Speeches

Sarah's speech to Parliament on Schengen border controls

Sarah Ludford (ALDE ). - Mr President, I would say to my domestic coalition partner, Mr Kirkhope, if he were here, that internal border controls do not play a major role in catching major criminals, or even terrorists, and nor would PNR collection on internal EU flights do that. What is needed for that purpose is not populist moves designed to impress voters that irregular migration is being curbed, but strongly cooperative intelligence-led policing.

Sarah's speech to Parliament on the EU-Israel Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of industrial products (ACAA)

Sarah Ludford (ALDE ). – Mr President, I also thank Commissioner De Gucht for his very clear answers, though they only confirmed what we already knew. It is time to get on and vote on this agreement.

Two years of discussion in committee has been a delaying tactic. As Commissioner De Gucht said, the objective of the ACAA is to eliminate barriers to trade by reducing costs and delays. I am rather astonished that many on the Committee on International Trade want to constrain trade and keep up costs. You are doing consumers and patients no favours on choice and price of medicines.

Sarah's speech to Parliament on Israel/Palestine

Sarah Ludford (ALDE ). – Mr President, I would like to congratulate Baroness Ashton for her part in securing the Council conclusions on the Middle East peace process of 14 May because I think they are a good illustration of how strong support for Israel’s security and close engagement with Israel – as well, of course, for the two-state solution – is entirely consistent with outspoken criticism of illegalities and human rights abuses by Israel, such as illegal settlement, forced transfer of Bedouins, home demolitions and so on.

Sarah's speech to Parliament on the fight against homophobia

Sarah Ludford (ALDE ). - Madam President, I was delighted that ILGA has rated the UK as the best country in Europe for respecting the human rights of LGBT people. I cannot claim that all of the credit for this belongs to the coalition government of the last two years, as we are of course building on previous work, Mr Cashman.

Sarah's speech to Parliament on Swiss quotas

Sarah Ludford, author. −Mr President, I fully agree with the remarks of my colleagues from the EPP and S&D, as there is strong cross-party agreement on this matter. I, on behalf of ALDE, strongly regret that the Swiss authorities have decided to re-establish these quantitative restrictions – these quotas – on residence permits for nationals of the A8 Member States a year after the transitional restrictions expired.

Sarah's speech to Parliament on biometric passports

Sarah Ludford, author . − Madam President, I would like to thank Carlos Coelho for initiating this important debate.

Sarah's speech to Parliament on EU accession to the European Convention on Human Rights

Sarah Ludford (ALDE), blue-card question. – Madam President, painful as it is to have family disagreements in public, will Mr Fox recognise that in the briefing distributed yesterday to UK MEPs it was said that the UK Government – and of course that is led by your prime minister Mr Cameron – is fully committed to EU accession to the European Convention on Human Rights?

Sarah's speech to Parliament on Human rights in the world and the European Union's policy on the matter

Sarah Ludford (ALDE ). - Madam President, I am pleased that the rapporteur is backing the amendment that I originally tabled in committee on the need for European accountability for rendition and torture abuses if the EU is to lead in the promotion of human rights in the world. I hope it will get wide support in plenary and that we will also push all EU states to sign and ratify the Convention against Forced Disappearances.

Sarah's speech to Parliament EU-USA agreement on the use and transfer of PNR to the US Department of Homeland Security

Sarah Ludford (ALDE ). - Madam President, I just wanted Commissioner Malmström to know not only how much the ALDE Group appreciates her work, but also that it has persuaded a significant part of the ALDE Group to vote in favour of the agreement.

In particular I find the declaration that she has offered very valuable. Her pledges to be really on the ball about the review and monitoring mechanisms in the agreement, particularly the scope and purpose limitation under Article 4, are of particular relevance. She is aware of Parliament’s concern – which I share – about Articles 4(2)(3)(3) and 4(2)(3)(4). She knows we will be on her tail.

Sarah's speech to Parliament on Diabetes

Sarah Ludford on behalf of the ALDE Group. - Mr President the diabetes time bomb has stopped ticking and has actually exploded so I am delighted that the Danish Presidency - as well as Parliament (where we also have Danish influence) - are supportive of a specific focus on diabetes. The fact that it accounts for 10% of our health care costs is reason enough. While the onset of Type I diabetes in children and teenagers is quite sudden Type 2 diabetes is often not diagnosed until it has been present for some years. This leads to complications such as blindness and kidney and heart disease which are both devastating and expensive and account for a lot of those costs. As the Commissioner noted not all diabetes is preventable and I would specifically mention those 10 to 15% who have Type I.

Sarah's speech to Parliament on Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarah Ludford on behalf of the ALDE Group. - Mr President Ms Pack's report observes that the lack of job perspectives especially among young people is hindering the progress of the country and contributing to social discontent. One of the reasons I was so pleased to push hard in support of Ms Fajon on visa-free travel for Bosnians 18 months ago - with which we succeeded - was to allow travel for study and business in the hope of an economic boost as well as widened horizons.

Sarah's speech to Parliament on Human rights issues

Sarah Ludford on behalf of the ALDE Group . - Mr President there is some good material in this strategy paper. I fully support one principal theme and that is the importance of coherence. This is necessary not only across the range of external policies but also in the form of consistency with our internal record.

The EU cannot argue against torture and disappearance in the war on terror as effectively as is necessary when it has failed to fully clean house on our own collusion in secret prisons and rendition flights.

Sarah's speech to Parliament on pre-trial detention

Sarah Ludford on behalf of the ALDE Group . - Mr President we are told that detention conditions are a national responsibility. It is shocking then that over one third of Member States have not ratified the Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture which establishes a system of inspection visits. We should be ashamed that the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture is having to take an interest.

Sarah's speech to Parliament on the right to information in criminal proceedings

Sarah Ludford on behalf of the ALDE Group . - Mr President I congratulate Ms Sippel as rapporteur for leading us to a successful conclusion and I as always welcome the full support and backing of Vice-President Reding.

It is clear that a person who is arrested or questioned is in a vulnerable position and deserves to know their rights and how to apply them but the quality of information provided is often poor. People often do not understand what rights they have and this ignorance is exacerbated by being a foreigner and not speaking the local language. A particular need given that we know that there is discrimination in granting of bail is to know how to contest pre-trial detention.

Sarah's speech to Parliament on the EU-US Summit

Sarah Ludford on behalf of the ALDE Group. - Madam President I am privileged to serve as vice-Chair of the Delegation for Relations with the US under the strong leadership of Elmar Brok. My own knowledge and expertise is principally in the area of justice human rights and security. Naturally therefore I put a great deal of emphasis on the parts of our resolution which stress the shared transatlantic values of liberty democracy human rights and the rule of law and also the cooperation we are pursuing to guarantee liberty and security.

Sarah speaks to Parliament on the sexual abuse and exploitation of children and child pornography

Sarah Ludford (ALDE ). - Madam President the EU has a good story to tell about its work to protect children. Earlier this year in the strengthened law on trafficking we included a requirement to appoint a guardian for unaccompanied child victims which hopefully will help to stop their disappearance from care back into the clutches of the trafficking gangs.

The new directive will mean child sex abusers and porn merchants would face a greater prospect of life behind bars. MEPs rightly fought for tougher sentences. It is also very important that we successively insisted on the ability to prosecute EU citizens who go abroad as sex tourists. I heard horror stories on this on a visit to Cambodia a few years ago.

Sarah speaks to Parliament on the EU-Australia agreement on the processing and transfer of PNR data

Sarah Ludford on behalf of the ALDE Group . - Madam President I agree with others and particularly the rapporteur Sophie in't Veld that this is a much tighter more focused and stronger agreement than the one in the past. It is a much better agreement because of the role of the European Parliament. I congratulate all those involved in producing an agreement that most of us will be able to vote for despite some weaknesses. But the strengths include those mentioned: a much tighter purpose definition to limit it to terrorism and serious transnational crime the fact that it is 'push' only and that the data protection safeguards on rectification and erasure and redress and also the data security provisions are good with for instance an audit record of all access.

Sarah speaks to the European Parliament on the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to Schengen

Sarah Ludford on behalf of the ALDE Group . - Mr President the EU is based on the rule of law; Romania and Bulgaria have passed the Schengen tests. It is unfair and invidious to allow populist nationalism to move the goalposts. Of course we need stricter tests for Schengen participation. In fact it is a disgrace that Member States which insisted on keeping charge of setting the criteria failed to insert anti-corruption the independence of judges and fighting mafia crime into them. That is what we need to do from now on so new and existing Schengen members are properly evaluated and if necessary sanctioned. But for the time being apply the rules.

Sarah speaks to the European Parliament on body scanners

Sarah Ludford (ALDE ). - Mr President I am glad to say that within the ALDE Group our representatives on the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the Committee on Civil Liberties Justice and Home Affairs are united in our dissatisfaction with the Commission's implementing regulation unlike in the two biggest groups where I seem to see some sort of discordance between their TRAN and LIBE arms. But we are united. I thoroughly agree with what Ms Meissner has said and agree with some other people like Ms Foster for instance from the ECR Group. It does seem to be a major missed opportunity that the Commission has failed to advance best available technology.

Sarah speaks to the European Parliament on prevention and control of Non Communicable Diseases

Sarah Ludford (ALDE ). - Mr President I too am very pleased that we are having this debate and that the Commission will be represented at the UN summit. I would like to pay tribute to the NCD alliance of NGOs which has contributed so much to achieving this result. Like others including the Commissioner I stress how much we need to make prevention the cornerstone of our approach together with research on prevention treatment and also a possible cure.

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