Thursday, December 31, 2015

Personal New Year's Message

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God,the Creator of the ends of the earth.He will not grow tired or weary,and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:28-30)

Dear friends,

2015 is almost over. Therefore I would like to share with you a few thoughts of reflection about the year that has passed and to share a message for the coming year. The year 2015 was a year filled with fear and uncertainty. It ended with those dreadful terrorist attacks in Paris. But also Brussels, the city where I live, was in lock down for a week and automatic rifle carrying soldiers became a common sight on the streets And The New Year Eve’s celebrations are cancelled today.

The large influx of refugees to West European countries was also a source of significant concern. Populistic parties use these concerns  to increase their appeal to their electorate. They spread fear for Muslims in their countries. In the Netherlands there were riots to avoid the establishment of asylum centers in their towns. causing often riots in towns..

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A victory for family values

Slovenian referendum rejects same-sex marriage

Last Sunday, Slovenians rejected a law introducing same-sex marriage with a wide majority. 63% of participants voted no with those approving the bill reaching only 37%. Therefore, the Bill which had been adopted last March will not enter into force. This referendum comes three years after the previous vote, when almost 55 percent of voters opposed giving more rights to same – sex couples.

Friday, December 11, 2015

“The global impact of the Bible”. An exhibition at the European Parliament

An initiative hosted by ECPM MEP Mr Branislav Škripek

Last Monday, I had the honour of attending the opening of the new exhibition on the “Global Impact of the Bible” organised by the French Biblical Alliance with the cooperation of the Belgian Biblical Society. The event was hosted by MEP Branislav Škripak (ECR) who is a member of ECPM with the cooperation of MEP Alojz Peterle (EPP). The organisers were kind enough to ask me to give a short greeting at the opening ceremony.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Interests above Dignity?

The Council of Europe's Health Committee postpones discussion of a Report on Surrogacy

Last Monday, PACE’s Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development decided to postpone a discussion of a draft report on Surrogacy Motherhood, “Human Rights and ethical issues related to surrogacy”. This is good news, because there are many questions bout the position of the rapporteurThe rapporteur, Belgian senator Petra de Sutter[1] openly confirms that she is involved in surrogacy practices in the Belgian hospital where she works[2].

The motion of the resolution asked the rapporteur to actually investigate dangers that surrogacy pose to human dignity, e.g. of the woman carrier as her body and its reproductive function is commercialized. Additionally, the same resolution states that “the practice of surrogacy also disregards the rights and human dignity of the child by effectively turning the baby in question into a product” and that therefore “the Parliamentary Assembly should further examine the issues arising from the practice of surrogacy”[3].  

If you take this into consideration, how can a rapporteur objectively and without bias investigate the practice of surrogacy if she is performing it herself? This fact raises serious suspicions that Dr De Sutter might be in a position of a conflict of interest.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Terror in Paris

ECPM calls for a united front against terrorism

I was shocked when I learned the news of the terrible terrorist attack that befell innocent citizens and visitors of Paris last Friday. My heart is full of sorrow and concern. I pray for the victims, their families and friends as well as for protection for the people in Paris who now live in fear. Right after this terrible tragedy, ECPM made the following statement:

The ECPM is shocked and deeply saddened over the terrorist violence and many victims in Paris. We deeply sympathise with all who lost a beloved one or dear friend. Our prayers are with them. We stand with the people of Paris and the French government who now face an incredible challenge.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Corruption kills. Angered Romanians take to the streets

My thoughts on the recent tragedy in Romania

The recent tragic fire in a Bucharest night club that resulted in the death of 32 people, caused an unprecedented outpouring of anger and resentment that led to the resignation of Romania’s prime minister. What most upsets Romanians is the widespread corruption and the fact that public officials do not often take responsibility for their actions. People wonder that if for simple matters, like the licensing of a business venue, are so many irregularities, what will happen if a serious natural catastrophe occurs? For example, if Bucharest is hit again by an earthquake of similar magnitude to the one that occurred in the 70’s, will the authorities be in a position to deal with the situation? It is common knowledge among people on the street that the licensing system for new buildings has for many decades been very lax.

Monday, June 8, 2015

As written in my previous post,  there are five main reasons to vote AGAINST the Noichl Initiative Report, EU Strategy for Equality between Women and Men post 2015 that you need to keep in mind while voting next Tuesday, 9th June.  Most important arguments are as follows
  1.  48% of the Noichl Report’s paragraphs are in clear contradiction to the EU Principle of Subsidiarity.
  2. 35% of paragraphs are «off topic» with regard to the subject of the report: Strategy on Equality between men and women post 2015.
  3. 17% of paragraphs entail serious risks of restrictions on freedom of speech of the media, freedom of education and freedom in the context of contractual agreements.
  4. Seven Considerations (from S to X) introduce non-scientific based elements, as well as unfounded allegations.

(Source Europe for Family):

(You can find the Noichl report here)

YES for Freedom and Dignity, NO to controversial Noichl Report

This week the European Parliament is going to vote on the EU strategy for equality between women and men post 2015, also known as the Noichl Report, so named after its rapporteur, Maria Noichl (S&D, Germany).

This report, as it has been approved by the FEMM Committee, goes clearly beyond the Treaties and breaches the principle of Subsidiarity. By approving this text, the European Parliament would be asking the European Commission to act in fields where it has no legal authority, such as health policy and family law. We also believe that the use of the word "gender" is not precise enough and is not entirely appropriate when referring to non-discrimination between women and men, which is the exact wording used by the EU Treaties. This does not seem to be the case for the Draft Report, which tends to extend the notions of "gender" beyond the EU legal basis.

In short (according to the Europe for Family organization): this controversial (but, fortunately, legally non-binding) report contains the following issues:

  • 48% of paragraphs are in direct contradiction with the EU Principle of Subsidiarity
  • 35% of paragraphs are “off topic” with regard to the stated subject matter of the report: Strategy on Equality between men and women post 2015.
  • 17% of paragraphs entail serious risks of restrictions on freedom of speech of the media, freedom of education and freedom in the context of contractual agreements.
  • 7 recitals (from S to X) contain unproven pseudo-scientific assertions as well as false allegations.

(Source: Europe for Family)

A strategy for equality between women and men post-2015 should address the future that we want for our children. What is the vision that the Members of the European Parliament want to transmit to the other EU Institutions, to Member States and to all European citizens? Are we sure that LGBT parenting (Cf. §31) and the promotion of medical fertility for all (Cf. §59) are political initiatives in the best interest of the children? Are we sure that the promotion of abortion in Member States (Cf. §52) and in the EU Development policy (Cf. §68) will give us a better future?

Here is what was said by Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe (FAFCE) after the approval of the Panzeri Report, last March. Hoping that the European Parliament will not repeat the same mistake. 

We agree with with their following conclusions:

  • Europe does not need less subsidiarity but more respect for the national legislations.
  • Europe does not need abortions but better support for mothers and improved relationship and sexual education, whilst respecting the national competence on these issues.
  • Children in Europe all need a mother and a father. Their needs should be respected, taking into consideration their best interest. Their needs cannot be neglected in favour of adults’ desires.

We need to reaffirm the principle of subsidiarity and, foremost, to protect human dignity at every stage of life. Sign also the petition:

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

What Roots are under the Grass? Analysis of the Irish Referendum on Gay Marriage

On Friday, the 22nd of May, the Irish citizens will vote in a referendum aimed at amending the Irish Constitution so as to redefine marriage as being between any of two persons, regardless of their sex. The promoters for the redefinition of marriage, are introducing the referendum as a grass root movement. The media mentions that no less than 80% of the Irish citizens will vote in the referendum for such an amendment in the constitution. It is proudly announced that the big majority for a YES vote would mark the first time that same-sex marriage legalization would be legalized by popular vote.  This would also “mark yet another defeat for the Catholic church and the political power it used to wield in Ireland” (trying to unjustly frame marriage as a catholic and not a societal issue)

However, increasing concerns have been raised by the question whether this is a “home-grown phenomenon” or rather a more carefully-orchestrated and massively well-funded assault on the natural family coming from private American funding. This Monday, MEP Marek Jurek, former Speaker of the Polish Parliament , has intervened in the European Parliament’s plenary session to express his concerns on this matter. He emphasized that “free elections are not merely the fair vote count. Free elections, first and foremost, means that electoral campaign must be fair. The same stands–even more so – for referendum”.  

He also sent a letter to the Chair of the European Parliament, Martin Schultz (supported by three members of the ECPM, Beatrix von Storch, Arne Gericke and Branislav Skripek and two other MEPs: Kazimierz Ujazdowski and Edouard Ferrand) showing their concern that “the integrity of the Irish referendum has been seriously compromised” and that “this attitude to democracy is contradictory to core values of the European Union”

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Personal Speech on the Romanian Parliamentarian Conference on Combating Human Trafficking

On the 22nd of April, more than 200 representatives of international and national NGOs, key Romanian politicians came together to discuss about how politicians and civil society could work better together to combat Human Trafficking. This meeting was organized by the European Christian Political Movement, the Romanian Parliamentary Working Group on combating the trafficking of persons, and the European Freedom Network.

H.E. Angel Tîlvăr, Romanian Government Minister for Romanians abroad and coordinator of the Romanian Parliamentary Group on combating trafficking of human beings chaired the morning session and was a keynote speaker. Other Romanian speakers were amongst others: Emil Constantinescu, President of Romania (1996-2000); Daniel Ioniță, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs; Codrin Scutaru and Ioana Cazacu, both State Secretaries for Labor, Family and Social Protection; Paul Nicolae Petrovan, the Prefect of Bucharest, Branislav Škripek MEP; Spiru Bărbuceanu, Direction for the Countering of Organized Criminality, Mariana Petersel, President "Young Generation" Association; Irene Hirzel, ACT212.  Also representatives of important international NGOs from the European Freedom Network shared their messages

Read here my message 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Two controversial reports that overstep the EU competence and threatens human dignity

The European Parliament is about to vote on two reports that contain paragraphs that promote a so-called “right to abortion”. If these paragraphs are adopted, the European Parliament would both express support for abortion on behalf of the EU and overstep the competence of the EU, thereby treading on the principle of subsidiarity. I ask everyone to take action against these two controversial reports to be discussed and voted in the European Parliament next week. 
Source: FAFCE (Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe)

Friday, January 30, 2015

Report on "Tackling intolerance and discrimination in Europe with a special focus on Christians" overwhelmingly adopted in the Council of Europe

Reasonable accommodation for Christians in the work place is needed in Europe.

On the 29th of January, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) accepted with a large majority (67 against 2) the Valeriu Ghiletchi’s resolution  on “Tackling intolerance and discrimination in Europe with a special focus on Christians.” 

The resolution (and it's explanatory report) stresses the intolerance and discrimination on grounds of religion or belief towards minority religious groups in Europe and people belonging to a major religious group. The report states that “Numerous acts of hostility, violence and vandalism have been recorded in recent years against Christians and their places of worship, but these acts are often overlooked by the national authorities.” 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Sign the petition "Stop Tarabella relaunching Estrela!"

Protect LifeWednesday I wrote on my blog about the Tarabella report that will be discussed 20 January in the Women rights and Gender Equality Committee (FEMM) in the European Parliament. Yesterday the Stop Tarabella relaunching Estrela! petition was launched. We invite citizens across Europe who wish to stand up for human dignity and respect for subsidiarity to sign this petition

The Tarabella report is a part of the "Estrela report puzzle" and aims at promoting a "right to abortion" through a European Parliament resolution. Once again EU Citizens need to raise their voices to safeguard the principle of subsidiarity and prevent the newly elected European Parliament from adopting a report that would include a “right to abortion”.

(Source: FAFCE

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

European Parliament : Women’s Rights committee to discuss radical pro-abortion report

The European Parliament’s “Committee on Women’s Rights  and Gender Equality” (FEMM) is back at its favourite occupation: the drafting of legally non-binding “initiative reports” with ultra-radical content which, if adopted, will be touted as representing the will of 500 million EU citizens and as a yardstick for the political action of both the EU and its Member States. This claim is of course ludicrous – on the one hand because those reports are, as already mentioned, not legally binding, and on the other hand because many of the matters they deal with are clearly outside the EU’s competence.
The upcoming FEMM meeting on 20 January will deal with a radical report on” the Progress on equality between women and men in the European Union in 2013”, named the “Tarabella Report”  after Marc Tarabella, the Belgian left-wing MEP who drafted it. Section 14 of the draft contains FEMM’s hundred-and-umpteenth attempt to give the appearance of legitimacy to the sad practice of abortion, which costs hundreds of thousands  of human lives every year in the EU alone, and tens of millions world-wide.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Solidarity gathering reflecting on the terriorist attacks in Paris

We were all shocked today by the terroristic attack in Paris. Two gunmen attacked the offices of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, by killing 12 people including the editor and cartoonists. It was a well-organized attack, the three suspects have not been caught yet at this moment. 

This evening at the Luxembourg Square (in front of the European Parliament) as in other European cities, a solidarity gathering was organized in memory of the victims of the terrorist attack in Paris. The square was filled with hundreds of people from all different backgrounds, religions or beliefs, who stayed in silence to reflect and/or pray.  

With friends from "For the Voiceless" who organized a solidarity events for the victim of terrorism in Iraq and Syria on December 2014, I distributed free candles. This was very much appreciated. 

My most heartful thoughts go to the victims and their families. We must be realistic to the big threat of barbaric religious fundamentalism that are destroying fundamental freedoms, our security, rule of law and democracy. We must not condemn or blame islam for these criminal acts. We must all stand together, regardless of the religious origins and beliefs, in solidarity and protect the dignity of the people.