La Treizième Étoile: 29/01/12 - 05/02/12 Blog Archives
News from the European Union with a focus on the South West UK and Gibraltar region and its MEPs
My tweets (@SWUKinEU)
'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”.


Spanish foreign minister formally requests Gibraltar sovereignty talks, hours after UK rules them out once more

The Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo Y Marfil has today formally requested the resumption of negotiations on the sovereignty of Gibraltar, in spite of the British’s refusal to do so without the consent of the inhabitants of the Rock.

According to El Mundo, an official note stating the Spanish Government wants “progress in everything related to Gibraltar, which must include dialogue with the UK on issues of sovereignty” was delivered to the British Secretary of State for Europe David Lidington, on a working visit to Madrid, just hours after he had conducted a chat session on Twitter where he reiterated there will be so resumption of negotiations without the consent of Gibraltans.

Amongst his replies to questions posed using the #askMFE hashtag on Twitter, Mr Lidington said:

@jamesneish Yes. The UK will not enter into sovereignty arrangements or negotiations with which Gibraltar is not content #AskMFE 2 days ago via HootSuite · Reply · Retweet · Favorite

@donjosecadalso UK committed to safeguarding Gibraltar’s interests & continuing to work closely with Spain. This is not “zero sum”. #AskMFE 2 days ago via HootSuite · Reply · Retweet · Favorite

@donjosecadalso The UK-Gibraltar relationship is not colonial; it’s modern, mature and reflects the wishes of Gibraltar’s people #AskMFE 2 days ago via HootSuite · Reply · Retweet · Favorite

Gibraltar is one of the main issues that Mr Garcia-Margallo has been determined to address since taking office last December. On January 24 he announced “Esta broma se ha terminado. La política sobre Gibraltar la vamos a cambiar” (Translation: “The joke is over. The policy towards Gibraltar is going to change”) just days after a press conference in Strasbourg where he quipped to British MEP Charles Tannock “Gibraltar, Spanish.

You get the impression this matter will run on and on, much to the annoyance of the British Government and of course the citizens of Gibraltar, whom the Spanish hope won’t have a say in the matter.

Last election:

Click here to see which six MEPs were elected.