Ludford: EU law on legal advice will protect Brits abroad

Baroness Sarah Ludford MEPThe European Parliament has approved the text of a new EU Directive to guarantee all suspects and accused persons the right to have a lawyer so that they are able to defend themselves and have a fair trial wherever they are in the EU.

Although the right of defence for anyone suspected of a crime is widely recognised as a basic element of a fair trial, the conditions under which suspects may consult a lawyer differ among Member States. Continue reading

Ludford: Commissioner’s answers inadequate on PRISM and data protection

Baroness Sarah Ludford MEPAppearing before MEPs, European Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding, responsible for data protection, has failed to confirm that she would positively support the reinsertion in the draft new EU data protection law of an ‘anti-FISA’ clause as called for by MEPs, including ALDE shadow rapporteur Sarah Ludford.

Sarah Ludford wants to ensure that EU customers are shielded from US National Security Agency data-mining authorised by the Patriot Act and the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court, such as the recently revealed ‘PRISM’ programme. But before the draft EU privacy law was published, Viviane Reding and her colleagues caved in to American pressure and dropped a clause that would have ensured no snooping decision by a foreign tribunal would be recognised unless regulated by an international agreement.

Sarah Ludford said: Continue reading

Ludford: Europeans must be protected from Prism snooping

Baroness Sarah Ludford MEPLiberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford, ALDE group shadow rapporteur on the update of EU data protection law, is demanding that an ‘anti-FISA’ clause be reintroduced in the text of the proposed new Regulation.

She wants to ensure that EU customers are shielded from US National Security Agency data-mining authorised by the Patriot Act and the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court, such as the recently revealed ‘PRISM’ programme. Sarah Ludford said:

“MEPs including me have been pushing the European Commission for years about how the EU can safeguard Europeans against these intrusive powers, but we have been given the brush-off.” Continue reading

Bearder/ Ludford: MEPs set to back job creating EU-US trade talks

On Thursday MEPs in Strasbourg are set to adopt their recommendations for the forthcoming EU-US free trade negotiations.

The EU and US together represent about half (47%) of the global economy and 30% of global trade. According to government figures, a free trade agreement between these economic powerhouses could be worth between £4-10bn a year to the UK economy.

South East MEP Catherine Bearder, the Liberal Democrat European spokesperson on trade, commented ahead of tomorrow’s historic vote:

“An EU-US trade deal would open up and increase economic activity on both sides of the Atlantic. Liberal Democrats in the European Parliament and in government in the UK are concentrating our efforts on pushing for a speedy conclusion of negotiations to strengthen the European economy and bring new private sector jobs into the UK.”  Continue reading

Ludford: Eurosceptics crazy to dismiss EU legal ‘scoreboard’

Baroness Sarah Ludford MEPCommenting on the publication of the first EU ‘Justice Scoreboard’ assessing the effectiveness of national legal systems in EU countries in civil and commercial law, Lib Dem European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford said:
“Even for Eurosceptics it’s crazy to rubbish this exercise since they’re still supposedly in favour of EU trade. British firms operating in Europe require predictable, speedy and transparent justice that upholds the rules of the Single Market. Surely even Tories want to make sure contracts are honoured and businesses can invest with confidence in Europe?” Continue reading

Ludford/ Bearder: EU-US trade deal unique opportunity to boost jobs and growth

Liberal Democrat MEPs have welcomed the launch of negotiations over a comprehensive trade deal between the EU and US earlier today.

 Sarah Ludford MEP, Vice-Chair of the European Parliament’s US Delegation, commented:

“The US is the EU’s most important trading partner and a hugely valuable economic partner for Britain. A transatlantic free trade deal will give a great boost to jobs and growth in both EU and the US. With such benefits on offer, this is hardly the time for the UK to exclude itself from EU leadership.” Continue reading

Ludford: ECHR strikes right balance in protection of religious freedoms

Baroness Sarah Ludford MEPToday the European Court of Human Rights has issued a judgment in the case of Nadia Eweida, Shirley Chaplin, Lillian Ladele and Gary McFarlane versus theUnited Kingdom, ruling in favour of the applicant only in the case of Ms Eweida, a British Airways airhostess who was denied the right to wear a cross at work. In the cases of Ms Chaplin, Ms Ladele and Mr McFarlane the court ruled that there had been no violation of human rights.

The applicants are four British nationals who claim that they were discriminated against at work because of their Christian faith and prevented from exercising their right to freedom of religion. LibDem European justice & human rights spokeswoman Sarah Ludford MEP commented: Continue reading

Duff/ Ludford: European patent will boost UK businesses

Andrew Duff MEPLiberal Democrat MEPs have warmly welcomed today’s green light for the long-awaited deal on a unitary European Patent.

The European Parliament has voted to accept a hard-fought compromise package which has taken nearly forty years to negotiate. Two states,SpainandItaly, have declined to take part on the grounds that their languages are not included in the patent filing process.

Andrew Duff MEP, who represents the important cluster of science research in the East of England, commented: Continue reading

Ludford: Ashcroft’s Crimestoppers campaign at risk from Tory europhobes

Baroness Sarah Ludford MEPTory peer and donor Lord Ashcroft, chairman of Crimestoppers, has been warned that his charity’s new campaign to catch the UK’s most serious criminals hiding abroad will be doomed if the UK pulls out of essential European police cooperation measures as demanded by 102 backbench Tory MPs.

Under the new project ‘Operation Zygos’, Crimestoppers is appealing for information from Cypriots and the expat community on the whereabouts of nine individuals wanted under UK-issued European Arrest Warrants for serious crimes committed in the UK, including rape, child sex assault, drug dealing and serious fraud.

However, the success of the campaign is at risk from 102 Conservative MPs who have called on the UK Government to withdraw from European police cooperation measures despite senior former UK police and security chiefs pleading with David Cameron and Nick Clegg that the UK should stay involved in measures like the Euro-warrant.

Commenting, senior Liberal Democrat MEP, Sarah Ludford, the party’s European Justice and Home Affairs spokeswoman, said: Continue reading

Ludford: Assessing European complicity in the CIA rendition programme is overdue

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sarah ludford.jpgFive years from the European Parliament’s report into alleged European  collusion with CIA ‘extraordinary rendition’ (kidnap and secret illegal detention) developed as part of Bush “war on terror”, the Civil Liberties committee voted today on an update report. This addresses the extent to which Member States, Council and Commission have complied with their obligations to carry out full inquiries to ascertain and secure accountability for complicity in human rights abuses

UK Liberal Democrat justice and home affairs spokesperson and the author of the opinion on behalf of the Foreign Affairs committee Sarah Ludford commented: “There has been little progress in national inquiries into rendition allegations and those that have taken place have been far from full and independent. While investigations may only be capable of completion once the US fully cooperates in disclosing information on rendition practices, Member States  must not invoke spurious claims of ‘state secrecy’ to keep transgressions hidden. Continue reading