Thursday, February 27, 2014

European Parliament Passes Resolution Condemning US Drone Strikes by Liberty Equality Fraternity and TreesFollow

Earlier today, the European Parliament voted 534 to 49 to condemn US drone strikes that have killed thousands of civilians in Pakistan and Yemen.

Here are passages from the resolution, sponsored by the European Greens with cross-party support:
   "drone strikes by a State on the territory of another State without the consent of the latter constitute a violation of international law and of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of that country"
   "thousands of civilians have reportedly been killed or seriously injured by drone strikes [but] these figures are difficult to estimate, owing to lack of transparency and obstacles to effective investigation"
   "drone strike policies have been documented as causing considerable harm to the daily lives of ordinary civilians in the countries concerned, including deep anxiety and psychological trauma, disruption of economic and social activities and reduced access to education among affected communities."
The resolution further stresses that EU member states should strictly refrain from participating in or facilitating extrajudicial targeted killings, such as by sharing relevant intelligence with the US. Here's how the various European parliamentary groups voted:

ALDE/ADLE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats): 67 FOR out of 67 present

ECR (European Conservatives and Reformists): 31 AGAINST, 1 abstention out of 32 present

EFD (Europe of Freedom and Democracy): 6 FOR, 9 AGAINST, 2 abstentions, out of 17 present

EPP (European People’s Party): 221 FOR out of 221 present

Greens/EFA (Greens-European Free Alliance): 53 FOR out of 53 present

GUE-NGL (European United Left-Nordic Green Left): 23 FOR, 2 AGAINST out of 25 present

NI (Independent): 13 FOR, 7 AGAINST, 6 abstentions out of 26 present

(Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats): 151 FOR, 1 abstention out of 152 present
For those of you not familiar with European politics, here's a short description of the political leanings of each group:

ALDE/ADLE: liberalism/neoliberalism/centrism/pro-Europe (e.g., UK's Lib Dems)
: conservatism and Euroscepticism (e.g., UK's Tories)

EFD: right-wing populism and Euroscepticism (e.g., UK Independence Party)

: Christian democracy, liberal conservatism, and European federalism (e.g., Germany's Christian Democratic Union, France's Union for a Popular Movement)

Greens/EFA: green politics; regionalism as represented by the Basques, Catalans, Scotland's SNP, etc.

: anti-capitalist left, communism, democratic socialism (e.g., France's Left Front, Germany's Die Linke)

S&D: social democracy or the "Third Way" politics that many center-left parties have adopted over the past few decades (e.g., UK's Labour, France's Socialists, Germany's Social Democrats, etc.)


The two leftists who voted against it were the Greek Communists Party's Charalampos Angourakis and the Portuguese Communist Party's InĂªs Cristina Zuber. The sole social democratic abstention was Malta's John Attard-Montalto.

The present MEPs from 14 states voted en bloc for the resolution (no abstentions): Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.

The largest source of opposition came from the UK. Only 22 of the 40 MEPs in attendance voted for the resolution. 15 voted against it, and 3 abstained. 9 out of the 40 Polish MEPs, 6 out of the 20 Dutch MEPs, 5 out of 40 Italian MEPs, and 7 out of the 18 Czech MEPs voted against it. No other countries had opposition greater than one.

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