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Debates
Tuesday, 14 February 2006 - Strasbourg OJ edition

The Human Rights and Democracy Clause (debate)
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  Philip Claeys (NI). – (NL) Mr President, I should like to make three observations with regard to the human rights clause.

First of all, it has to be noted that this clause is very rarely invoked: only 12 times since 1995. If we compare this with the number of non-democratic states with which the European Union concludes treaties, the clause must, in most cases, be regarded as redundant for all practical purposes.

My second remark concerns the Member States’ immigration and asylum policies, which the rapporteur wishes to bracket together with the human rights clause. That strikes me as not very realistic and in any case not very desirable, certainly when developing countries would be invited to criticise the reception of their own nationals who apply for asylum in Europe. We should, in fact, make a point of encouraging such states to take back those of their nationals who do not qualify for political asylum over here. Often, though, experience has shown that the exact opposite is true.

Finally, it is undesirable to involve non-governmental organisations in the assessment of the application of the human rights clause with regard to third countries. Such organisations have no democratic legitimacy whatsoever, and should not be given political responsibility of this kind. If anything, Europe should be able to give more account of what happens with taxpayers’ money.

 
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