THE GREENS/EUROPEAN FREE ALLIANCE IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

PRESS RELEASE
Brussels, 17 December 2001

Parliament allows more time for debating the European arrest warrant - vote postponed

Members of the Green/EFA Group in the European Parliament today welcomed a ruling by the Parliament's President to postpone a plenary vote on the European Arrest Warrant. Thirty-four Euro-MPs from various political groups, signed a procedural protest calling on the European Parliament to deliberate carefully before approving the European Arrest Warrant proposal. Mme Nicole Fontaine ruled that this was sufficient for the proposal to be referred back to Committee. Neil MacCormick and Kathalijne Buitenweg of the Green/EFA Group, spearheaded the campaign to force a debate on the floor of the house.

Sir Neil MacCormick MEP (EFA - Scottish National Party) said:

"There remain important amendments that will insert essential safeguards before the European Arrest warrant is brought into being. I'm glad that parliament has decided to have a debate because I want to argue the case in favour of creating a form of European "habeas corpus". Deferring a final decision till January can only be good."

"If a court can order that a person be detained and sent to trial in another country under a European arrest Warrant, surely that Court must have power to revoke its order if it is turned into an instrument for abuse of rights. No country should tolerate that its Courts become the powerless instruments to facilitate human rights violations in another country.

Kathalijne Buitenweg MEP (Greens, Netherlands) said:

"Many legal experts all over Europe have voiced growing concern about the consequences of the European Arrest Warrant for civil liberties. Therefore it was an important success to have won more time for public debate. The final text arrived only this morning, which has left no time for studying the text carefully.

"We are in favour of the European Arrest Warrant as a meaningful instrument in the fight against crime, but only under strict safeguards to protect civil liberties. Council itself has stated that member states' mutual trust in each other legal standards is not optimal yet. Therefore we insist to have agreed minimal standards on an EU level, before the European Arrest Warrant comes into force."

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For more information: Press Office of the Green/EFA GroupL

Helmut Weixler: mobile phone: +32-475-67 13 40, phone: +32-2-284 46 83 (Bxl), +33-3-8817 4760 (Stb), e-mail: hweixler@europarl.eu.int
Eluned Haf: mobile phone: +32-497-48 02 55, phone: +32-2-284 1665 (Bxl), +33-3-8817 2936 (Stb), e.mail: ehaf@europarl.eu.int
Isabelle Zerrouk: mobile phone: +32-477-31 94 74, phone: +32-2-284 2742 (Bxl), +33-3-8817 4032(Stb), e-mail: izerrouk@europarl.eu.int FAX: +32-2-284 4944 (Brussels), +33-3-88 241 196 (Strasbourg)



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