EU governments accused of 'Bermuda Triangle' approach to law-making

Incoming Latvian EU presidency urged to end national 'blockages' of key legislative proposals.

By James O'Brien

15 Jan 2015

Senior ALDE MEP Sophie in 't Veld has attacked what she described as undeliverable "grand designs" and "blockages" by EU national governments on passing key EU rules and laws.

Speaking earlier this week in response to Latvian prime minister Laimdota Straujuma's presentation to MEPs on Riga's EU council presidency priorities over the next six months, in 't Veld said her political group was generally supportive of Latvia's key priorities, but was opposed yet more "grand designs for the future".

The outspoken Dutch D66 deputy, a vice chair of parliament's 68 strong Liberal grouping, said Europe's capitals needed to "stop talking, just deliver" and accused the EU council of being, "a bit like the Bermuda Triangle, we send in a legislative proposal, and it disappears, never to be heard of anymore."

Speaking in Strasbourg on Wednesday, in 't Veld advised the Latvian prime minister to "stop talking about an investment plan, but quite literally put your money where your mouth is. Don't talk about a digital economy; just adopt the telecoms package and the data protection package."

"[The EU council is] a bit like the Bermuda Triangle, we send in a legislative proposal, and it disappears, never to be heard of anymore." - Sophie in 't Veld

Responding to remarks by Strautjuma on Riga's plan to defend European value, freedom, security and mutual tolerance, in 't Veld said, "[We need to put an end to] lip service to security and law enforcement," and added that she also wanted to see the stalled Europol reform regulation - which would give the EU's law enforcement agency enhanced access to national databases - adopted as well.

Outlining delays to legislative proposals - which she said had been "blocked for years and years" - in 't Veld urged Riga to put the EU's anti-discrimination directive - currently being blocked by Germany - at the top of the Baltic state's agenda during it's six months at the EU's helm.

The anti-discrimination directive was first proposed by the commission in 2008 but is currently being blocked at council level by eight member states, including Germany, that argue discrimination is a national competency.

The Dutch deputy is an outspoken gay rights activist and a vice-president of the parliament's influential and popular lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) intergroup.

Her remarks on the anti-discrimination directive during the presentation of Latvia's priorities follow recent comments by the country's president, Andris Berzins, who said when asked about a planned gay pride event in

Riga during the council presidency said that homosexuality should not be "imposed and advertised".

"If the Latvian Presidency achieves that, it will truly put the European motto into practice: united in diversity", she said.


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