Strasbourg Opening Session: Executions In Taiwan, Victims Of Terrorism, Canadian Visas


In his official statements at the opening of this week’s Strasbourg plenary session, EP President Jerzy Buzek announced Parliament’s support for Czech citizens who must now have visas to enter Canada. He highlighted this coming Friday 11 March as being the seventh European Day for the Victims of Terrorism and expressed deep concern at last week’s execution of five people in Taiwan.

Mr Buzek expressed Parliament’s “full solidarity” with citizens of the Czech Republic, who have been subject since July 2009 to visa requirements imposed on them – but not on citizens of other EU countries – by Canada. A written declaration on the subject (see link below) has now gathered the required number of MEPs’ signatures and is thus adopted as an official position of the European Parliament. It calls on the Commission and Council to put political pressure on Canada to abolish the visa regime and to end “other breaches of visa reciprocity” towards Bulgarian and Romanian citizens.

On March 11 the seventh European Day for Victims of Terrorism will take place. “There is no justification for terrorism”, stressed Mr Buzek as he recalled the events that gave rise to this commemoration: the Madrid bomb attacks on 11 March 2004 in which nearly 200 people died and the London bombings of 7 July 2005 in which over 50 were killed.

The President then criticised the execution of five prisoners in Taiwan on 4 March. Taiwan had introduced a moratorium on the death penalty between 2006 and 2010 and Mr Buzek called on the authorities to reinstate it.

Turning to this week’s agenda, Mr Buzek highlighted the votes on Wednesday on Parliament’s work calendars for 2012 and 2013. He also announced that the House would vote on Tuesday on the report by Francesco Enrico SPERONI (EFD, IT) on the request for waiver of the parliamentary immunity of MEP Elmar Brok (EPP, DE).

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