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Thursday, 1 December 2005 - Brussels OJ edition

Developments in Slovakia regarding police forces

  Angelika Beer, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. (DE) Mr President, Commissioner Kovács, my group – the Greens – was in favour of us having this debate today. We take this line because of information received from Slovakia, in particular from the ‘European Confederation of Police’, which has been in our hands since June. It is because we are deeply concerned about something that we do not regard as an internal matter for Slovakia that we urge you to examine these accusations as soon as possible. Making Slovak police subject to military jurisdiction quite self-evidently goes against what has been laid down by the Council of Europe, not to mention police ethics. Treating police and soldiers as one and the same is in breach of the Geneva Convention and the United Nations Convention.

Civilian status for the police is one of the things democracy has achieved in Europe; it is something we have fought for, particularly in the Balkan countries, where police were involved in military actions during the ethnic conflicts. If the reports we have received are to be believed, we have to require the Slovak Government – and the country’s parliament as well – to reverse this misguided decision, which constitutes a reversion to an era and a type of politics that is not compatible with European democratic principles, and to return to the democratic community.

Police officers have a right to demonstrate too! Their freedom to do so is emblematic of the freedom of our society and of democracy. It is for that reason that we ask the Commission to examine these accusations with the minimum possible delay and to state its position on them.

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