'Europe must stop harbouring dictators' assets' state MEPs in adopted resolution
Thursday, 2 February 2012
"The EU's hypocritical stance towards the leaders of authoritarian regimes needs to end," declared South West Liberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watson this week as he introduced his report to MEPs in Brussels that calls for a coordinated and consistent EU policy on restrictive measures on the assets of dictators assets held in Europe.
Speaking in the Chamber (see video below), Sir Graham said many dictators, such as those toppled during the Arab Spring, had acquired vast reserves of personal wealth and that much of this was either gained or stored in Europe. This he said "undermines our foreign policies".
To many authoritarian leaders and their acolytes, the EU is an attractive place to invest, buy property, hold bank accounts and enjoy the "freedom to spend their often dubiously acquired wealth", MEPs note in the resolution adopted this week by a show of hands.
Resolution (A7-0007/2012) notes that applying restrictive measures inconsistently, as currently, is not effective and damages the EU’s credibility, and calls on the Member States to ensure that there are "no double standards when deciding on restrictive measures or sanctions and that these are applied regardless of political, economic and security interests".
Under the terms of the resolution, Member States should also declare the names of persons on the sanctions list who hold property or financial assets within their borders and also cooperate with other EU partners in identifying and confiscating those assets.
Moreover, listed leaders and persons or organisations associated with them should be strictly prohibited from owning assets and property in the EU or even travelling in Europe for leisure, the resolution says.
“We publicly denounce their human rights records, while letting them busily stash their money away in our banks, own property within our borders, do business with our companies and holiday in our resorts”, Sir Graham, a member of the Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET), explained.
“Our message has to be loud and clear: the EU will not help you launder your ill-gotten gains”.
Hailing from the truly beautiful South West region of the UK, Andrew now works in Brussels and is a UK passport holder, European citizen, and a twice employee at the European Parliament.
While the EU in its current form is far from perfect, he is nonetheless firmly of the belief that the UK's prosperity and place in the world is best served as a member state and not as an isolated bystander.
Since October 2009, this blog seeks to document the work that our region's MEPs do for us in Brussels. As such, predictably, it rarely features UKIP.