Plenary opening: Don’t dismember Ukraine, minute’s silence for Rwandan genocide victims

20140414PHT44307_originalThe European Parliament does not recognize Russia’s illegal occupation of the Crimea, and urges it to withdraw its troops from Ukraine’s border in line with international law and principles, said President Schulz, opening the final plenary session of this legislature. He also called a minute’s silence marking the 20th anniversary of Rwanda’s genocide of 800,000 people.

Ukraine

The European Parliament had reiterated its support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in several recent resolutions voted by large majorities, noted Schulz. He praised the Ukraine government’s efforts to overcome divisions and reassert its authority.

He also welcomed the macroeconomic aid for Ukraine announced by the EU Council and noted that the unilateral EU trade preferences voted by Parliament on 3 April would also help boost Ukraine’s economy.

MEPs will attend Ukraine’s elections as observers on 25 May, elections which Mr Schulz hoped would be free and fair, starting a new chapter in Ukraine’s history as a “free, modern and democratic state”.

Rwanda’s genocide

Schulz called a minute’s silence to mark the 20th anniversary of Rwanda’s genocide, in which 800,000 people were murdered in 100 days. As entire families were killed, the international community looked away.

Atrocities against a state’s own people are not that state’s internal affair, and those responsible for systematic human rights violations must be held accountable, he said, urging that international law and the International Criminal Court be strengthened to this end.

Dominique Baudis

Schulz also conveyed Parliament’s condolences to the family and friends of French Ombudsman Dominique Baudis, who died on 10 April. A widely respected fighter for citizens’ rights and equality, he served as an MEP for three legislatures.

Incoming MEPs

Katrin SAKS (S&D, EE), as of 7 April

Outgoing MEPs

Harlem DÉSIR (S&D, FR), as of 8 April

Ivari PADAR (S&D, EE) as of 6 April

Agenda changes

At the EPP group’s request, a debate on the McIntyre report on a hospitable environment for enterprises and an oral question on the “top ten” consultation of SMEs was added to the agenda.

At the Green group’s request, the vote on the Meissner report on coastal management strategies was postponed from 15-17 April.

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Category: A Frontpage, Conflicts, EU, European Parliament, Plenary, Russia, Ukraine

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