MEPs shocked by violent events in Washington DC; congratulate Joe Biden on confirmation of election victory

US Capitol Hill rioting a warning of the dangers of populism, conspiracy theories and the platforms that spread them, says senior MEP.
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EPP Group leader in the European Parliament, Manfred Weber has led strong MEP condemnation of the violence in Washington where a mob of pro-Trump protestors stormed the US congress building.

After watching the unprecedented scenes, the German member said, “We are shocked by the violent events that have interrupted the transition of power in the United States. It is a warning for all liberal democracies about the dangers of populism, its conspiracy theories and the platforms that spread them.”

Four people died and there were 52 arrests after the large scale attack which was seen as an attempt to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s election victory.

Scores of protestors overwhelmed police, destroyed equipment of TV teams and threatened reporters.

Further MEP comment on the storming of the Capitol came from German Greens MEP Terry Reintke who said, “Democracy is no state that you reach and you are done. Democracy needs constant commitment. And it obliges us to speak up. This should be a reminder for all of us to never forget that. Never, never, never be complacent. Never wait until it is too late.”

She was joined by Portuguese Socialist Isabel Carvalhais who noted, “These are very dangerous times, with clear signs of what can happen to democracy when it allows populism to walk in triumphant parade, as it did four years ago in the USA, through the corridors of democratic institutions.”

"We are shocked by the violent events that have interrupted the transition of power in the United States. It is a warning for all liberal democracies about the dangers of populism, its conspiracy theories and the platforms that spread them” EPP Group leader in the European Parliament, Manfred Weber

Their sentiments were echoed by Austrian EPP Group member Lukas Mandl who commented, “I can hardly imagine riots close to the plenary and offices of colleagues on the Hill occupied by rioters.”

His Romanian colleague Iuliu Winkler linked the US riots to the ongoing rule of law debate in the EU, saying, “The EU is built on and around representative democracy and Europeans love democracy. The results of the US elections must be respected. In the last 24 hours we were reminded once again why such values are so important.”

Dutch deputy Sophia In ‘T Veld also drew the same comparison arguing that, “Democratic institutions are only as strong as our will to defend them. That is why the refusal by the commission to apply fully and immediately the rule of law conditionality to the EU budget is a disgrace.”

Further comment on Thursday came from Dutch EPP member Peter van Dalen who added, “Trump broke his presidential oath: he did not defend the constitution but had it attacked. He should be impeached and replaced by Mike Pence this week. After January 20, Biden has the immensely difficult task to bring the nation together again.”

Ismail Ertug, a German Socialist deputy, also called for the impeachment of Trump, adding, “This crazy guy needs psychological support. May this night be the starting point for sweeping away autocrats and dictators all around the world.”

Despite the rioters’ attempts to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s election victory, Congress later certified him and Kamala Harris as the next president and vice-president of the US.

“Democracy is no state that you reach and you are done. Democracy needs constant commitment. And it obliges us to speak up. This should be a reminder for all of us to never forget that. Never, never, never be complacent. Never wait until it is too late” Terry Reintke MEP

The electoral votes were approved after both the Senate and the House of Representatives rejected objections to the votes in the states of Pennsylvania and Arizona. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he believes no other states’ votes will be challenged.

This is after objections to results from Georgia, Nevada, Michigan, Arizona and Pennsylvania were all rejected.

Slovakian EPP member Vladimír Bilcik, speaking on Joe Biden’s confirmation as president, said, “This is a hopeful sign that truth, facts and democratic institutions are stronger than all conspirers and all conspiracies. Congratulations to the US President-elect and best wishes for a peaceful transition of democratic power.”

Elsewhere, Belgian RE member Guy Verhofstadt also sent his congratulations to Biden following what he called, "the formal, though outdated, validation by Congress.”

He added, “The world counts on his strength and success in rebuilding American society, unity and democracy.”

The Parliament’s S&D Group leader Iratxe García Pérez said, “I am still shocked by the images of the assault on the Capitol yesterday. However, it should come as no surprise. With his irresponsible behaviour, Trump has been feeding anger and promoting conspiracy theories for years.”

“The violence we saw yesterday shows how dangerous extreme-right populism is for democracy and for the rule of law. Too many Republicans gave in to Trump’s abuses and hate rhetoric for too long. When the mainstream right compromises with such populist leaders they become their accomplices.”

“It is time to heal the wounds and unite the country again around the rule of law, freedom and diversity. That's the strength of American democracy. No one can achieve this better than Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.”

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