Sarah's speech to Parliament the European Court of Justice judgement on data retention

Sarah Ludford (ALDE ). - Mr President, the Court judgment is a landmark one for data protection and privacy law in the EU and, undoubtedly, beyond. It sets limits on what is acceptable in the restrictions on liberty in the pursuit of security. We have been debating this for the entire time – the 15 years – that I have been in Parliament, and it has got more complex in an era of online data and communication.


Sarah's Speech to Parliament on the new EU Data Protection Regulation

Sarah Ludford, on behalf of the ALDE Group . – Madam President, I think it is a real achievement for the European Parliament to adopt its position on the regulation before the end of the mandate. This takes us one step closer to securing reform to guarantee one set of substantive privacy rights across Europe. I thank Jan Albrecht, the rapporteur, for his very energetic steering of our work. We had a few battles, but I think that we all stayed friends.

Sarah's speech to Parliament on state surveillance

Sarah Ludford (ALDE ). - Mr President, Mr Kirkhope’s stance against this report shows why the coalition government in London has been unable to do what President Obama has done – to instigate a review of the surveillance practices, legal framework and oversight of the intelligence agencies, and in particular GCHQ. I am therefore delighted that at least the smaller party in the coalition, the Liberal Democrats, is acting.


Sarah's speech to Parliament on the use of armed drones

Sarah Ludford, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – Madam President, there are several worrying aspects of the use of armed drones to kill people – and I stress this resolution is about the use of armed drones.


Firstly, there is the lack of clarity that they are being used in compliance with international law. As Ms Gomes has said, they are banned for extrajudicial killings outside a conflict zone. That is generally illegal under international human rights law and, even in a state of conflict, civilians must not be targeted according to the laws of war.


Sarah's speech to Parliament on reform of the European Arrest Warrant

Sarah Ludford, rapporteur. − Mr President, I believe that the adoption of my report on reform of the European Arrest Warrant will make an invaluable contribution to the European Union’s Area of Freedom, Security and Justice. Like Mr Melo, I would like to thank my shadow rapporteurs very warmly for their tremendous support and good cooperation, leading to a high degree of consensus on what legislative and other changes are necessary in regard to the operation of the EAW.


Sarah's speech to Parliament on the elimination of Female Genital Mutilation

Sarah Ludford (ALDE ). - Madam President, I am very pleased to join this cross-party debate and I am also pleased that we have abandoned the unacceptable old practice of talking about female circumcision. Female genital mutilation much better conveys the full horror of the practice – that it is child abuse, even child torture. The estimates of girls at risk in the UK range from 20 000 to 65 000. This figure comes from recent research.


Sarah's speech to Parliament on the 2013 progress report on Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarah Ludford (ALDE), on behalf of the ALDE Group . – Mr President, I think Commissioner Füle and the rapporteur, Mrs Pack, have fully brought out how our complaints about the fact that Bosnia has hardly moved on in five years are having a real effect in the real economy.


Sarah's speech to Parliament on the EU Justice and Rights & Citizenship Programmes for 2014-2020

Sarah Ludford (ALDE ). - Mr President, EU mutual recognition instruments in criminal justice can only work effectively, efficiently and fairly with common standards that give judges, lawyers and citizens the confidence that fundamental rights are being respected throughout the EU. I therefore strongly regret that we heard a sceptical-verging-on-negative attitude to the justice programme from my British Conservative colleague Timothy Kirkhope. I guess this echoes that of his party colleague, the UK Justice Secretary.


Sarah's speech to Parliament on the alleged transportation and illegal detention of prisoners in European countries by the CIA

Sarah Ludford (ALDE). – Mr President, this resolution does two things: it repeats our decade-long criticism of the US-led extraordinary rendition programme of kidnapping, secret and illegal imprisonment and torture, and European countries’ complicity in that programme. It was in fact ten years ago last month that I organised the first hearing in the European Parliament on Guantánamo – plus ça change .


Sarah’s speech to LibDem conference on Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000

Conference, Julian Huppert and Nick Clegg expended a huge amount of energy last year to block the Communications Data Bill, the Snoopers’ Charter. But the revelations in the Guardian – and let’s hear it for Alan Rusbridger and his colleagues! – suggest that they wasted their breath.


Sarah’s speech to Parliament on right of access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings and right to communicate upon arrest

Sarah Ludford (ALDE). – Mr President, I am very happy about the road map on procedural rights for defendants, not least as I was privileged to be the rapporteur on the first one, the right to interpretation and translation; then of course there was the letter of rights. But this directive is probably even more important than the previous two.


The whole road map needs to be completed to significantly raise the standards of criminal justice EU-wide to go alongside the European arrest warrant and other policing and mutual recognition measures. We are already more than a decade after the EAW, so clearly it is urgent to bolster defence rights.


Sarah's speech to Parliament on the US NSA surveillance programme

Sarah Ludford (ALDE). - Mr President, glad as I am that Parliament is taking this lead in scrutinising spying operations, we cannot do it alone. We need national parliamentarians to probe the activities of their intelligence services, and not be fobbed off by whispers of ‘national security, old chaps, you know’.


As on the question of rendition and torture starting a decade ago, I have a strong sense of déjà vu of challenging a secretive intelligent state. I am proud of the role that I and my ALDE Group played in finally getting the temporary committee of MEPs in 2006, which helped expose the truth, even though the then Labour Government in Britain tried to scare us off – especially me.


Sarah's speech to Parliament on the resolution of the Kurdish issue in Turkey

Sarah Ludford (ALDE ). - Mr President, I fully support the point made by Mrs Oomen-Ruijten about making the progress report available in Turkish. That would have been automatic if Turkish had become an official language, as it should have done in 2004 upon the accession of Cyprus.

Sarah's speech to Parliament on the European Arrest Warrant

Sarah Ludford (ALDE ), blue-card question . – Mr President, I would like to ask the Earl of Dartmouth if he is content to leave Britain and its citizens prey to some of the worst organised major criminals who launder money and smuggle drugs, people and firearms and would smuggle terrorists as well if the UK was not in the European Arrest Warrant.

Sure it needs improving, but people like me have been on the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs for a very long time and have actually worked actively to improve the European Arrest Warrant and institute defence safeguards, whereas he just shouts on the sidelines and would leave Britain open to all the worst criminals and indeed see it become a safe haven for criminals.

Sarah's speech to Parliament on the death penalty and human rights

Sarah Ludford (ALDE ). - Mr President, the award of the Nobel Peace Prize and the Sakharov award today certainly make it necessary for the EU to practise what it preaches.

Sarah's speech to Parliament on the EU Budget

Sarah Ludford (ALDE ). – Mr President, I have just had to sit through a speech of the most breathtaking hypocrisy from the British Labour leader here, Glenis Willmott, displaying all the cynicism, opportunism, and shoddiness which led her Westminster colleagues to team up with Tory Europhobes and undermine David Cameron’s prospects for an acceptable Brussels deal.

Mrs Willmott – I see that she has gone – has a cheek to talk about smashing alliances when her party has sabotaged the chance of rallying round a sensible call for restraint in the EU budget in the form of a freeze.

Sarah's speech to Parliament on possible delays to the start of the operation of Schengen Information System (SIS) II

Sarah Ludford, on behalf of the ALDE Group . – Mr President, oh dear, SIS II has been hit by the curse of large IT projects, especially in the field of home affairs!

We are rather familiar with this in the UK, but another thing we are getting familiar with in the UK is the desire of europhobes – and we might hear from one shortly – to opt out of key EU justice and home affairs measures. What a mistake that would be! I look forward to the UK finally taking part in the Schengen Information System.

Sarah's speech to Parliament on the EU-Israel Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of industrial products (ACAA)

Sarah Ludford (ALDE ). – Mr President, I believe the best speech this afternoon has been by Mr Kasoulides, who cited the Barcelona Process and neighbourhood policy. I fervently believe that the EU’s role in promoting trade as a basis of dialogue and prosperity and its role in keeping its partners to democratic and human rights standards are part of a package, not one set against the other.

Sarah's speech to Parliament on the sugar industry

Sarah Ludford (ALDE ). – Mr President, Vice-President Reding is not the only person present who rarely ventures into agriculture. The 2006 reform promised to guarantee supplies, and has clearly not delivered for traditional cane refiners. The sector is shedding jobs. I would like to say to Mr Dantin that nearly 1 000 jobs are imperilled in my constituency alone, and factories face the risk of closure.

Meanwhile, beet refiners pocketed EUR 5 billion of aid in 2006 – compared to EUR 150 million for cane refiners – and use a cross subsidy to muscle into refining. They are now creaming off profits since the market is oligopolistic rather than competitive.

Sarah's speech to Parliament on extraordinary rendition

Sarah Ludford, rapporteur for the opinion of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. – Mr President, given the EU’s well-publicised commitment to democracy, human rights and the rule of law, the fact of highly credible allegations of complicity and CIA abduction, disappearance, rendition and torture after 9/11 is already bad enough, but the continuing refusal to investigate properly is compounding the original failings. Delays and deliberate obstructions to independent and transparent national inquiries are an affront to liberty and justice. It is a travesty to claim state secrecy in order to perpetuate impunity.


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