Dozens of Members of the European Parliament from various political groups from all over Europe in a joint statement on Monday strongly condemned the stepped up campaign by the Iranian regime against the democratic opposition, namely the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, PMOI or MEK that also is called Mojahedin-e-Khalq, specifically the members of the organization who are now resident in Albania.
In a letter to Antonio Tajani, the President of the Parliament, the signatories, including a Vice President of the parliament, underscored that the statement pertains to a meeting organized by Ana Gomes, a pro-Iran Portuguese MEP, against the Iranian opposition at the European Parliament on April 10. They said the news of this meeting has been publicized in several websites affiliated to the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence. One of the speakers has been named as an agent of the Iranian Intelligence and was prevented to enter the British Parliament to speak in a meeting there. They requested proper action to address this issue.
According to the statement signed by more than 30 MEPs “The nationwide protests in Iran earlier this year has shaken the country. Last month some 200 MEPs signed a joint statement in support of the uprising. Top leaders and senior officials of the regime have complained about the role of the main opposition PMOI (or MEK) in the uprising.”
“The ‘Islamic Republic of Iran’ has stepped up its activities against this opposition movement, especially by launching a massive misinformation campaign to demonize the Iranian dissidents who are now residing in Albania,” the statement added.
According to the European lawmakers, “The Iranian regime is indeed furious about the safe transfer of nearly 3000 members of Iranian democratic opposition from Iraq to Albania over a year ago. Many MEPs from different political groups have been actively following and supporting the safe transfer of these refugees out of Iraq where they were under repeated missile and rocket attacks. The European Parliament had adopted several resolutions calling for the safeguarding of their humanitarian rights.”
“Following this relocation, the Iranian regime has focused its attention on their new home in Albania.”
Members of the European Parliament form Belgium, France, U.K., Spain, Austria, Sweden, Poland, Estonia, Ireland, Bulgaria, Hungry, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia signed the statement.
They said “Thus, we were shocked to learn of a meeting to be held on 10 April in the European Parliament titled ‘Mojahedin-E Khalq (MEK) threat in Albania’ with the attendance of several well-known agents and lobbyists of the regime. The news of this meeting has been publicized in several websites affiliated to the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS).”
They pointed out “One of the speakers is a British national named Anne Singleton (Khodabandeh), who according to a report by US Library of Congress has been recruited by MOIS with the sole objective to demonize the MEK. Back in 2011, Singleton made several trips to Iraq to spread misinformation against the Iranian opposition refugees which was used by the Iranian regime to justify its orchestrated violent attacks in Iraq which led to the deaths of many defenseless refugees in Camps Ashraf and Liberty.”
“She has previously been denied entry to United States as well as denied holding similar events in the British Parliament,” the MEPs from various political groups stressed.
The MEPs concluded by saying “We deeply regret that this meeting with such speakers is taking place in our parliament and strongly condemn the Iranian regime’s misinformation campaign against the Iranian democratic opposition.”
The signatories to the letter to President Antonio Tajani are:
Gerard DEPREZ, ALDE, BE
Tunne KELAM, EPP, EE
Pavel TELICKA, Vice President
Jude KIRTON-DARLING, S&D, UK
Heinz K. BECKER, EPP, AT
Lars ADAKTUSSON, EPP, SE
Beatriz BECERRA, ALDE, ES
Louis MICHEL, ALDE, BE
Anthea MCINTYRE, ECR, UK
Anna FOTYGA, ECR, PL
Julie WARD, S&D, UK
Marian HARKIN, ALDE, IE
Eduard KUKAN, EPP, SK
Svetoslav MALINOV, EPP, BG
Richard ASHWORTH, ECR, UK
Emma MCCLARKIN, ECR, UK
Stanislav POLCAK, EPP, CZ
Jim NICHOLSON, ECR, UK
Péter NIEDERMÜLLER, S&D, HU
Jozo RADOŠ, ALDE, HR
Frederique RIES, ALDE, BE
Robert ROCHEFORT, ALDE, FR
Petri SARVAMAA, EPP, FI
Jaromír ŠTETINA, EPP, CZ
Ivan STEFANEC, EPP, SK
Patricija ŠULIN, EPP, SI
Hilde VAUTMANS, ALDE, BE
Jan ZAHRADIL, ECR, CZ
Tomáš ZDECHOVSKÝ, EPP, CZ
Milan ZVER, EPP, SI
Anna ZABORSKA, EPP, SK
Jose BOVE, GREENS, FR
Issuance of green bonds will strengthen the international role of the euro
Eurogroup ministers discussed the international role of the euro (15 February), following the publication of the European Commission's communication of (19 January), ‘The European economic and financial system: fostering strength and resilience’.
President of the Eurogroup, Paschal Donohoe said: “The aim is to reduce our dependence on other currencies, and to strengthen our autonomy in various situations. At the same time, increased international use of our currency also implies potential trade-offs, which we will continue to monitor. During the discussion, ministers emphasized the potential of green bond issuance to enhance the use of the euro by the markets while also contributing to achieving our climate transition objective.”
The Eurogroup has discussed the issue several times in recent years since the December 2018 Euro Summit. Klaus Regling, the managing director of the European Stability Mechanism said that overreliance on the dollar contained risks, giving Latin America and the Asian crisis of the 90s as examples. He also referred obliquely to “more recent episodes” where the dollar’s dominance meant that EU companies could not continue to work with Iran in the face of US sanctions. Regling believes that the international monetary system is slowly moving towards a multi-polar system where three or four currencies will be important, including the dollar, euro and renminbi.
European Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, agreed that the euro’s role could be strengthened through the issuance of green bonds enhancing the use of the euro by the markets while also contributing to achieving our climate objectives of the Next Generation EU funds.
Ministers agreed that broad action to support the international role of the euro, encompassing progress on amongst other things, Economic and Monetary Union, Banking Union and Capital Markets Union were needed to secure the euros international role.
European human rights court backs Germany over Kunduz airstrike case
The ruling by the Strasbourg-based court rejects a complaint by Afghan citizen Abdul Hanan, who lost two sons in the attack, that Germany did not fulfil its obligation to effectively investigate the incident.
In September 2009, the German commander of NATO troops in Kunduz called in a U.S. fighter jet to strike two fuel trucks near the city which NATO believed had been hijacked by Taliban insurgents.
The Afghan government said at the time 99 people, including 30 civilians, were killed. Independent rights groups estimated between 60 and 70 civilians were killed.
The death toll shocked Germans and ultimately forced its defence minister to resign over accusations of covering up the number of civilian casualties in the run-up to Germany’s 2009 election.
Germany’s federal prosecutor general had found that the commander did not incur criminal liability, mainly because he was convinced when he ordered the airstrike that no civilians were present.
For him to be liable under international law, he would have had to be found to have acted with intent to cause excessive civilian casualties.
The European Court of Human Rights considered the effectiveness of Germany’s investigation, including whether it established a justification for lethal use of force. It did not consider the legality of the airstrike.
Of 9,600 NATO troops in Afghanistan, Germany has the second-largest contingent behind the United States.
A 2020 peace agreement between the Taliban and Washington calls for foreign troops to withdraw by May 1, but U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration is reviewing the deal after a deterioration in the security situation in Afghanistan.
Germany is preparing to extend the mandate for its military mission in Afghanistan from March 31 until the end of this year, with troop levels remaining at up to 1,300, according to a draft document seen by Reuters.
Digitalization of EU justice systems: Commission launches public consultation on cross-border judicial co-operation
On 16 February, the European Commission launched a public consultation on the modernization of EU justice systems. The EU aims to support member states in their efforts to adapt their justice systems to the digital age and improve EU cross-border judicial co-operation. Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders (pictured) said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the importance of digitalization, including in the field of justice. Judges and lawyers need digital tools to be able to work together faster and more efficiently.
At the same time, citizens and businesses need online tools for an easier and more transparent access to justice at a lower cost. The Commission strives to push this process forward and support member states in their efforts, including as regards facilitating their cooperation in cross-border judicial procedures by using digital channels.” In December 2020, the Commission adopted a communication outlining the actions and initiatives intended to advance the digitalization of justice systems across the EU.
The public consultation will gather views on the digitalization of EU cross-border civil, commercial and criminal procedures. The results of the public consultation, in which a broad range of groups and individuals can participate and which is available here until 8 May 2021, will feed into an initiative on digitalisation of cross-border judicial cooperation expected at the end of this year as announced in the 2021 Commission's Work Programme.
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