21st March 2012: This contribution from Andrew Brons MEP was given yesterday during a debate in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) on establishing the Asylum and Migration Fund.
"The European Union talks with two contradictory voices on migration. It talks to the populations of Europe of, "strengthened border management" (those words are in the report) and of an "effective and sustainable returns policy" (also contained in the report). However, at the same time, its practice defeats those policies.
"Once an illegal or unauthorised migrant has landed, it is highly unlikely that he or she will be returned. When countries have tried to return such migrants, they have attracted the opprobrium of all sections of the EU. Indeed, this report talks of a "strong re-settlement and re-location component" as a response to all claims of asylum, without reference to whether or not they are valid.
"The principle of non-refoulement is contained within the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union - so much the worse for the Treaty and so much the worse for the EU. The principle is simply absurd. It means that nobody can be returned to a dangerous country, in which case, how can we leave the remaining populations of those countries where they are?
"The logical extension of this principle is that we should bring the entire populations of countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan and of repressive countries like China to Europe until it sinks under the weight. However, the principle of non-refoulement has been extended to mean that we must not return people to safe countries.
"Why have Libyans and Tunisians not been returned to those newly-transformed havens of peace and democracy?"
21st March 2012: At the European Parliament in Brussels yesterday afternoon, Andrew Brons MEP made the following speech during a debate in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) on the Priorites of the 2013 Budget.
"I am going to stray away from the area covered by this Committee - Justice and Home Affairs, because Mr. La Via mentioned economic objectives as the priorities of the Budget. However, this is not a criticism of him, because he is not responsible for the economic policies of the European Union; it is a criticism of the European Union itself.
"Mr. La Via said that the two highest priorities of the Budget were Growth & Development; and Employment.
"If that is the case, why does the EU persist with a common currency that is valued too highly for the countries of the South and is locking them into stagnation and unemployment, when a return top their own currencies would lead to export-led expansion?
"Why does it lock them into a common interest rate, when that cannot be appropriate for seventeen different economies?
"Why does it persist with neo-liberal policies that are allowing the emerging economies, like China with its under-valued currency and its artificially-depressed wage rates to destroy Europe's manufacturing industries?
"Why does it think that Europe's unemployed should have to compete with asylum seekers and with migrants, legal and illegal, for jobs?"
29th February 2012: Yesterday afternoon at the European Parliament in Brussels, Andrew Brons made the following contribution to a debate in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) on a Justice Programme for 2014-2020.
"A common area of Justice is a fine ideal - an area in which Justice prevails throughout. However, that does not mean that there should be harmonisation of law or legal systems.
"Law can vary from country to country, whilst all might achieve Justice by different routes and channels. Furthermore, harmonisation is not a sufficient condition for Justice; it is not a guarantor of Justice.
"However, we cannot be complacent. Countries - and I mean countries in the European Union - that seek to gaol people for expressing political opinions; or which ban political parties that pursue their aims by peaceful means; or which seek to prescribe and proscribe different opinions about what happened in Armenia in 1915; are not civilised countries that subscribe to any ideal of Justice.
"History should be left to historians. The only politicians that impose views of history are totalitarian politicians.
"Before we try to impose a common template on twenty-seven - soon to be twenty-eight - different countries, we must, at the very least ensure that the template is itself just and that the countries, from which the template is drawn, practise justice.
"Attempts to build complementary legal devices, like the European Arrest Warrant, have not served the interests of Justice. This device has facilitated people being extradited and gaoled, pending trial, without the court in the extraditing country being able to judge the strength or weakness of the case.
"These attempts to harmonise and make complementary, different legal systems are not motivated by service of Justice but by building EU competence, brick by brick.
"Spending money works wonders for the conscience but it does not guarantee the achievement of Justice, any more than the sale of indulgences, in the Middle Ages, guaranteed the achievement of Virtue."
10th February 2012: Yesterday afternoon, Andrew Brons grilled a panel of representatives at a hearing, held by the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE), on the Situation in Hungary*
His intervention followed the second panel of the afternoon that included a representative from the Council of Europe (not the EU!).
"Has the Council of Europe or the European Union criticised Belgium for banning a large political party or Germany for trying to ban a small one? "Is the Council of Europe or the EU going to criticise France for criminalising a view of history concerning Turkey and the killing of Armenians. Has the Council of Europe or the EU criticised other member states (of both organisations) for criminalising heretical views on history? "Did the Council of Europe or the EU criticise the prosecution of Geert Wilders (a man for whom I have little time but that is not the point) for criticising the political doctrine of Islam, as distinct from adherents of that faith? "Did the Council of Europe or the EU criticise the state-organised violence in 2006 against demonstrator celebrating the 1956 Hungarian Uprising? "Did the Council of Europe or the EU criticise the United Kingdom before 2006 for leaving the ultimate decisions on the appointment of judges to a party politician? "The answer to all of these questions is 'No'. The Council of Europe, like the EU which is now to be affiliated to it, is not an even-handed supporter of democracy, freedom of expression, human rights and the Rule of Law. They are both ideologically-driven entities that pursue aggressively an agenda of intolerant liberalism. "If I were a representative of the Hungarian Government, I would tell both the EU and the Council of Europe to put their own houses in order and protect the rights of dissenting voices in their member states. Only then should they turn their attention to Hungary. Until then they (the Hungarians) should treat both organisations with the disdain that they deserve."
* This refers to the new Constitution in Hungary drafted by the Conservative Government and criticised by the Social Democrat opposition, the European Union and the Council of Europe.
10th February 2012: Yesterday at the European Parliament in Brussels, Andrew's made this speech to a debate in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) on the Commission's Work Programme in the area of Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship introduced by Vice-President Reding.
"We have heard concerns about the Hungarian Government for the heinous offences of: reducing the age of retirement of judges; and changing the terms of employment of the Data Protection Ombudsman; which are hardly an act of an Enver Hoxha.
"Why is there not similar concern about the banning of political parties in Belgium and the attempted ban on political parties in Germany and the criminalisation of heretical historical judgements in several countries, the most recent example of which is the absurd French legislation making it a criminal offence to say that the killing of Armenians (in 1915) was not genocide, which exactly mirrors the Turkish law that made it an offence to say that it was (genocide). The answer to flawed historical statements is the truth and reasoned argument and not criminal prosecution. "Why was there no EU condemnation of the state-organised violence against demonstrators in Hungary in 2006, who were celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Hungarian uprising. "Reference has been made to 'extremists'. In my view, that word should be used to refer to the Belgian and German politicians who ban and seek to ban other political parties and to politicians from all countries who seek to ban free expression and free academic work. "You mentioned the check on the implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights in member states. The United Kingdom Government and the Polish Government thought, or pretended to think, that 'Protocol 30' had granted them opt-outs from the Charter. Recently, Mr. Duff of AFCO has carried out some research into this question. In particular, he referred to a provisional judgment of an Advocate General, in an asylum case, who had ruled that the Protocol did not prevent the Charter from being fully implemented in those countries. "Did the UK and Polish Governments lie to their peoples and their legislators to secure ratification of the Lisbon Treaty or were those governments assured untruthfully by some authority in the EU that they had opt-outs?"
9th February 2012: During a debate in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) at the European Parliament in Brussels this morning, Andrew Brons MEP made the following contribution regarding an amendment to the European Refugee Fund. "We have heard references to refugees from Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. These are all countries that have recently undergone 'democratisation'. Did the refugees from these countries come to Europe before they became democracies? "In that case, I am sure that they will want to return home so that they can help to build and protect democracy. If they have come since, from what are they fleeing? Democracy? If so, I am not sure that Europe should want to welcome them. "There were also references to refugees from Iraq, although the Rapporteur was careful to say that not all of these were Iraqis, some had come from elsewhere. If they have come from elsewhere, surely we should consider whether they can be returned to 'elsewhere'. "Why are we so insistent on using public money to resettle them in Europe? "With reference to refugees Iraq, we should remember that most of these refugees resulted from the disastrous and murderous war pursued by the United States and the United Kingdom. Perhaps we should ask them to consider very carefully before they embark on yet another disastrous war - this time against Iran - and consider the human cost of such wars in terms of deaths and making people refugees."
9th February 2012: This morning at the European Parliament in Brussels, Andrew Brons made the following speech during a debate concerning proposed legislation on the Rights of Victims of Crime
"The rights of victims of crime is a self-evidently important subject but it requires an understanding of the repercussions of crime on victims in a particular context - in a particular society. There is no reason for this to be a competence of the European Union. Furthermore, an attempt to legislate centrally for victims of crime (throughout Europe) will fail to address the particular needs of victims in particular societies.
"We have heard this morning, I think from the Danish Presidency, that member states need to have the ability to legislate in this area. Member states already have the right to legislate and many have done so very effectively.
"It seems that the driving force for legislators, in this area as elsewhere, is harmonisation of the law for its own sake and concern more for addressing key EU objectives such as mobility of persons internationally and the whole range of discriminations, rather than for the victims of crime.
"There is a part sentence in the fourth paragraph of page 63 of the English version (of the report) that is particularly revealing: "recognition of violence against women as a form of discrimination, which has to be recognised and combated".
"This seems to be saying that it is the discriminatory nature of the violence that makes it serious, rather than the violence itself.
2nd February 2012: On yesterday morning morning Andrew Brons MEP and his advisers attended a Conference in the European Parliament that was addressed by Henk van de Graaf, the Vice President of Transvaal Farmers' Union.
This is Andrew's report of the meeting:
"Mr. van de Graaf gave a horrifying account of planned and politically-motivated and racially-motivated attacks on Afrikaners' farms and on the Afrikaners and their families. He gave a vivid and heart-rending account of a farmer, his wife and three year old daughter being tortured to death.
The political motivation of the attacks could not be doubted. An Africa National Congress (ANC) youth leader had popularised the slogans: 'Kill a Boer; Kill a Farmer and One Boer, One Bullet'. Furthermore, during the World Cup in South Africa (when the South African Government was concerned about its image), the killings stopped miraculously but temporarily.
The number of white farmers had halved and the proportion of land owned by Whites had fallen from 50% to 33%. However, the land handed over to the Black population had been neglected and produced little food. The irony is that South Africa had been producing a large food surplus but food production had fallen so much that it was now barely self-sufficient.
When farmers had reported attempted attacks, the police had refused to take any action saying that they had no fuel for their vehicles.
The response of the world media was not dissimilar, although they did not quite plead that they had no ink for their printing presses. It would have more accurate to say that they had no ears capable of hearing accounts of atrocities against Whites and no fingers that could be motivated to type the true story of Post-Apartheid South Africa into their PCs.
Of course, journalists do not think, listen and write in a void. They reflect the limitations of the Political Class of which they are a part. A report, on Emerging Economies, issued in the European Parliament only this week* refers to South Africa as follows:
"South Africa given its record of successful and peaceful transition to democracy and good governance, fostering regional economic integration and supporting national reconciliation across Africa......"
A capacity for self-delusion is not yet compulsory for MEPs but it helps."
*A Report on the EU Foreign Policy towards the BRICS and other emerging powers: objectives and strategies. Rapporteur: Jacek Saryusz-Wolski
25th January 2012: Andrew Brons made his fourth speech of the day during a debate in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) on a Common Asylum Policy. The British National Party MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber said:
"Electors might ask why an asylum policy needs to be common. "One motivation is to prevent governments from being lobbied successfully by their populations to stem the flow of those who claim asylum, often dishonestly. "It gives governments of member states the opportunity to throw up their arms, in mock despair, deny responsibility and then blame somebody or something else - in this case the European Union. "I should be the last person to rush to the defence of the EU. However, blaming the EU is to blame a body that has no clear responsibility (in the sense of accountability and removal) to the populations of Europe. "The European Parliament does have a theoretical responsibility but it is only one institution among many and electors often do not know which MEPs voted for which measure. Perhaps we should remind them in 2014."
25th January 2012: In his third speech of the morning at the European Parliament in Brussels, Andrew Brons made this contribution to a debate in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) on proposed changes to the Common Visa Policy*
The report makes some grudging but valuable admissions:
"Common visa policy (why does a visa policy have to be common?) has a key role as an instrument for controlling irregular (by which he means illegal) imigration".
and . . . "It has become clear that a significant number of third country citizens have taken advantage of visa waiver to apply for international protection (asylum) with little justification".
It deals with the mechanism for suspending visa waiver but suggests that the mechanism should only initiate an assessment process and should come into operation only after a substantial increase in illegal immigration has been revealed. Why the delay? To make sure that we bring in as many illegal immigrants as possible before anything is done to prevent it? The report says that it would be contradictory to regard visas as a necessary instrument for controlling what it calls irregular immigration. I disagree. Visas do not have to be cumbersome, expensive and time-consuming. They can be issued very quickly electronically. They record when a person enters a country and when he leaves it. When I visited my family in Australia during the Summer, I had to get a visa; it took minutes. If I had decided to stay illegally in that country after the expiry of my visa, my failure to leave would have come to the attention of the authorities, which is their right. Visas need to exist for all countries from which there is a substantial tendency or motivation for the population to come to stay in European countries.