Senior MEPs Praise European Unity at Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony

Speaking in Oslo, where they were attending the Nobel Peace Prize Award Ceremony on Friday 10th of December, the European Parliament Vice-President for Democracy and Human Rights, Mr. Edward McMillan-Scott and Chairwoman Hautala praised the unity shown by the EU nations, all of whom were represented.[:]

“In spite of intense Chinese pressure, the EU held together. The Beijing reaction to the award to Liu Xiaobo makes its own point. All of us should have in mind his imprisonment and that of hundreds of thousands of others in China today”

The MEPs had earlier congratulated the EU Head of Mission in Oslo Mr Janos Herman for his efforts in Norwegian diplomatic circles and said that it was an auspicious start to the EU’s new external foreign policy.

The MEPs also made a call for clarity when head of the new foreign service Catherine Ashton outlines the plans for Human Rights and Democracy in the new External Action Service and the EU’s foreign policy in general, next week [Strasbourg, Wednesday, 15 October].

Ashton will be presenting to the December Plenary Session the outcome of her consultation process on a new EU Human Rights Policy, to MEPs.

“On International Human Rights Day we stress that under the Lisbon Treaty, action on the international scene is to be guided by the principles of democracy, the rule of law, and the universality, inalienability and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms. These principles constitute a common fundamental basis and should be put at the heart of the EU’s actions with third countries and in international fora.

“The European Parliament will not allow the EU to take a step back on its principles and will continue to use its new powers to demand a more efficient and visible EU policy on Human Rights and Democracy.

“We believe that, as a starting point, a strong and effective International Law, Human Rights and Democracy Directorate should be put in place in the EU’s new External Action Service, staffed by experts. We also call for the establishment of an EU Special Representative to give expression to the new policy and the appointment of human rights focal points in EU Delegations.

“The global struggle for human rights is far from over and to have an impact in this arena, more coherent and forceful EU human rights structures need to be put in place.”