December 2010

Sarah speaks to the European Parliament about visa waiver agreements and asylum in South East Europe

Mr President I agree with Mr Weber of the EPP that EU visa policy is extremely valuable and that technical standards and conditions of visa facilitation and visa waiver must be met.

Letter to the Guardian: Assange case puts European Arrest Warrant in spotlight

The case of Julian Assange has again put the European arrest warrant (EAW) in the spotlight (Report 9 December). The EAW is a valuable and successful EU instrument cutting the delays and red tape that in the past allowed major criminals to party beyond the reach of the law.

But the EAW is restricted to "the purposes of conducting a criminal prosecution" which must mean imminent charge followed by trial. If your reports are correct that the Swedish request for extradition of Assange under an EAW is "to face questioning" or for "interview" this would appear to conflict with the high court case of Asztaslos last February which confirmed that it is not a legitimate purpose for an EAW to be used to conduct an investigation to see whether that person should be prosecuted.

MEPs approve EU trafficking law: no reason for UK to stay out

The European Parliament has approved a new European directive to combat human trafficking. Through more effective EU cooperation and a wider definition of trafficking it aims to hit the cross-border criminal networks guilty of buying selling and exploiting other people.

It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of people are trafficked into or within the EU every year mostly exploited for prostitution but also as slave labour and for begging and stealing human organs.

Since EU governments have also already given the legislation their approval it will now become EU law. The UK which decided not to 'opt in' to this directive when it was first proposed now has a second chance to decide to participate.

Sarah questions Commission President Barroso on extraordinary rendition

Sarah Ludford (ALDE ). - President Barroso you have made various statements including the statement this afternoon about how the EU and its Member States respect fundamental rights and the rule of law but the inquiry on extraordinary rendition of which Mr Coelho was the chair and I was the vice-chair reported prima facie evidence that around a dozen EU and other European countries had colluded in war on terror abuses such as disappearance and torture. Frankly I am afraid you gave a rather waffly answer to Mr Coelho.

Letter to the Independent: Labour yet again tries to woo the LibDems

You report (13 December) that Labour is to woo Liberal Democrats. This is after Ed Miliband promised to eliminate us.

The reasons that this new charm offensive will not work any better than past ones are supplied in too-little-too-late comments by John Denham and Yvette Cooper. Denham says Labour will not be "tribal" and Cooper says the Labour government "should have said very clearly and very strongly" that US policies under Bush such as the Iraq invasion and Guantanamo were wrong.

London MEP Sarah Ludford quizzed by Sixth Formers in 'Question Time' event

L to R: Jon Snow Richard Howitt MEP and Sarah Ludford MEP

Sarah answered questions from 16-18 year olds from across London and the surrounding regions.

London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford has been questioned by 150 Sixth Form students mainly from London in a 'Question Time' style event at Europe House the new joint EU office for the European Commission and European Parliament in the UK.

LibDem MEP Sarah Ludford welcomes ‘Equal Love’ legal bid

The 'Equal Love' campaign will today on the 5th anniversary of civil partnerships launch the legal bid by 4 same-sex and 4 opposite-sex couples to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to overturn the twin bans on gay marriage and heterosexual civil partnerships in the UK.