October 2011

May should stick to facts on foreign criminal deportation

Commenting on the statement by Home Secretary Theresa May that she will change UK law to stop foreign criminals invoking family claims to keep them in the UK Liberal Democrat European justice and human rights spokeswoman Sarah Ludford MEP said:

"The Home Secretary is perfectly right to point out that unlike the right not to be tortured family life is not an absolute right under the Human Rights Act and the European Convention. So judges can and should balance such claims against the demands of public safety prevention of crime or rights of others."

"But she should not promise what she cannot deliver. Unlike the mythical cat British-born children could have a strong claim not only to stay here but also to have their mother or father stay with them."

Sarah speaks to the European Parliament on body scanners

Sarah Ludford (ALDE ). - Mr President I am glad to say that within the ALDE Group our representatives on the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the Committee on Civil Liberties Justice and Home Affairs are united in our dissatisfaction with the Commission's implementing regulation unlike in the two biggest groups where I seem to see some sort of discordance between their TRAN and LIBE arms. But we are united. I thoroughly agree with what Ms Meissner has said and agree with some other people like Ms Foster for instance from the ECR Group. It does seem to be a major missed opportunity that the Commission has failed to advance best available technology.

Sarah's bulletin: 7th October

Fur flies in Mog-gate as May displays her feline side, digs her kitten heels in, sets the cat among the pigeons and starts catfights during a catflap

It’s been a wonderful week for puns and displays of the skills of tabloid subeditors. But why should they have all the fun? Indeed as an ardent cat-lover I adored every minute. But as a human rights champion, much less so. Hurrah for Ken Clarke, and in saying that I no doubt do my little bit to seal his fate.

World Day against the Death Penalty should spur EU to end killer drug exports

On the 9th annual World Day against the Death Penalty Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford is calling for decisive EU action to ensure that European drugs are never again used in American or other executions.

This comes after the use of a drug produced by a European firm in the recent and controversial execution of Troy Davis. Drugs intended as anaesthetics or treatment of eg epilepsy are being imported by US prisons for lethal injection cocktails after US production ceased.

Sarah Ludford who sponsored a European Parliament 'written declaration' calling for an EU-wide export ban on killer drugs said:

EU Schengen new visa system live

Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford has welcomed tomorrow's launch - at last - of the Visa Information System (VIS). This is a database which will improve the processing of visa applications and biometric data for visits from non-EU nationals to the EU's Schengen zone.

The system due to be have been launched in 2009 is designed to combat visa fraud and tighten external border checks but also to facilitate legitimate travel by obviating unnecessary refusals. It is being rolled out in stages firstly in North Africa region due to the high volume of visa applications that France Italy and Spain receive from there.

Time for an EU Diabetes Strategy

A senior UK Liberal Democrat MEP is calling for urgent development of an EU strategy on diabetes to deal with the epidemic increase of the chronic debilitating disease and to focus spending on prevention and research for a cure as well as on improving treatment. She is today chairing a meeting of the EU Diabetes Working group on national diabetes plans and the road towards an EU strategy.

Currently around 30 million people suffer from (types 1 and 2) diabetes in the EU with figures expected to rise to around 50 million by 2025. In the UK at least 3 million people have the disease and it costs 10% of the NHS budget not least the cost of treating serious complications like the effects on eyes kidneys and circulation.

Faster progress needed for an EU-ready Bosnia

The Commission today issued a progress report on Bosnia and Herzegovina's readiness for the EU accession process. Bosnia has not had a central (state level) government since a general election last year and the EU still has a peacekeeping force there under a UN mandate.

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

"Bosnia's progress continues to be stifled by inter-ethnic disputes impeding essential political and economic reform. Without politicians who can raise their eyes from tactical and nationalist obstruction it will stagnate and even go backwards."

Bulgaria and Romania unfairly disqualified from Schengen League""

Today the European Parliament voted on a resolution urging all Member States to take the decision on enlarging the Schengen area to include Bulgaria and Romania solely on the basis of the Schengen acquis and procedures. The European Parliament gave the green light to Bulgaria and Romania's accession to the Schengen area already on July 2011 - after the Commission concluded their readiness according to the current criteria. However the Council decided to postpone indefinitely its decision over their accession.

Sarah's bulletin: 14th October

Solving the Eurozone debt crisis

Local MEP visits Camden school

Camden Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford today visited St Mary & St Pancras primary school in Somers Town to talk to a group of year three children.

Sarah visited to talk about her life and work as an MEP. She has represented London since 1999.

Commenting on her visit she said:

"It was fantastic to meet the children and tell them a bit more about what I do and how the EU works. St Mary & St Pancras has a wonderful modern building and a happy productive atmosphere that surely owes a great deal to excellent staff. I felt particularly privileged to visit not long after the Queen!