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Verbatim report of proceedings
Wednesday, 31 March 2004 - Strasbourg OJ edition

Fundamental rights in the European Union (2003)

  Turco (NI).(IT) Mr President, I too should like to congratulate Mrs Boumediene-Thiery on the work she has done, which was also very important for the subsequent debate that took place in the Committee on Citizens’ Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs.

I feel I must point something out: for years now this annual report has been getting more and more like a copy of itself. We see persistent infringements, always of the same rights; there is always the same debate, but we never get to the crucial point raised by Mrs Swiebel. Do the Commission and the Council really want respect for fundamental human rights to be a proper policy? We expect a reply to this. Should the reply be, however, that we already have Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union, then you must understand right now that that is a false answer. Even though the conditions for implementing it exist, Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union has never been implemented and never will be in an institutional context in which the European Commission, for obvious reasons, will never have the strength to go against one of the Member States. Therefore, in view of the recurrent infringements denounced in these reports and in the absence of sanctions, it is inevitable that we shall yet again see this picture deteriorate even further next year.

The so-called counter-terrorism initiatives should be added to all this. In recent times, the only practical consequence of all the initiatives taken by the Council, or which the Council would like to take, despite their stated purpose of fighting terrorism, has in fact been to repress citizen’s freedoms.

As regards the only truly useful initiative, that of breathing life into a European intelligence agency, we have read the statements by the Italian Minister for Internal Affairs saying that that is not possible because each national agency is possessive about its own data. If this is how the European Union protects its citizens from the dangers of terrorism, how can it ever have the strength and the ability to protect its own citizens from the infringements committed against them by the Member States themselves?

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