A general view shows the plenary room of the European Parliament during a voting session in Strasbourg, France, May 20, 2015.

© 2015 REUTERS/Vincent Kessler
(Brussels) – Responses by European political groups to a questionnaire on rights reveals key differences ahead of European Parliament elections on May 23-26, 2019, Human Rights Watch said today.

Human Rights Watch sent the questionnaire covering 11 human rights issues, from rule of law to EU foreign policy, to all six main political groups participating in the election. Five groups responded. To complement the questionnaire, Human Rights Watch has released a series of videos in multiple languages filmed in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and the United Kingdom. The videos aim to highlight the prominent role played by the European Parliament in protecting human rights and call on voters to take this into account when they go to the polls.

“It’s important for voters to know what the key European parties’ views are on the EU’s democratic founding values,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “While there is much agreement on broad principle, the parties’ detailed policies on protecting human rights diverge significantly, and voters should examine them closely.”

Members of the European Parliament are co-legislators of EU law, together with the EU Council, and serve as a watchdog over the EU Commission’s action on key domestic issues and foreign policy. The European Parliament members play a decisive role in shaping the future of the protection of human rights, the rule of law, and fundamental values both inside and outside the EU’s borders.

The Human Rights Watch questionnaire was sent to the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), the European Green Party (EGP), the European People’s Party (EPP), the Party of European Socialists (PES), the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists (ACRE), and the European Left (EL). Human Rights Watch has received responses from ALDE, EGP, EPP, PES, and EL. The chart below summarizes those responses and includes links to the full text sent by each party that replied. 

When You Think European Elections, Think Human Rights!

Human Rights Watch’s staff around the EU have a message: The representatives we all elect to the European Parliament will have an impact on the future of our rights and our communities. When you think elections, think human rights!

The objective of the questionnaire was to seek the views of the main contenders in the elections and allow voters to compare their views through a human rights lens. The questionnaire addressed a range of key human rights issues, including the protection of fundamental freedoms within the EU, discrimination and inequalities, human rights and migration, human rights in the context of counterterrorism, and the EU’s foreign policy.

Human rights principles are enshrined in the EU treaty as its key founding values. In recent years, however, some European leaders have not only shown open contempt for those principles but have pursued policies that seek to hollow out democratic institutions, including the courts, independent media, and civil society, and to undermine the rule of law. The rhetoric of populist extremists also puts in jeopardy the rights of specific groups, including women, LGBT people, religious and ethnic minorities, and refugees and migrants.

“European Parliament leaders and parties should put their attachment to human dignity and the rule of law at the heart of their action,” Williamson said. “That means pushing for the highest human rights standards within the EU’s borders and in foreign policy, as well as acting when member states or EU policies put people’s rights at risk.”

Summary of Responses from European Political Groups

Defending the Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights

1. According to your political group, what tools should the European Union (EU) use to ensure member states adhere to the founding principles of the EU, including respect for human dignity and human rights, democracy, equality, and the rule of law? Do you favour proposals to condition and restrict access to certain EU funding for member states that do not comply with EU standards on the rule of law and human rights?

Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) – (link to full responses)

European Green Party (EGP) – (link to full responses

European Left –  (link to full responses)

European People’s Party (EPP) – (link to full responses)

Party of European Socialists (PES) – (link to full responses)

 

  • “We want a Europe where human rights, the rule of law, and democracy apply equally to all.”
  • Member States should “regularly address rule of law as part of their meeting agendas” and the EU should “use the sanctions already available, such as Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty, and deploy new sanctions such as the withholding of funds from the EU budget.”
  • Proposes a new mechanism to “monitor violations of fundamental rights, civil liberties and the rule of law” in member states on a regular basis.”
  • The Commission should “enforce sanctions in cases of violations and indeed create stronger conditionality between the rule of law and receipt of European funding.”

 

 

  • Supports the mechanism on democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights (DRF Pact) proposed by the European Parliament in October 2016, in which “the assessment is made by a panel of independent experts.”
  • “The Commission should be entitled to strictly monitor the use of Union funding, to ensure that EU spending is fully compliant with Union values.” Where applicable, “Union funding would be directly managed by the European Commission.”
  • Support “a link between the rule of law and fundamental rights, and the annual assessment of the situation in all Member States by a panel of independent experts.”

 

  • “Our goal is to guarantee the fundamental human rights of all people living in Europe, men and women, by universal access to these rights, through public services and social security systems, managed by the public.”
  • “The fundamental rights of citizens must not depend on the markets. They should not be left in the hands of private companies and financial markets.”
  • “The purpose of fundamental human rights is human emancipation, not profit.”
  • “In addition, these rights should be at the heart of public investment, state budgets, local authorities, and contributory systems.”

 

  • “We are unequivocally committed to defend the founding principles of the European Union.”
  • “Currently, the EU has to rely on the infringement proceedings, or Article 7 procedure, in case of a systemic threat to rule of law.”
  • “We need a new and better rule of law mechanism which allows us to act quicker when necessary. We envision a panel of independent experts continuously analyzing Member States’ adherence to the rule of law principle.”
  • ·We also envision that suspending allocation of some EU funds would be in the tool-box.”

 

  • Supports “a strong and comprehensive EU mechanism that will apply to all EU Member States.”
  • Supports the Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights (DRF Pact), which “foresees an annual DRF Report (…) accompanied by country-specific recommendations.”
  • In favour of a mechanism “to protect the financial interests of the EU and its values.” This should be accompanied by an additional “safety net” to “allow for the direct mobilisation of payments to the benefit of the final beneficiaries by the Commission. “The scope shall not be restricted only to "rule of law" (…) but shall encompass the respect of all Copenhagen Criteria and strong and common EU values.

2. Which steps should the EU take collectively to protect journalists against attacks for their work and media pluralism in EU countries?

ALDE (link to full responses)

EGP (link to full responses

EL (link to full responses)

EPP (link to full responses

PES (link to full responses)

 

  • “A free press and well-informed citizens are essential for every democracy. However, the information warfare by third states and populist forces, the use of fake news and geopolitical propaganda poses a grave threat both to democracy and individual freedoms.”
  • “The EU needs to step up its efforts to fight back by exposing disinformation and supporting professional journalism and media literacy.”
  • “ALDE suggested the idea of having a European legislation protecting whistle-blowers and contributed to the objective of upholding democracy and the rule of law by guaranteeing EU citizens’ freedom of expression and information.”

 

 

  • “EU agencies, such as Europol and Eurojust, should play an active role in investigations of crime against journalists linked to their professional activities.”
  • The EU should “support financially and promote a free, independent and diverse communications environment, including media diversity”
  • There should be a clear regulatory framework for broadcasters which is overseen by a body protected against political and commercial interference or pressure.
  • There should be “strong, independent and adequately resourced public service media.”
  • “A ‘European Daphne Caruana Galizia prize for investigative journalism’, (…) has to be awarded annually for outstanding investigative journalism in Europe.”

 

  •  “Press freedom is a constitutive element of democratic society, (…), the basis of our opinion formation, social understanding and public control.
  •  “It has become clear in recent years that freedom of the press has to be established and defended in Europe with renewed emphasis.
  • “Wherever right-wing populists are in power, they dismantle the separation of powers and curtail freedom of expression and the press. Free speech and opinion are the greatest danger for autocrats.”

 

  • “Freedom of the press is fundamental for the functioning of our democracy. We are committed to defend the safety of journalists and freedom of the press.”
  • Member States should “dedicate sufficient police and judicial resources to defend journalists and ensure that those making threats, intimidating journalists, or committing violence against journalists are prosecuted and convicted.”
  • “We must step up cross-border law enforcement cooperation through Europol and Eurojust to support Member States’ police and judicial systems to defend journalists.”

 

  • “The PES continues to fight for media pluralism and media freedom in the EU.”
  • “The deaths of journalists (…) have brought into clear focus the real risks (…) and our need to protect them. Our political family was active in supporting where possible investigations into their murders.”
  • “Next mandate we want to see the scope of [the whistleblower legislation] expanded to ensure journalists acting as whistleblowers are covered and to include social rights.”
  • The PES “will continue to fight dangerous elements like fake news and hate speech” and “defend a media landscape that is pluralistic, credible and non-partisan.
  • “The EU should be equipped to monitor the situation in Member States, and to take action when there is a concentration of power [of media ownership] in the hands of one company or individual.”

3. Which steps should the EU take to protect civil society from legislations that can unduly restrict

their rights, activities and access to funding?

ALDE (link to full responses)

EGP (link to full responses

EL (link to full responses)

EPP (link to full responses

PES (link to full responses)

ALDE merged its responses to questions 1 and 3.

  • ”See our response to question 1.”
  • Supports the “Rights and Values Programme” that should include a “new "Union values strand" referring to democracy, fundamental rights and the rule of law that will fund corresponding actions at local, regional, national and transnational levels.”
  •  In the long term,” additional funding could be earmarked for the civil society organisations from the specific Member States where the Union values are under threat.”

 

  • “Public services and institutions guarantee and expand the rights and freedoms of citizens and form the backbone of democracy.”
  • “Recovering sovereignty of the people in these domains and promoting real cooperation and solidarity amongst the different countries are crucial steps to promote a new social order, fairer and sustainable for the people.”
  • “The EU must protect civil society to ensure that we have vibrant democracies in the EU.”
  •  “The Commission must challenge national legislation when it undermines civil society.”
  • “We can help civil society through funding. Therefore, we strongly support establishing a European Values Instrument as part of the next EU budget to provide sustained funding to civil society.”
  • “It is essential to actively support civil society from legislation that restricts any of these values.”
  • “We want a European fund to support civil society organisations that are protecting the fundamental rights of minority groups and vulnerable people within Member States.”
  • “In the next mandate of the European Parliament, we (…)  defend the idea to create programmes that are clearly related to European values such as the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme, the Europe for Citizens Programme and the Justice Programme.”

TACKLING DISCRIMINATION AND PROMOTING EQUALITY

4. What are your group’s plans to address discrimination against women, promote gender equality

in EU countries and protect women and girls from gender‐based violence

ALDE (link to full responses)

EGP (link to full responses

EL (link to full responses)

EPP (link to full responses

PES (link to full responses)

 

 

  • “Gender equality is a top priority for us. (…) We support the proposal that each country should propose both a woman and a man for European Commissioner candidates.”
  • “Combatting violence against women is a priority for us and we call for all EU Member States to ratify the Istanbul Convention.”
  • “Women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights are human rights, and the Member States of the EU needs to provide all women with accessible, affordable, good-quality sexual and reproductive health care and services.”

 

 

  • The EU Commission should “ensure that gender equality sits high in the political agenda.”
  • “Unblock the gender equality directives” and “demand a new Gender Equality Strategy that sets high and binding gender equality objectives.”
  • Advocate for “an Equal Pay Directive with binding measures“ and “sanctions to eliminate the pension gap.”
  • Press for “mandatory gender-balanced representation” and for “parity in the main EU decision-making bodies.”
  • “Greens/EFA will also call for a legislative act to combat and eliminate gender-based violence,” will “push the EU not only to sign but also to ratify the Istanbul Convention.”

 

  •  “Across Europe, current efforts to prevent violence against women are not effective, while the legal framework addressing Istanbul Convention from 2014 varies from country to country.”
  • The Party of the European Left demand, that all women affected by violence and their children must have a legal right to immediate protection and assistance (…) regardless of income, residence permit, place of origin, health restrictions or disabilities (…) and does not contain any proof duties which additionally burden the women concerned or endanger their safety.”
     

 

  • “As the EPP, we are committed to fighting all forms of discrimination and we believe in equality of opportunities.”
  • “We believe that our anti-discrimination legislation is strong but that we need to step up the implementation and enforcement of existing legislation at the national level.”
  • “Binding legal measures (…) to overcome the gender pay and pension gap;”
  • “Reversal of the burden of proof [on workplace gender discrimination]; gender equality plans and gender audits in the private sector;”
  • Gender audits of fiscal policies in order to eliminate tax-related gender bias;”
  • “Eliminate the so-called ‘‘care and tampon tax’’ by applying a 0% VAT rate to these essential goods.”
  • “Binding legislation to reach gender balance on boards of companies.”
  • “Ratify the Istanbul Convention;”
  • “Legislative act, identifying violence against women and girls as an area of crime.”
  • “Include age-appropriate sexual and relational education, voluntary family planning, access to affordable contraception, and to safe and legal abortion, in the next EU Public Health Strategy.”
     

 

5. What are your group’s plans to address racial discrimination, antisemitism, islamophobia,

attacks and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, disability, hate

speech, racially motivated crimes and attacks, and promote tolerance in the EU?

ALDE (link to full responses)

EGP (link to full responses

EL (link to full responses)

EPP (link to full responses

PES (link to full responses)

 

 

  • “Liberals strongly oppose all forms of racism, division of societies and hatred against human beings.”
  • “Any form of violence against people on these grounds must be prosecuted.”
  • “Backed legislation to eliminate discrimination whether on grounds of gender, ethnicity, religious persuasion, disability or sexual orientation, and to improve integration”
  • “Calls on Council to unblock the Anti-discrimination directive, which would end legal discrimination in access to services on all remaining grounds.”

 

 

  • The Council should “move forward with the 2008 proposal for the new Equality Directive prohibiting discrimination (…) beyond employment.”
  • The Commission should “propose a revision of the Framework Decision on Racism and Xenophobia to cover hate speech and hate crime related to one's religion/belief, age, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.”
  • The EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies should become a proper EU strategy for the Roma inclusion and fighting anti-Gypsyism,
  • The Commission should propose a renewed ambitious LGBTI List of Actions, covering, the recognition and protection of same-sex unions, prohibition of sex 'normalising' surgery and discriminatory requirements for legal gender recognition.

 

  • “Economic empowerment of women through the promotion of policies to encourage a better work/life balance, and of public plans for education and re-education in equality between men and women.”
  • “Expansion of public employment policies is essential, as is the promotion and development of social policies. Compliance with the sense of the Charter of Fundamental Rights (…) and its modification to include the prohibition of discrimination based on gender identity.”

 

  • “We strongly condemn all forms of discrimination, hate speech, and violence.”
  • “Member States [should] enforce existing anti-discrimination legislation and we must challenge demagogues and populist spreading hate, lies, and conspiracies.”
  • “We are a party based on values and we will always speak up and defend freedom, respect for human dignity, democracy, equality, the rule of law, and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minority groups.”

 

  • “Many of our MEP candidates have already signed pledges from civil society organisations fighting against discriminations (ILGA-Europe, Disability forum, Roma Platform, #MeToo EP campaign...).”
  • Defend “the quick and swift adoption of the blocked horizontal anti-discrimination directive outside of work. Some EU texts in this field (…) may need some updates in order to include new grounds of discrimination.”
  • Working to tackle discrimination within the European Parliament and “pushed for stronger sanctions and a better definition of hate speech in the revised European Parliament rules of procedure.”

 

6. What are your political group’s propositions to advance the rights of persons with disabilities?

ALDE (link to full responses)

EGP (link to full responses

EL (link to full responses)

EPP (link to full responses

PES (link to full responses)

 

 

  • ·“We have been the driving force on the proposal for a European Accessibility Act” and pushed for “the implementation of the European Disability Strategy and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)”

 

Supports:

-    “a common definition of disability in line with the UNCRPD,”

-   “European funding promotes deinstitutionalisation and the right to independent living,”

-   “active participation of persons with disabilities and their representative organisations in the development and implementation of legislation and policies,”

-   “reasonable accommodation denial as a ground for discrimination under the Employment Equality Directive.”

 

 

 

  • “See our reply to question 5.”
  • The new European Disability Strategy beyond 2020 should include compulsory requirements regarding accessibility in public spaces, a minimum percentage for employment of persons with disabilities, guarantees of inclusive education, including access to Erasmus +, and particular attention to women and children with disabilities.
  • All persons with disabilities must be empowered to enjoy full rights (…) and participate in society on equal basis to others.
  • “The European Commission and Member States should [fill] gaps in the implementation of the UNCRPD.”
  • “At global level, the EU should ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals are implemented in a way that is inclusive for persons with disabilities.”

 

  • “A paradigm shift is necessary - we advocate anchoring self-determination as the dominant principle in disability policy and supports the self-representation claim.”
  • “Equality of opportunity is to be established and barriers (…) dismantled. The principle of barrier-free accessibility promotes solidary cohesion.”
  • “Good work and income to live on, including for people with disabilities.”

 

  • “We are convinced that we must do more together to strengthen the rights of persons with disabilities.
  • We must roll out the EU Disability Card throughout the European Union to strengthen access to services to people with disabilities.
  • We also demand that the European institutions show leadership in making their websites fully accessible to people with disabilities and that accessibility is always considered when legislation is being prepared, especially with regards to the built environment, public transport, public services, and household appliances.”

 

  • Fight to get Member States to improve the accessibility of built environments for services and the accessibility of transport.”
  • “Prioritise full accessibility of programmes such as Erasmus+, Solidarity Corps and the Youth Employment Initiative for people with disabilities.”
  • The revision of the Regulation on social security coordination should ensure “the portability of rights for persons with long-term care needs.”
  • “We want to ensure people with disabilities can enjoy their rights fully, including the right to an inclusive education, and their right to vote.

 

 

RESPECTING MIGRANTS’ AND REFUGEES’ RIGHTS

7. What migration policy does your political group support that would ensure all migrants and

asylum seekers who reach EU territory are treated humanely and that respects their right to

asylum? Does your political group support a policy to secure responsibility sharing among EU

member states to alleviate the pressure on first countries of arrival? If your party’s migration

policy does not address any of these goals can you explain why and what your political group

supports?

ALDE (link to full responses)

EGP (link to full responses

EL (link to full responses)

EPP (link to full responses

PES (link to full responses)

 

  • “Europe’s policies should ensure that refugees and asylum seekers do not take unnecessary risks with their lives.”
  • “The EU should make migration agreements with safe countries in the Middle East and Africa” that include:
  1. “Financial support for safe countries in hosting refugees;”
  2. “Resettlement of refugees in a safe, humane, and legal way.”
  3. “Return to these safe countries of those migrants for whom, as quick as possible, an effective return decision following due judicial process has entered into force.”
  • “There should be a humane and effective Common European Asylum System with decent reception, responsibility sharing, and efficient procedures in line with EU fundamental rights standards.”
  • Specific attention to “the dealing of LGBTI asylum claims” and for “safeguards for LGBTI asylum seekers, including guidelines related to healthcare.” 
  • “Opposes any re-introduction of permanent internal border controls between Schengen member states.”

 

  •  “Development and implementation of human rights-based EU migration and asylum policies.”

Supports:

  • “guidelines clarifying that humanitarian assistance shall never be criminalised.”
  • an urgent European solution to the current lack of Search and Rescue actors in the Mediterranean;
  • a “reform of the Dublin Regulation in order to ensure solidarity in the EU and appropriate responsibility sharing.”
  • “increased of resettlement and setting up humanitarian visas.”
  • A “reform of the EU legal migration acquis,” for a “comprehensive and coherent immigration code” “providing for visa opportunities for families to be reunited and for work at all skills levels, in order to incentivise migrants to come to the European Union in full respect of visa conditions and avoiding exploitation, abuse and perilous journeys.”

 

  • “Create an economic basis through investment and trade so that, for example, African economies are integrated into the global value chain.”
  • Regrets that “the EU is linking financial aid to the closure of refugee routes and is prepared to make agreements with inhumane regimes such as in Eritrea, Chad and Libya” and the “direction that the FRONTEX border regime has been following.”
  • “Preserving the right to asylum; creating legal opportunities for actually exercising this right; and systematically combating the military, economic, environmental and social causes” of migration.
     
  • “Believes that we must take a collective responsibility over border security and immigration.”
  • Member States should “show solidarity with each other to responsibly address immigration.”
  • “Committed to providing shelter to those who escape persecution, and as we are committed to the rule of law, we must ensure that asylum processes and the rights of asylum seekers are respected.”
  • “With better border protection we want to put an end to the cynical business of human traffickers and ensure border security for the whole of European Union. We must agree on the same rules for asylum, ensure that our system is not abused, and that rejected asylum seekers are returned.”
  • Calls for “greater harmonisation of asylum procedures and (…) genuine solidarity and a fair-sharing of responsibility between Member States.”
  • In favour of “safe and legal migration routes and humanitarian visas.”
  • Supports a “sustainable, unified and effective Common European Asylum System” with a “centralised system for fair allocation of responsibility for all those arriving in the EU who are seeking international protection. This would ensure we treat each asylum seeker as someone seeking asylum in the EU rather than in an individual Member State” and would “alleviate the burden on Member States of first arrival.”
  •  “Need for greater search and rescue capacities for people in distress at sea and on land.”
  • “All attempts to work with third countries (…) must go hand in hand with improving human rights conditions within these countries.”

8. What should the European Parliament do to ensure that EU external migration policy protects

the rights of migrants and asylum seekers, including the right to seek asylum, and does not

expose them to abuse?

ALDE (link to full responses)

EGP (link to full responses

EL (link to full responses)

EPP (link to full responses

PES (link to full responses)

ALDE merged its response to questions 7 and 8. See above.

  •  Europe must prioritize tackling the drivers of forced migration instead of attempting to stop migration flows. The EU must do much more to tackle violent conflicts.”
  • “The EU must stop making development cooperation conditional upon [migration] cooperation,” and stop “cooperating with dictators (…) on fighting irregular migration.”
  •  “Supports the implementation of the [UN] Global Compact on Refugees and the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.”
  • “Shifting the responsibility for refugees unilaterally to countries outside of the EU such as Turkey and Libya is the wrong response to people in need of protection.”

 

  • “Defend migrants’ and refugees’ rights and put an end to the fortress Europe, establishing safe European corridors both for legal migration and receiving asylum seekers.”
  • “Create a real partnership with African countries to help them develop their economies.”
  • “Negotiate similar agreements, as we have with Turkey, on providing assistance to refugees and asylum seekers as close to their homes as possible.”
  • “Continue being among the global leading providers of humanitarian assistance.”
  • “Need for a European approach to resettlement,” “establishment of humanitarian visas at European level in case of a significant stream of refugees.”
  • “Increase safe and legal pathways” and “ensuring that the reform of asylum directives improves access to fair and efficient asylum procedures.”
  • “The list of safe countries of origin should be subject to permanent monitoring.”
  • “In the context of the readmission agreements with third countries, the European Parliament should continue insisting on strong respect of human rights with appropriate safeguards.”
  • “Financial and political support to UN agencies and NGOs and support to the UN Global compacts for migration and refugees.”

RESPECTING RIGHTS WHILE COUNTERING TERRORISM

 

9. What concrete steps should the European Parliament take to ensure that human rights,

including the right to privacy, are protected in the context of the EU directives and other EU

policies to counter and prevent terrorism? What should the Parliament do to ensure that

Directives are subject to oversight and, if necessary, revision if they violate rights when

implemented, especially if poorly transposed into domestic law?

ALDE (link to full responses)

EGP (link to full responses

EL (link to full responses)

EPP (link to full responses)

PES (link to full responses)

 

 

  • “We would prefer to fight crime and terrorism by having adequately funded, well-staffed and best trained police and law enforcement services, rather than automatic surveillance or symbolic policies such as changing privacy laws for the worse.”
  • “Privacy (or any other basic human right) should not be sacrificed or suspended in order to fulfil a temporary and questionable goal.” EU decision—makers should “use the principles of necessity and subsidiarity in making rules that affect our privacy.”

 

 

  • “Police action and mass surveillance (…) did not bring more security to Europeans but damaged their rights.”
  • “argue for ‘targeted surveillance’ which presupposes serious grounds for suspicion, by enhancing human capacities to treat, analyse and react to the intelligence gathered.”
  • support a dedicated EU Commissioner for privacy and data protection in the next European Commission and the use of “infringement procedures.”
  • “The European Parliament should request opinions from the Court of Justice of the EU” on legislation and international agreements. 
  •  “Privacy becomes a commodity on the web. The Party of the European Left counter this with a free and self-determined handling of data.”
  • “Calls for a swift and citizen-friendly implementation of the EU data protection regulation [GDPR], (…) directed towards the protection of privacy rather than its capitalist valuation through the collection and interpretation of personal data.”
  • “We believe that we must strike the right balance between security and privacy (…) with each piece of legislation.”
  • “We must ensure that we do not hamper our efforts to combat terrorism by unduly limiting our law enforcement’s authority to use data or share it cross-border to keep us safe.
  • “At the same time, privacy is a fundamental right and we must defend it.”

 

  • “Our political family has pushed and will keep on pushing for the protection of all fundamental rights, including the protection of privacy and personal data, the presumption of innocence, and the protection of procedural rights in security legislation.”
  • “Would like to see a comprehensive evaluation of current policies to identify (…) whether this has led to any negative consequences for fundamental rights.”

 

ENSURING RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE EU’S FOREIGN POLICY
 

10. What should the European Parliament do to ensure that respect for and promotion of human

rights are at the centre the EU’s bilateral and multilateral relations with third countries,

including trade policy?

ALDE (link to full responses)

EGP (link to full responses)

EL (link to full responses)

EPP (link to full responses

PES (link to full responses)

 

  • “Supports the efforts of the European Commission to negotiate more trade deals, and call on the negotiators to preserve human dignity and human working conditions, sustainability and anti-corruption in future agreements.”
  •  “Global trade from a European perspective must also be fair and sustainable.”

 

 

  • “We will continue to reject bilateral agreements with repressive regimes and EU policies, which fail to consider adequately their impact on human rights.”
  • “Fighting back against the global backlash against human rights, shoring up human rights defenders and democratic voices and defending multilateralism should be a priority for the EU’s global action.”
  • The EU should “adapt its human rights policy to today’s emerging and pressing challenges, notably in relation to climate change, surveillance capitalism, as well as corporate accountability.”
  • call ‘for a Human Rights Impact Assessment” for EU’s trade deals.

 

  • “The collaboration for example with (…) Libyan Coast Guard forces to dodge even more dangerous routes, and the dismantling of national sea rescue operation and harassment of private sea rescue lead to more deaths.”
  • Those who do not die at sea often end up in Libyan torture camps, where they are mistreated or forced to work. This policy of inhumanity must finally be ended.”
  • “Instead of forcing the transit countries in North Africa to more and more foreclosure measures, the EU must open up legal and safe escape routes for people in need.”

 

  • “We are committed to using our economic strength to make a positive change in the world and promote human rights, high product standards, environmental protection, and social rights.”
  • “Our trade policy must continue to not only focus on opening markets to our excellent companies but also on promoting our values, including high social and environmental standards, and respect for human rights.”
  • “We want to have a special focus to target ending child labour through trade agreements.”

 

  • Supports a strengthening of the EU's Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).
  • The PES pledges to focus on the “eradication of child labour, forced labour, human trafficking, corruption and unethical working conditions, and on the promotion of gender equality, non-discrimination and the freedom of association.”
  • Supports “an EU-wide mandatory due diligence system (…) placing human rights and democracy at the centre of its relations with third countries, therefore including human rights conditionality clauses in international trade policy and agreements.”
  • Calls Member States to “strictly observe the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports” and “they should halt all transfers (…) that could be used by governments to crack down on human rights and attack civilians.”

11. Do you support a Global EU Human Rights Sanction Regime against individuals or groups of

individuals responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights

law, including torture, rape, enforced disappearances, and extra‐judiciary killings? How should

the European Parliament further help advance justice and accountability for abuses?

ALDE (link to full responses)

EGP (link to full responses

EL (link to full responses)

EPP (link to full responses

PES (link to full responses)

 

  • “ALDE MEPs led the negotiation of a joint text (…) in which the EP calls on the Council to swiftly establish an autonomous, flexible and reactive EU-wide sanctions regime that would allow the targeting of any individual, state and non-state actors, and other entities responsible for or involved in grave human rights violations.”
  • “Believes the regime should symbolically carry Sergei Magnitsky's name.”

 

  • “Has been leading efforts in the European Parliament in support of a global EU human rights sanctions regime.”
  •  “Strong supporters of the International Criminal Court and of all efforts at domestic and international level to prosecute perpetrators of gross human rights violations, wherever such crimes have been committed.”
  • “The EU should step up its efforts to fight impunity and to support civil society actors engaged in this field.”

 

  • “Yes, we support this proposal. The European Parliament has to become a strong voice against any form of violence, of racism and the right-wing shift in Europe.”

 

  • “Strongly supports a new EU Human Rights Sanction Regime and naming it after Sergei Magnitsky” and believes “that we should move from unanimity decisions to qualified majority voting on imposing sanctions.”

 

  • “Would like to see an autonomous, flexible and reactive EU-wide sanctions regime that would allow us to target any individual, state or non-state actor, or other entity, responsible for or involved in grave human rights violations.”
  • “Member States should ensure (…) full compliance with the Council decisions on restrictive measures against individuals and entities.” The PES is concerned at recent reports of violations of these decisions and calls for “the systematic inclusion of clear and specific benchmarks and a methodology for the lifting of sanctions and for de-listing.”