27th February 2014: This morning at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons made the following contribution to a debate on the future of EU visa policy.
"In my first debate in LIBE, five years ago, a noblewoman* of liberal persuasion, convinced herself that I did not know the difference between people travelling with or without a visa and immigrants. I think that I remarked that I did but the travellers frequently did not.
"People who travel from poor countries to relatively rich ones are not always scrupulously honest about their purposes for, or the intended length of, their visit.
"In a recent debate in LIBE a representative of the Commission warned against confusing visa facilitation and visa liberalisation and said that easing the procedure for obtaining the visa (as distinct from waiving the requirement for a visa) would not allow the visa holder to overstay. The visa over-stayer, he implied, would be waiting in the place he was supposed to have been, for the authorities to collect him and return him to his own country.
"I have heard the Commission accused of many things but I did not think naivety was one of them."
* A noble Baroness of ancient lineage who is also an MEP in LIBE.
27th February 2014: Yesterday evening at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons made the following contribution to a debate on Fundamental Rights in the European Union.
"In the eyes of the EU, all rights are equal but some are more equal than others.
"In any democracy, the political rights:
- freedom of expression;
- freedom of assembly; and
- electoral rights
should be pre-eminent. Why? Because they are the key to all of the others: their recognition; their extent; and their limitations. Indeed many of the personal rights were established only with the exercise of these political rights.
"However, the EU regards the personal rights of : chosen or determined behaviour, freedom from constraint, prohibition of discrimination and freedom of movement to be paramount.
"If there should be a conflict between (say) freedom of expression and one of these personal rights, freedom of expression would be the loser.
"What they are really saying is that the political rights were simply vehicles for campaigning for their range of personal rights. Once these have been elevated to the status of having self-evident virtue, the political rights have served their use and have become redundant."
Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union
The Charter was drafted cleverly to grant and withhold rights according to the opinions and priorities of those who drafted it.
Article 11 seems clear and unqualified in its granting the right of freedom of expression. However, we know that several member states place draconian restrictions on free speech in the areas such as ethnicity, religion and academic opinion.
Article 12 seems to establish the right to assemble in political organisations. However, we know that the UK courts will prevent parties from using their own criteria for granting or withholding membership.
European political parties are mentioned but EU law decided what parties are allowed to believe and proclaim and what they are forbidden from proclaiming.
Article 54 seems to be the sting in the tail. It appears to take away the right to express opinions or proclaim policies that would be:
- considered to countenance discrimination; fail to show respect for cultural, linguistic or religious diversity or advocating restrictions on freedom of movement or residence.
Extracts From The Charter
Article 11 Freedom of Expression
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.
2. The freedom and pluralism of the media shall be respected.
Article 12 - Freedom of Assembly and of Association
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association at all levels, in particular in political, trade union and civic matters, which implies the right of everyone to form and join trade unions for the protection of his or her interests.
2. Political parties at Union level contribute to expressing the political will of citizens of the Union.
Article 21 Non-discrimination
1. Any discrimination Based on any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation shall be prohibited.
2. Within the scope of application of the Treaties and without prejudice to any of their specific provisions, and discrimination on the grounds of nationality shall be prohibited.
Article 22 Cultural, religious and linguistic diversity
The Union shall respect cultural, religious and linguistic diversity.
Article 45 Freedom of Movement of Residence
1. Every citizen of the Union has the right to move and reside freely within the territory of Member States.
2. Freedom of movement and residence may be granted, in accordance with the Treaties, to nationals of third countries legally resident in the territory of a Member State.
Article 52 Scope and Interpretation of Rights and Principles
1. Any limitation on the exercise of the rights and freedoms recognised by this Charter must be provided for by law and respect the essence of those rights and freedoms. Subject to the principle of proportionality, limitations may be made only if they are necessary and genuinely meet objectives of general interest recognised by the Union or the need to protect the rights and freedoms of others.
Article 54 Prohibition of Abuse of Rights
Nothing in this Charter shall be interpreted as implying any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms recognised in this Charter or at their limitation to a greater extent than is provided for herein.
26th February 2014: This morning at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons was unsuccessful in his attempt for a Catch the Eye intervention during a debate on the Youth Guarantee schemes.
Had he been called to speak, Andrew would have said:
"Youth unemployment, like all unemployment, is a tragedy. There is an easy presumption that it is worse than unemployment of adults with mortgages and families. We must question that.
"There is little doubt that an unemployed youth, after training and education, would stand a greater chance of a job than would a youth lacking that training and education. However, when 50% of that age group are unemployed will it help all of them, most of them or many of them to get a job. I doubt it.
"The Youth Guarantee scheme is not a reflation scheme or a real-job creation scheme and it will cure neither the recession in the South nor the long term impoverishment facing Europe, as a whole, as the result of Globalisation. It will not rescue Southern European countries from the Euro-zone, allowing them to devalue.
"It will reduce unemployment figures and perhaps reduce the chances of a political backlash. Perhaps, it is really a Politicians' Survival scheme."
25th February 2014: This morning at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons was unsuccessful in his attempt for a Catch the Eye intervention during a debate on the European Semester.
Andrew told this website:
"This was not just any old unsuccessful Catch the Eye. It was blatant bias.
The Vice President presiding was Macmillan-Scott one of the Yorkshire MEPs (He was a Conservative but later changed to the Liberal Democrats). I had requested a Catch the Eye within five minutes of the start of the debate at about 9.05 or 9.10 and I was present for most of the debate until Catch the Eye at the end. At the beginning of Catch the Eye he said that he would choose one speaker from each of the 'groups'. He chose PPE, S&D, Alde, ECR, Greens EFD and GUE. I was the only Non-Attached sitting in the chamber. However, he then gave time to the Commission and the Council.
I sent a note to him on the platform saying that he had not chosen anybody from the Non-Attached. He did not respond, so I attempted to make a point of order. However, he said that the Non-Attached did not constitute a 'group'.
Whilst the Non-Attached do not constitute an official group, they are always treated as though they were a group when speaking time is allocated. When speaking is limited to one round of speakers from each group, the Non-Attached are always included. At the beginning of a debate, each group is allowed to have one speaker speaking on its behalf. The Non-Attached is always included. Whenever Vice Presidents have allocated speaking time during Catch the Eye on the basis of one per group, the Non Attached are always included.
Whilst Vice Presidents are given the freedom to decide the criteria on which Catch the Eye time is allocated, it should not be according to a formula that automatically excludes and discriminates against, some members."
Had Andrew been able to address his fellow MEPs he would have said:
"Mr. Gutierrez's report was revealing. Whilst the recession in the Eurozone officially came to an end in the second quarter of 2013, long term unemployment has continued to rise, average household incomes are continuing to decline and in-job poverty is on the rise.
"There has been an assumption that Europe's economic problems can be attributed only to the recession. In fact we are seeing the effects of a long-term decline that is attributable to Globalisation:
- imports with which Europe cannot compete from the emergent economies;
- European capital is being diverted to other continents; and
- imports of labour from the Third World that keep wages at poverty levels.
"We might indeed all recover from the recession but we are seeing long term declines not only in the incomes of the poor but also of the average household and even in some ranks of the professions.
"Only the exceptionally rich, mobile and rootless are immune to this decline."
25th February 2014: Yesterday evening at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons made the following one minute speech under Rule 150.
"When the history of the Twenty-First Century is written, it could be remembered as the one in which Europeans were ethnically cleansed from large parts of their homelands.
"Within my lifetime, large parts of the cities of many countries in the West have been transformed into outposts of Africa and Asia. By the end of the century the East will probably be transformed in the same way.
"It has not happened autonomously - like the winds and the tides. It has been brought about deliberately, by the people who misrule us - the Political Class.
"When the peoples of Europe are no longer the pre-eminent population, our distinctive cultures will be no more. Distinctive peoples are not the product of distinctive cultures; distinctive cultures are the product of distinctive peoples.
"Demographic change is not just about numbers and space. It is about the identities of the peoples doing the replacing and the peoples being replaced.
"There is still time for Europeans nationally, and in co-operation, to alter their destiny and take control of their own future. It will require moral courage, determination and resolution."You do not help poorer countries by robbing them of their most skilled and able workers."
25th February 2014: Yesterday evening at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons made the following contribution, under the Catch the Eye procedure, to a debate on the entry of third country nationals for research, pupil exchange etc.
"This report starts innocently enough by referring to conditions of entry for ostensibly short term visitors such as exchange pupils or au pairs.
"Then the pretences are cast aside and it admits that this is just a prelude to large scale permanent immigration - 11 million in the remainder of this decade.
"Well the pretext is Europe's ageing population, caused by women's enslavement to economic forces and subservience to anti-family propaganda.
"The report envisages third country - for which read Third World - immigrants, with their large families becoming replacement Europeans. They will not become Europeans. They will continue to turn more and more parts of Europe into the Third World.
"You do not change a person's identity by changing his or her country or continent of residence.
"You do not help poorer countries by robbing them of their most skilled and able workers."
11th February 2014: This is sometimes described euphemistically as female circumcision. However, it involves the removal of the clitoris from baby girls often without anaesthetic or appropriate sterilisation of equipment. It is so that the adult woman will derive no pleasure from sex and will be less likely to be unfaithful to her husband.
It is a cruel and barbaric practice that is condemned by all civilised people. It is practised in the United Kingdom by some ethnic minorities. UKIP is anxious not to appear 'extreme' or 'intolerant', so it tolerates barbaric practices in the name of tolerance!
On 6th February, there were three votes condemning female genital mutilation. There were only three UKIP MEPs present: Clark, Agnew and Helmer. Farage and the others were absent from the voting. All three either registered an abstention or did not vote on any of these votes.
6th February 2014: Yesterday at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons made the following contribution, under the Catch the Eye procedure, to a debate on Europe's role in the Central African Republic.
"The ethnic and religious conflict is the most pressing problem but it distracts us from underlying long term problems of poverty, a lack of economic development and a fragile civic infrastructure. We must understand the nature of these problems if they are to be solved.
"They are not just the product of the decades following independence or of the colonial experience. Despite being rich in natural resources and having favourable agricultural conditions, the CAR is one of the world's poorest countries.
"We might ask why the area of the Central African Republic and the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa, for that matter (in the pre-colonial period), did not develop the instruments of technology and transport and use them to spread the fruits of their discoveries, learning and creativity throughout the world, in the way that Europe did. If there has been a hindrance to development, it must be identified and addressed.
"When we address that question honestly, we might be ready to start solving Africa's problems."
5th February 2014: This morning at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons made the following contribution, under the Catch the Eye procedure, to a debate on a proposed directive on conditions of entry of third country nationals for seasonal employment.
"If you were to start with the premiss that admitting seasonal workers was an economic necessity and would happen anyway, there might be something to be said for at least some parts of this Report.
"The conditions of work of the seasonal workers in Rosarno, where we went (on a LIBE delegation) in 2010, were truly appalling. Allowing those sort of conditions, wages and accommodation to be tolerated would be inhumane and would encourage employers to hire third country workers before home or EU workers.
"However, allowing third country workers to apply from within the EU for seasonal work, would reward illegal migrants and encourage the entry of more. Allowing people admitted for another purpose, to apply, would invite abuse of the admission system.
"Nine to twelve months is more than a season.
"I should like to see the evidence for the conclusion that national and other EU workers would be unwilling to take seasonal work. Many long term unemployed would be pleased to have paid work with accommodation provided in their own country or at least their own continent."
5th February 2014: Yesterday at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons made the following contribution, under the Catch the Eye procedure, to a debate on the proposed Financial Transactions Tax.
"For a tax to attract one or two non- partisan critics, would be unfortunate. To attract dozens sounds like carelessness.
"The tax is superficially appealing as a levy on institutions blamed for the recession - a tax on the rich to benefit the poor - but as one critic said: "Banks simply pass down their taxes to us - the customers".
"Indeed, the FTT would be levied most heavily on long term investments such as those of pension funds.
"The good news is that it will be levied in only eleven countries. The bad news is that it might be drafted in a way that would catch some transactions in countries that have rejected it.*
"There is reason to believe that its imposition even at a modest level** would lead to migration of funds to countries beyond those participating in it.
"If it were ever to be imposed on all twenty-eight member states, funds would migrate to New York. Remember, the FTT is the chosen instrument to be an EU own-resources tax."
* According to the Council's legal service
** 0.1% on stock and bond trade and 0.01% on derivatives transactions (such as sale of options to buy investments)