La Treizième Étoile: 11/10/09 - 18/10/09 Blog Archives
News from the European Union with a focus on the South West UK and Gibraltar region and its MEPs
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Buzek welcomes Ukraine's Yushchenko to Parliament

Thursday, 15 October 2009
President Jerzy Buzek this afternoon welcomed Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko to the European Parliament and urged him to step up his country's political and economic reforms which he says are necessary for Ukraine to deepen its ties with the European Union.

Jerzy Buzek (right) and Viktor Yuschenko by ajburgess, on FlickrBoth leaders spoke about economic reforms and democratic presidential elections as well as on maintenance of gas supplies, which President Buzek called "our common issue, our common threat and challenge".

Both leaders were confident of progress being made on the joint Association Agreement, with Mr Buzek saying "I am sure that a political agreement will be reached in December [2009 - next EU-Ukraine summit], and from the level of the European Parliament we can support such an agreement."

But he stopped short of extending this agreement of even closer cooperation to future full membership focusing instead on the Union's new Eastern Partnership, "a Euronest of inter-parliamentary cooperation" which "we count close cooperation with Ukraine as part of."

Mr Buzek refuted suggestions that Russia's presence was impacting upon relations between the two, saying: "The European Union, as a rule, is independent. The Ukraine is an independent country. So these are relations between two independent countries."

"Not one of our decisions between the Ukraine and the European Union is made against another country, and not against Russia," he said.

'What happened 70 years ago has been made impossible by EU' - Buzek

Wednesday, 14 October 2009
In an opening speech to a conference held in Brussels reflecting on the state of the continent 70 years after the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, President Jerzy Buzek praised the progress achieved by Europe and reiterated that positive dialogue must continue with Russia to ensure it maintains the commitments it signed up to.

Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov signs the German–Soviet non-aggression pact. Behind him are Ribbentrop and Stalin (Photo: on 14 October by Irena Degutienè, Speaker of the Lithuanian Parliament and Gundars Daudze, Chairman of the Latvian Parliament, representing two countries that were directly affected, Mr. Buzek said that "What happened 70 years ago, that large states talked among themselves about the fate of small nations, has [now] been made impossible by the European Union."

The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, signed on 23 August 1939, was a non-aggression pact agreed between Stalin's USSR and Hitler's Germany which also included secret protocols allowing the two countries to invade Poland and divide it, as well as redefining each parties "sphere of influence" in Eastern Europe.

Jerzy BuzekMr Buzek (left), describing his native country, explained that the Pact saw Poland divided in two between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Finland lost 10% of its territory and Eastern and Northern Romania, as well as the three Baltic States, were annexed by the Soviet Union.

"In Poland, some 1.5 million people were deported, of these 760,000 died, many of them children," he said. "When we are looking at these figures, we can imagine the scale of the whole tragic story."

"We live in a different Europe today," he declared. "Today, the essence of the European Union has to be solidarity. More than ever we need to speak with one voice when we talk as the EU to the outside world. This is European Solidarity (...) this is what makes us strong."

Mr Buzek emphasised the importance of continued dialogue with Russia and that the EU's Eastern Partnership (association agreements signed between the EU and Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) is not aimed against any individual country, but aims to bring "further stability and prosperity to the entire region."

"It is our special responsibility," he said, "because we know that without solidarity there is no stability, without stability there is no prosperity, and without prosperity there is no peace."

In April, the European Parliament adopted its resolution on "European Conscience and Totalitarianism", which called for the designation of August 23rd as a Europe-wide Day of Remembrance for the victims of all totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, and called on the European public to "commemorate these victims with dignity and impartiality".

British MEP announces 'tongue-in-cheek' candidature for EU Presidency

The mystery surrounding who will become the first full-time President of the European Council took an unusual turn this week when a European MP declared his candidature.

Chris Davies MEPChris Davies, a British Liberal Democrat MEP for the North-West, revealed to a small gathering of the press at the European Parliament today that he has written to each of Europe’s 27 heads of government to state his claim for the job.

He believes his qualifications for the job are as good as other candidates suggested so far and so is prepared to make himself "available for interview."

Campaigning under the banner "Stop Blair: Yes EU can", Davies took a swipe at former UK Prime Minister saying that he has "never deceived a parliament or been responsible for the illegal invasion of another country."

While admitting his campaign for the presidency was "more or less tongue-in-cheek", he hopes to highlight just how limited the circle of individuals said to be in the running for Europe’s top job is.

"I recognise Tony Blair is a great public speaker, but I don't think he belongs in Brussels," he said, "I think he belongs in The Hague."

Davies believes the best person for the job would be a woman, remarking that "there is nothing written in the Lisbon Treaty to say that anyone cannot be considered for the job.

"We have millions of talented people in Europe, and more than half of them are women, so why is the recruitment net not being cast wider?"

As for his own credentials: "I'm male, I'm middle class, I'm white, I'm in my 50s, I have an Oxbridge education and 30 years of political experience, so I reckon my credentials are as good as any of the other candidates."

He then spoke of his time chairing the Liverpool City Council’s housing committee in the Opposition years of the 1980s, jovially adding "I think after that, managing 27 heads of European states would be a piece of cake."

The President of the European Council post would be created once the last country Czech Republic ratifies the Lisbon Treaty, and although not officially announced as a candidate, Tony Blair is thought to be the front-runner.

Last election:

Click here to see which six MEPs were elected.