January 2011

Hungary media law challenges EU 'guardian of human rights' pretentions

A controversial new Hungarian law on the regulation of the media which hands excessive powers to a new national media authority has drawn widespread criticism from the European Commission EU member states including the UK MEPs and the OSCE. It allows large fines to be imposed if media material is deemed offensive or harmful to human dignity and there is fear that this could be a cover for political partisanship.

ALDE Calls on Commission to clarify issue of US Government Wikileaks subpoenas

The ALDE group will examine tomorrow an Oral Question to the Commission on the US subpoenas in relation to Wikileaks and their conformity with EU data protection rules and ask for a debate in plenary on the issue.

Sarah Ludford (Liberal Democrat UK) said: "The US administration could have prevented the Wikileaks scandal through better security measures. It is incredible that diplomatic cables could not only be accessed by a junior employee but downloaded in bulk. It would be advisable for the US administration to concentrate now on tightening their own data security while respecting citizens' fundamental rights including privacy."

Sarah speaks to the European Parliament on the stabilisation of relations with Serbia

Sarah Ludford (ALDE). - Madam President I join those who have praised and welcomed the report by my colleague Jelko Kacin and I thoroughly agree with his remarks that Serbia's future lies in the European Union and that Serbia will become an important player in guaranteeing security and stability in the Western Balkans region.

Sarah speaks to the European Parliament about proposed homophobic legislation in Lithuania

Sarah Ludford on behalf of the ALDE Group. - Madam President I hope very much that Lithuania will learn from the experience in the UK which went through its own agonies of having a law which banned the promotion of homosexuality in schools. David Cameron then Conservative leader and now Prime Minister said 18 months ago that his party was wrong in its support for that 1988 law which was subsequently repealed. Indeed David Cameron predicted that the first openly gay Prime Minister in the UK would be a Tory. We will see but that is what he predicted.

New rights for patients to seek healthcare abroad

Thanks to European Parliament approval new European rules are set to be in force by 2013 to allow people to receive medical treatment in other EU Member States if their home country is unable to provide essential medical care within a reasonable timeframe. They will be able to have the treatment paid for or claim back the money if they pay upfront.

EU should act on homophobic human rights threats

The European Parliament has called in a resolution for the European Commission to examine and challenge proposed legislation in Lithuania which would criminalise with fines the 'promotion' of homosexuality. MEPs have long followed developments in this Baltic country which joined the EU in 2004; it lags way behind in the narrow intolerance of its discourse on sexual orientation despite having to implement EU anti-discrimination laws.


MEP Ludford challenges Thornberry on Labour lords' dirty tricks

Liberal Democrat Euro-MP and former Islington councillor Sarah Ludford who lives in Islington South & Finsbury has written to local Labour MP Emily Thornberry challenging her to disown the Labour members of the House of Lords who are attempting through 'filibustering' to impede the fairer votes referendum planned for May 5th.

Sarah Ludford said:

EU review of Hungary media law canny or cowardly?

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban appearing before the European Parliament to present Hungary's plans for its 6-month presidency of the EU found himself challenged strongly and repeatedly by MEPs about his government's attempt to restrict press freedom in Hungary.

He responded with a mix of populist bluster about this being an attack on Hungary as a country and calling critics mistaken and a - rather contradictory - promise to nonetheless reform the measure if the Commission finds it breaches EU law.

Disappointing London City Airport ruling “makes no sense” says London MEP

The legal challenge by campaign group Fight the Flights to Newham Borough Council's decision to approve an increase in flights at London City Airport to 120000 a year has been rejected by the High Court today.

Fight The Flights' case was that Newham Council failed to take into account the government's policy on climate change and aviation and failed to consult residents in Newham as well as residents and Councils of neighbouring affected boroughs.

MEPs appeal for tolerance and freedom of religion worldwide

The European Parliament in Strasbourg has passed a cross-party resolution condemning recent violence against Christian communities in Egypt Nigeria and Iraq among other countries and seeking to put religious freedoms firmly on the EU agenda especially in EU foreign affairs.

Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford said: