1. Is the Commission aware of the case of Mr Hörchner, who was extradited by the Netherlands to Poland on the basis of a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) and held there on remand at length under appalling detention conditions(1)? Does the Commission know that this case is still dragging on? He can only recover his bail if he first reports voluntarily to the prison in Poland.
2. How is legal aid arranged within the framework of the European Arrest Warrant? In Mr Hörchner’s case there was no proper legal aid available in Poland. He was assigned someone who was not competent and who seemed to have been assigned because he had visited the Netherlands once and spoke a little Dutch.
3. It must be acknowledged, of course, that the European Arrest Warrant is of great importance in combating serious cross-border crimes. Nevertheless, since the EAW’s introduction, various abuses have surfaced that can really only be dealt with by amending the existing text of the European Arrest Warrant.
The major problems that need to be addressed are:
The use of EAWs in cases of minor offences, without consideration for the psychological impact on the suspect and the financial costs for the judiciary.
The use of a fast-track extradition system, which does not allow for the defence of the suspect to make serious and substantive objection against extradition. There is an absence of minimum standards in such cases.
Extremely long remand periods in some Member States before a trial actually begins and unacceptable detention conditions.
Is the Commission prepared to make a proposal for a review of the European Arrest Warrant in order to address gaps, such as the ones described above?