The June plenary session in Strasbourg was a challenge for MEPs. Because of the air traffic regulators` strike in France, more than 1800 flights were cancelled. In addition to that, the French railway unions decided to also strike exactly on these dates. Therefore, the MEPs had to discuss plenary agenda topics wondering if they will successfully reach their homes after the session. It was a great opportunity to once again remember the dream of having a single EP seat in Brussels. (Read more...)
2013 is a special year for in Russia imprisoned Mikhail Khodorkovsky. On June 26 the former businessmen and one of the richest persons in Russia, now a symbol of human rights breaches in this country, will celebrate his 50th anniversary. In autumn Khodorkovsky will also mark another date, a decade spent in prison. Mikhail Khodorkovsky is in custody since the 25th of September 2003. During these ten years he has witnessed three law cases, terrible imprisonment conditions and isolation from the family members.
On Wednesday, a conference on Russian political prisoners organised by the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) was held in the European Parliament in Brussels. Featuring many prominent participants the conference was numerously attended by guests from within and outside of the EP and media. The speakers included the son of Mikhail Khodorkhovsky, Pavel, and his lawyer Vadim Klyuvgant, the leader of the Moscow Helsinki group Ludmilla Alexeeva, the colleague and employee of Sergei Magnitsky, William Browder, a Russian opposition leader Vladimir Kara-Murza. The event was chaired by the ALDE human rights coordinator Leonidas Donskis. (Read more...)
We are writing to express our deep reservations about the on-going discussions with the Russian government on the visa facilitation agreement and the proposal to give Russian officials with the so called `service passports` visa-free entry to the European Union. (Read more...)
Yesterday, the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs voted on the recommendation to the Council on the draft EU Guidelines on the Promotion and Protection of Freedom of Religion or Belief. The rapporteur of this document is a Lithuanian member of the European People`s Party (EPP) Laima Andrikiene and Leonidas Donskis acts as a shadow rapporteur on behalf of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE). (Read more...)
This week, the plenary session in Strasbourg featured the decision on the date of the forthcoming European Parliament elections and included the questions related to the fight on tax evasion, media freedom, pensions, security of crime victims, bank supervision and other matters. Additionally, foreign policy was in focus. The MEPs discussed the situation in the Arab spring countries, Syria, Bangladesh, Burma and the development of EU political and economic relations with these countries. (Read more...)