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Verbatim report of proceedings
Tuesday, 15 January 2008 - Strasbourg OJ edition

Multiannual framework for the Fundamental Rights Agency for 2007-2012 (debate)

  Cem Özdemir, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – (DE) Mr President, we voted for the report in the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. We shall approve it again here, although we subscribe to much of the criticism voiced in the chamber and even by the rapporteur himself. One of my points has already been raised by the rapporteur. Although the Fundamental Rights Agency will continue to address sex discrimination, issues such as homophobia, unfortunately, are not part of its remit. In the light of the debates we have had within Europe and the present state of discussions, it is regrettable that we were unable to arrive at that compromise with the Council and the Commission.

There are other points to be made. We tabled amendments in committee, but unfortunately all of them were rejected. I only intend to refer to a few of these. Discrimination against the Romany people would have been an important problem to address, as would the protection of personal privacy. Data protection would have been another important point. Here in Europe we have attained a certain standard, which we must uphold within the Union for the sake of our credibility. It is, however, important, not least in the light of our experience in combating terrorism, to examine the extent to which the fight against terrorism can be reconciled with fundamental rights. This is another matter that would be worth including in the remit of the Fundamental Rights Agency.

Everyone agrees that the Fundamental Rights Agency should become operational as soon as possible, but we have not even managed to agree on a director. There is therefore room for a degree of doubt as to whether the Agency will actually be able to perform its functions. The good news is that there will not be many more of these procedures. When the revised EU Treaty takes effect from 2009, we shall have other processes through which the involvement of the European Parliament in these debates will be channelled.

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