPs are once again called upon to vote for.
Prepared by Mrs. Inês Cristina Zuber — of the Portuguese Communist Party — for the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, this highly symbolic report is full of presumptuous, overreaching, and misleading assumptions about the European Union’s role in achieving equal opportunities for women and men. The alternative motion tabled by the centre-right EPP is no improvement, because equally unbalanced. Both should be rejected.