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#EuropeanParliament: 'One week in California? This is not a travel agency!' says MEP

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henkelHans-Olaf Henkel, European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) coordinator and shadow rapporteur for the inquiry committee on emission measurements in the automotive sector (EMIS), complained about the mission proposals put forth by his colleagues from other groups.

He said: "The Socialists, Liberals and Greens suggested a trip to California for a week in July, August or September to talk to three organizations, one of which, the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), has an office in Brussels. ICCT will be speaking soon at a witness hearing in the committee. Representatives of the other two institutions, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), can easily be invited to Brussels, instead of sending an entire delegation at taxpayers' expenses to the United States. One week in California? This is not a travel agency!" He strongly rejected the proposal and his position ended up prevailing.

He suggested sticking to the committee's mandate instead. "The point is to identify gaps in the implementation of emission regulations. We need to focus on the role of national and European authorities. That is why I, on behalf of my group, submitted a written question for the next hearing which the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the major European research facility, will attend. In the JRC report from 2013, two years before the Volkswagen emissions scandal, the centre warned EU officials of the dangers of defeat devices. We want to know which officials and institutions they had approached and what the exact reactions were. This needs clarification!" he added.

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ECR Group

Italian MEP Vincenzo Sofo joins the ECR Group

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The European Conservatives and Reformists Group in the European Parliament has decided to take on Italian MEP Vincenzo Sofo as a new member.

Mr Sofo was elected to the European Parliament in 2019. He was one of the three Italian candidates suspended pending the exit of the British Members. On February 1st 2020, Mr Sofo officially took his European Parliament seat. The ECR Group now holds 63 seats in the European Parliament.

After the meeting, ECR Co-Chairman Raffaele Fitto said: “I’d like to welcome Mr Sofo to our Group. He is a trained and competent colleague who has made a political choice consistent with his political path. We are sure that Mr Sofo MEP will be able to make a decisive contribution to the work of our Group, and to our alternative vision of the future of Europe, that is, a community of homelands and nations that cooperate in respect of our different identities and peculiarities.”

ECR Co-Chairman Ryszard Legutko said: “The decision of Mr Sofo shows that our political project, together with the strength of our ideas and our values, is credible and attractive, and from today even stronger and more able to give concrete answers to our citizens in terms of well-being, wealth and security.”

Following the decision, Sofo said: “The European Union is going through one of the most difficult periods in its history, not only from an economic point of view but also from a social and cultural point of view. Surely, it must be profoundly changed to be preserved. Considering the political forces grouped in the European Conservatives and Reformists, they are the ones most able to carry out this task.

“The Conference on the Future of Europe will be a crucial appointment for our Continent and the work that conservative forces will be able to do to correct the mistakes of the European project will be fundamental to straightening its path by strengthening our Nation states and values that have forged its spirit.”

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China

ECR Group displays its support for #HongKong with an exchange of views with pro-democracy activists

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Ahead of this week's debate and votes on the European Parliament's Resolution on the People's Republic of China’s national security law for Hong Kong, the ECR has invited Wong Yik Mo, member of the pro-democracy political party Demosisto and Benedict Rogers, co-founder and Chair of Hong Kong Watch and human rights activist, to remotely take part in the Group Meeting today (17 June) and to exchange views with MEPs.

Both initiators of the exchange of views, Swedish MEP Charlie Weimers, member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Polish MEP Anna Fotyga, ECR Foreign Affairs Coordinator, expressed the Group’s serious concerns about the unilateral introduction of national security legislation as representing a grave assault on Hong Kong’s autonomy, rule of law, and fundamental freedoms.

Ahead of the meeting, MEP Charlie Weimers said: "The meeting will serve as a useful interaction and moment of engagement to shed light on the troubling developments from Hong Kong, and China’s continued and deliberate attempts to renege on its agreement of 'one country, two systems'.

“China has reneged on its agreement of 'one country, two systems’. The EU must stand for the right of the Hong Kong people to self-determination and self-governance, and as long as the pressure exerted on Hong Kong’s institutions remain EU-China relations will suffer. Europe must never kow-tow to the Chinese Communist Party.”

MEP Anna Fotyga added: "Hong Kong's success was built on its freedoms. The ECR is deeply concerned by Beijing’s plan to impose national security legislation on Hong Kong, which is in direct conflict with Article 23 of Hong Kong’s Basic Law and China’s international obligations under the Joint Declaration, a treaty agreed by the UK and China and registered with the United Nations. That's why we stood firmly behind the people of Hong Kong.

“I welcome the joint text of the Parliament’s Resolution we were able to successfully negotiate on Friday. Its adoption will send a clear message as to what the EU should stand for – international law and the people of Hong Kong.”

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Brexit

#Brexit - British Supreme Court ruling is a 'game changer'

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Following the ruling of the Supreme Court that Boris Johnson acted unlawfully in suspending parliament in order to frustrate parliamentary scrutiny of his reckless Brexit strategy, Martin Schirdewan, co-president of GUE/NGL and member of the European Parliament Brexit Steering Group, said: “This is a game-changer. It is hard to see how Boris Johnson can remain as prime minister following this ruling. We will watch with interest what steps the democratic institutions in Britain will take in order to avoid further unlawful actions by the prime minister.”

Martina Anderson, GUE/NGL co-ordinator on Brexit, added: “Looking at this ruling, how can anybody argue that Ireland's best interests are served by continuing to be ruled by a country with a prime minister who acts illegally in order to wilfully damage the peace process in Ireland?”

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