April 2011

EU Roma integration strategy must be more than words

The European Commission will today publish a new strategy to better integrate the EU's 10-12 million Roma minority ahead of International Roma Day on Friday 8 April.

Sarah's speech on the EU's response to migration from North Africa

Sarah Ludford (ALDE). - Madam President efficient management coherence solidarity responsibility: these are supposed to be the foundations of an EU common immigration policy. Contrast this with the actual record of the EU over the last decade which deserves a score of about three out of ten. This is not the fault of the Commission which has produced a stream of policies and proposed laws but largely of the Member States. It is time to get off the reactive and chaotic back foot and onto the proactive well-managed front foot. Maybe we could benefit from looking at a country like Canada and especially its policies on legal migration.

Sarah's question to European Commission President Jose Barroso about the EU's disaster response capacity

Sarah Ludford (ALDE). - A year ago in Haiti there was a feeling that the EU was slow off the mark in disaster and humanitarian relief. Are you satisfied by the degree of operational coordination between the EU and Member States in the recent emergencies especially in Japan?

What has happened since the Commission communication of three years ago on reinforcing the Union's disaster response capacity which said that we needed greater coherence and effectiveness for a more integrated EU disaster response capacity?

In particular has recent experience in Japan and a rather different one in North Africa helped to advance Commission thinking on whether we need an EU rapid reaction mechanism for humanitarian disaster and reconstruction aid?

LGBT asylum claims must be handled by trained staff

The European Parliament has made amendments to a proposed new EU law (but one which the UK is not taking part in) on handling claims for asylum.

LibDem European justice & home affairs spokeswoman and MEP for London Sarah Ludford said:

"MEPs have rightly backed a reform of EU asylum law so that officials handling refugee applications would need to be trained in awareness of LGBT issues and instructed to seek expert advice when necessary. This should greatly improve the sensitivity and care with which people seeking recognition as refugees fleeing persecution on grounds of sexual orientation are treated."

If you want to defeat the BNP, vote YES to AV!

Liberal Democrat MEP for London Sarah Ludford will be speaking today at the Liberal Democrat London regional conference.

On Saturday 9 April Sarah Ludford spoke at the London region Liberal Democrat Conference.

Sarah speaking at the Liberal Democrat London regional conference.

Government and Mayor need to get to grips with air pollution

London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford a campaigner for clean air in London has quizzed European environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik on what action the Mayor and the government need to take to clean up London's dangerously polluted air.

EAW for a stolen bike is sledgehammer cracking a nut

The European Commission has today published a report into the implementation of the European Arrest Warrant which has been in place since 2004.

The report urges EU countries to stop using the European Arrest Warrant for petty crimes such as bicycle theft as this is leading to a huge increase in the number of EAWs being issued - currently 1000 a month across the EU.

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

"The European Arrest Warrant has proved a crucially successful tool in combating crime in a border-free Europe. It has allowed prosecutors to quickly extradite terrorists such as the 2005 London would-be bomber as well as suspected drug smugglers and child sex offenders."

Shame on Socialists for failing to show up to vote on Hungarian Constitution

A UK Liberal Democrat MEP has hit out at Socialist colleagues in the Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) after a discussion on highly controversial changes to the Hungarian Constitution that potentially contradict European norms and values failed to get onto the agenda due to a low-turn out of Socialist MEPs.

The Liberal and Democrat Group (ALDE) in the European Parliament previously tried to put the topic on the April plenary agenda in Strasbourg. However the proposal was not supported by the Socialist group on the justification that they preferred a discussion first in the EP justice & civil liberties committee.

Commenting after the committee vote Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford said:

New Hungarian constitution huge leap backwards on gay rights

Hungarian MPs are on Monday expected to approve a new constitution which defines marriage as the union between a man and a woman only and although purporting to reflect the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights omits 'sexual orientation' as a legal grounds of discrimination.

Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford who is an active member of the European Parliament lesbian & gay rights intergroup said:

"Hungary's ruling Fidesz party cannot just have overlooked the need to protect LGBT people from discrimination. This omission is the deliberate result of a retrogade populist agenda."

EU data retention directive needs tightening up

The European Commission will publish on Monday an evaluation of the EU data retention directive which was passed five years ago and obliges telecoms companies and ISPs to keep the details (although not the content) of all e-mails phone calls faxes and text messages sent and received on their networks.

Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford a long-time data protection campaigner said: