June 2011

MEP Eurocampaign for export ban on execution drugs

On Monday (June 6th)Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford will launch together with colleagues from other countries and political groups a new European-level campaign to ban the export from the EU of drugs used for executions.

EU law prohibits EU companies from exporting products intended to be used in executions or torture. But no export check is done on 'dual-use' drugs such as sodium thiopental and pentobarbital. These have a legitimate medicinal use but they have also been used to numb or even kill a person subject to the death penalty.

Corruption is EU elephant in the room

Reacting to the imminent publication today by the European Commission of a number of measures to fight corruption in Europe Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford said:

"Corruption has long been the elephant in the room with much awareness of its presence but too little discussion of what to do about it."

"Serious action to root out both corruption and its twin major threat to the EU organised crime is long overdue. For far too long even the UK failed to visibly tackle bribery."

Sarah questions the President of the European Commission on corruption and the G8 summit

Sarah Ludford (ALDE). - I will stick to the topic. The Commission yesterday adopted a strong package of reports and measures on fighting the corruption that is costing the EU EUR 120 billion per annum - roughly equivalent to the total EU budget - but eight Member States score less than five out of ten on the Transparency International index. The Commission says implementation of anti-corruption instruments is unsatisfactory.

Sarah questions Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom on Schengen

Question by Sarah Ludford MEP:

Subject: Schengen evaluations and the possible suspension mechanism

Access to lawyer to be guaranteed for EU arrests

The European Commission will today propose a new law guaranteeing Europeans arrested anywhere in the EU access to a lawyer as well as the right to let a family member or embassy know of their arrest. This is part of a series of measures on rights of defendants.

Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford takes a special interest in EU-wide fair trial rights is a patron of the NGO Fair Trials International and was 'rapporteur' on the first measure in the series on interpretation & translation rights.

Ahead of publication of the new proposal she said:

Sarah speaks in the European Parliament on the new Hungarian constitution

Sarah Ludford (ALDE). - Madam President it is untenable to say that the constitution of a Member State is a matter only for itself. The Treaties in Articles 6 and 7 make it crystal clear not only that the Union and the Member States share certain values but that the Commission has the duty to police respect for those values.

I wholly subscribe to what my colleague Renate Weber eloquently said: I do think it a bit rich for those of the same political persuasion as the ruling Fidesz party in Hungary to accuse critics of that constitution of being politically inspired. Many of the provisions of this constitution are very partisan such as the omission of protection of gay people from discrimination and the giving of extra votes to mothers.

Sarah speaks to the European Parliament about the European Arrest Warrant

Sarah Ludford author. − Madam President the Liberal Group in the European Parliament has always been supportive of the European Arrest Warrant because of its importance in the fight against serious cross-border crime. However simultaneously my group has always pointed out that the European Arrest Warrant system would be incomplete without advancing procedural defence rights in Europe. We have constantly criticised the Council for not progressing that agenda on the basis of the Commission's comprehensive proposal.

Hungary's Constitution remains a thorn in side of EU Presidency

ALDE reiterated its serious concerns over the new fundamental law in Hungary during today's debate at the European Parliament. ALDE also expressed worries in relation to the Council and Commission statements. The Council declared that it is not empowered to deal with national constitutions; while the Commission claimed it would only have competence to analyse the compliance of the new Hungarian constitution with EU law when it is implemented in January 2012.

ALDE MEP Sarah Ludford (Liberal Democrat UK) said: "It is untenable to say that the constitution of a Member State is a matter only for itself. The treaties make it crystal clear not only that the EU and Member States share certain values but that the Commission has the duty to police respect for these values."

US should not execute Guantanamo detainee

The European Parliament today approved a resolution proposed by the ALDE group calling on the US authorities to refrain from executing Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri a Saudi Arabian man currently held in Guantánamo Bay and under US custody for 9 years following imprisonment and torture in Poland. He is to be tried by a military commission and if found guilty could be executed.

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