October 2010

Sarah speaks in the European Parliament about Bosnia and Albania visa liberalisation

Sarah Ludford rapporteur for the opinion of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. −

Mr President I would like to join with Commissioner Malmström in sincerely thanking Tanja Fajon for her committed and patient hard work. I have been a modest member of her team under her leadership over the last eighteen months in what I know she has and I have regarded as an extremely important exercise.

Nick Clegg meets with LibDem MEPs in Brussels

Sarah Ludford with LibDem leader and deputy PM Nick Clegg Fiona Hall MEP Andrew Duff MEP and Bill Newton-Dunn MEP

Sarah Ludford with LibDem leader and deputy PM Nick Clegg Fiona Hall MEP Andrew Duff MEP and Bill Newton-Dunn MEP.

EU governments seal deal on landmark law for language rights in court

EU governments in the Council of Ministers including the UK have adopted the final legal version of a new law giving all criminal suspects in the EU the right from arrest to trial to free interpretation and translation of questioning court proceedings and essential documents.

This is a landmark on the way to truly fair trials for all defendants Europe-wide especially those arrested or extradited abroad and would help correct flaws in the operation of the essential but not always well-implemented European Arrest Warrant. Other needed measures are in the pipeline.

London MEP Sarah Ludford urges visa-free travel for Balkan citizens

The European Parliament has voted by an overwhelming majority to approve a European Commission proposal to grant visa-free travel to the EU's Schengen zone for nationals of Albania and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Most EU states plus 3 non-EU states belong to Schengen but the UK does not since it maintains its own border controls.

The ball is now in the court of the Council of Ministers. A positive decision would mean that nationals of all the Western Balkan countries set on the path towards EU accession would enjoy this visa waiver since those of Serbia Montenegro and Macedonia made quicker progress in fulfilling EU security requirements and got it last year.

Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford said:

EU information-sharing systems failing to deliver

European justice and home affairs ministers meeting today are discussing the delays in the EU's information systems for border checks (the Visa Information System VIS) and police cooperation (the new version of the Schengen Information System SIS II).

The UK is not part of the Visa Information System but will opt in to SIS II - for law enforcement data and purposes not affecting its own border controls - once the system becomes live.

Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford who was the European Parliament's 'rapporteur' on the Visa Information System said:

Commission must pursue France on secret Roma database

Sarah with former ALDE MEPs Viktoria Mohacsi from Hungary and Marco Cappato from Italy campaigning against discriminatory fingerprinting of Roma people including children in Italy.

Sarah with former ALDE MEPs Viktoria Mohacsi from Hungary and Marco Cappato from Italy campaigning against discriminatory fingerprinting of Roma people including chil

Anti-Slavery Day reminder of need for UK opt-in to EU trafficking law

Today (Oct 18th) is the UK's first ever Anti-Slavery Day introduced into law by MPs earlier this year. Its aim is to raise awareness of the thousands of people trafficked into the UK every year to work in the sex trade or as domestic servants or the children brought here and forced to work on cannabis farms or beg on the streets.

Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford said:

"In 1807 British lawmakers made a breakthrough by passing the Slave Trade Act leading to the abolition of slavery in the British empire. But slavery persists today across the world and thousands of people are smuggled across our own borders every year and forced to work as prostitutes beggars or house servants for little or no money."

London MEP calls for MEP 'travelling circus' to be scrapped

Sarah wearing a 'Save time Save money Save CO2' t-shirt in support of the amendment.

Sarah wearing a 'Save time Save money Save CO2' t-shirt in support of the amendment.

Euro-MPs are planning ahead and will today be voting on the European Parliament's 2012 calendar.

Attempt to sabotage Strasbourg reform vote

In a clear sign that they feared they were about to lose a vote for reform led by British MEPs to cut one Strasbourg plenary week from the EP calendar the French and German leaders of the 2 biggest European Parliament groups (centre-right European People's Party and centre-left Socialists & Democrats) have engineered a postponement of the vote.

Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford said:

'What a stitch-up! This was obviously a cosy little deal cooked up in a desperate bid to sabotage reform."

"They are seeking to defend the absurd Strasbourg travelling circus which costs £3 million a week (€4 million) on top of the normal EP running costs."

London's Crossrail, Tube and schools budget winners

Reacting to the Chancellor's announcement of the Comprehensive Spending Review which included the government's commitment to continue to back key London infrastructure projects London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford said:

"The coalition government is rightly determined not to repeat Labour's 13-year mistake of a credit bubble combined with neglect of vital investment."

"The cuts are Labour's legacy; the mess they left of a doubling of the national debt has to be tackled."

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