Friday, September 15, 2017

Fundamental Freedoms in jeopardy in Spain



On Tuesday 19 September, the Spanish Congress will vote on a controversial new LGBTI Non-Discrimination and Equality. Although I am against discrimination, this Bill goes so far that fundamental freedoms as the freedom of expression and freedom of religion or belief are in serious jeopardy.  The European Dignity Watch published an  excellent and detailed article that I gladly (with permission of the author Roxana Stanciu) like to share.  The EDW is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation based in Brussels and is active in the protection of human dignity and family.



Monday, September 11, 2017

Brexit: Will the United Kingdom be able to keep it's access to the single market and exit the EU?

About Brexit and EU Strategies

 There are currently a lot of discussions around the topic of Brexit. These debates revolve around what the Treaties stipulate as well as the expected consequences of the Brexit. It is argued by the British government that a compromise on Britain's future access to the single market can be found restricting at the same time the influx of immigrants coming from EU countries citing the agreement that is currently in place with Liechtenstein. 

I would like to share an analysis made by my colleague Lefteris Kaloterakis where we try to answer most of the frequently asked questions. According to Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the current negotiations must be concluded within 2 years (the process officially began on the 29th of March). Of course the European Council (by unanimous vote) can negotiate or prolong the procedure, but the question is if the United Kingdom really has a lot of negotiation space in order to have access to the European single market and to exit the EU. In this article we will also compare the future position of the United Kingdom with other countries as Liechenstein, Norway and Switzerland that have agreements with the EU, have access to the single market without being part of the EU. Furthermore, we will discuss also the Brexit in the light of the proposed strategies for the European Union. See the article  below

Dutch national tv campaign: "Boys and Girls are equal but not the same. Do you let your boy be enough boy?"

In the Netherlands, a new campaign organized by an initiative from the communications and media industry that has been involved in developing awareness campaigns for 40 years and is called SIRE, focuses on the fact that although boys and girls are equal, they are not the same. SIRE is not a governmental organization (as I thought before), but is recognized as the national organization focused on societal issues and has a lot of impact as it broadcast on the national tv channels. The title of the campaign is: "Do you let your boy be enough boy?" 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Historic events to celebrate 50 years reunification of Jerusalem

Hundreds of Christian leaders from 56 countries and Israeli leaders celebrate and pray together for the Peace of Jerusalem at the 1st Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast.

“We are writing a new chapter in the fulfilment of of Isaiah’s prophecies. You are a part of this chapter” (Yehuda Glick, Rabbi and Knesset Member)

Exactly 50 years after the reunification of Jerusalem, between 6-8 June, the Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast as well as other related side events took place in Jerusalem. I had the honor to be involved in these events as one of the Founders of the Movement of the Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast and also on behalf of the ECPM. The events consisted of an opening meeting in the Israeli Parliament (the Knesset), a reception at the residence of the President of Israel, a lunch for Members of (European) Parliament organized by the ECPM in collaboration with the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus (KCAC) and the Israel Allies Foundation (IAF), a concert with (Jewish) Psalms and Christian worship, the Prayer Breakfast and the Closing Dinner. The last day, an excursion was organized to visit a future project in the pioneers’ city of Arad.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

International Call to Promote and Protect Families during the Budapest Family Summit

Between 25-28 May 2017, I had the honor of participating in the Budapest Family Summit that consisted of four important pro – family and pro – life events, as a guest of the Hungarian government. The four events were: the Hungarian Demographic Forum, the World Congress of families, the International Forum of Families and the One Of Us Conference. I had the privilege to speak at the Hungarian Demographic Forum which was organized by the Hungarian Government. I participated in a panel that consisted of members of the (European) Parliament and Government Commissioner Máriusz Révész. It was chaired by Bence Rétvári, Deputy Minister of Human Capacities. In my remarks at the Demographic Forum, I made a reference to the demographic situation for families in Europe today and underlined the need to uphold the traditional definition of marriage, press for the respect of the sovereignty of the family and rethink our economic model. You can find the full text of my speech below.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Council of Europe report protects the freedom of parents to raise their children according to their religious beliefs

On the 27th of April, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted, by 44 votes to 19, a report on the protection of the "The protection of the rights of parents and children belonging to religious minorities". The rapporteur for this report  was ECPM Member Valeriu Ghiletchi (MP, Moldova). The report calls on Council of Europe (CoE) Member States to protect religious freedoms in each country and to respect the right of parents to raise their children according to their religious beliefs.

New Council of Europe report on domestic workers protects pregnant women and their unborn child

Yesterday, on the 30st of May, the Standing Committee of the Council of Europe adopted the resolution on "The employment rights of domestic workers, especially women, in Europe" drafted by Romanian MP Viorel Badea. The PACE’s Standing Committee has called on ember States to guarantee the social protection and labour rights of domestic workers, in particular normal hours of work, periods of daily and weekly rest and annual leave, minimum wage coverage, social security protection, occupational safety and health and decent working conditions. 

This report also calls to protect pregnant women and their unborn child and the pressure to women to terminate their pregnancies. 

Article 4.3. "extend maternity protection and work–family balance to the domestic work sphere, including paid maternity and parental leave, adequate rest periods, time for breastfeeding, childcare facilities and freedom from maternity-based discrimination and ensure that pregnant working women are practically supported during their pregnancies to safeguard their health and well-being and that of their unborn child; and that in no circumstances pregnant working women are put under pressure by their employers to terminate their pregnancy"


We congratulate MP Viorel Badea to put this topic under the attention of the Member States of the Council of Europe 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

We do not want a Down Free Society but a Down Friendly Society

A CALL TO PROTECT THE DIGNITY OF PEOPLE WITH DOWN


On the 21st of March, we celebrated the World Down Syndrome Day at the European Parliament. The activities to honour this day started last week, when the Brussels office of ECPM took part in the Socks' Battle that was organized to draw attention to the rights of people, and especially children with Down syndrome. Yesterday, ECPM-MEP Marek Jurek co-hosted with MEP Miroslav Mikolášik a well - attended conference with the title: "Are we in Europe doing our best for the health of people with trisomy 21?" The Conference was addressed by the President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani as well as MEP Pieter Liese. During this conference, I was invited to tell about the NIPT Test that is a serious threath to the future existence of people with Down Syndrome. I also presented a statement we prepared against the use of prenatal testing techniques that target Down syndrome in collaboration with the World Youth Alliance and based on the petition of the LeJeun Foundation.

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe endorses a PACE report on the Oversexualization of Children

A few days ago, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CoE) (which is the statutory decision making body of the CoE) endorsed a report of its Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) on the oversexualisation of children. It also encouraged its Member States to take concrete steps in protecting children. The rapporteur for this report was ECPM Member Valeriu Ghiletchi (MP, Moldova). His report highlighted the negative consequences of the oversexualisation and objectification of children by the media, marketing campaigns as well as television programmes. Additionally, the recommendations submitted to the Committee of Ministers called for the inclusion of the issue of the oversexualisation of children in their "Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child" (2016-2021). Moreover, it invites the relevant Council of Europe Committees to take more actionWe strongly welcome the endorsement of this report from the Council of Ministers. Now, their recommendations should be actively implemented.