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L-Erbgħa, 8 ta' Ġunju 2011 - Strasburgu Edizzjoni riveduta

12. Il-Mandat ta' Arrest Ewropew (dibattitu)
Vidjow tat-taħditiet
PV
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  Presidente. − L'ordine del giorno reca le interrogazioni orali al Consiglio e alla Commissione sul mandato d'arresto europeo.

 
  
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  Jan Philipp Albrecht, Verfasser. − Frau Präsidentin! Wir diskutieren heute über den Europäischen Haftbefehl. Es ist an der Zeit, dass wir diese Diskussion führen. Wir haben über die Fraktionen hinweg eine Anfrage eingereicht, in der wir die Reform des Europäischen Haftbefehls und auch seine Anwendung zur Diskussion stellen und Kommission und Rat darum bitten, mit Vorschlägen entgegenzukommen.

Der Europäische Haftbefehl war das Aushängeschild gegenseitiger Anerkennung im Justiz- und Polizeibereich. Als der Europäische Haftbefehl als Rahmenbeschluss angenommen wurde, hat das Europäische Parlament immer sehr deutlich gemacht, dass einerseits die Voraussetzungen für die Anwendung des Europäischen Haftbefehls relativ streng sind, er also nur für wirklich schwere Straftaten gelten soll, dass eine Verhältnismäßigkeit der Anwendung gegeben ist und dass gleichzeitig die Verfahrensstandards in der Europäischen Union harmonisiert werden. Keine dieser Anforderungen ist wirklich hundertprozentig umgesetzt worden. Die verhältnismäßige Anwendung ist in vielen Einzelfällen – das sehen wir aus den jetzt vorliegenden Berichten – nicht der Fall. Wir brauchen also eine Anpassung sowohl in der Praxis als auch in der Gesetzgebung. Bei der Harmonisierung der Verfahrensstandards kommen wir jetzt nach zehn Jahren erstmals auch dank der Arbeit von Vizepräsidentin Reding voran, aber es ist unbedingt notwendig, dass wir noch viele weitere Fortschritte machen, auch bei den Haftbedingungen und bei der Frage individueller Rechtsschutzstandards.

Es kann künftig nicht nur um die Kooperation von Polizei und Justizbehörden bei der gegenseitigen Anerkennung gehen, sondern es muss auch um die Schaffung von Verfahrensstandards gehen. Nichtsdestotrotz muss der Europäische Haftbefehl heute noch angepasst werden, da die Anwendung offensichtlich nicht vereinbar ist mit den Standards, die wir eingefordert haben, insbesondere hinsichtlich der Verhältnismäßigkeitsprüfung in individuellen Fällen.

 
  
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  Simon Busuttil, Awtur. − Jekk kien hemm għodda Ewropea illi għenitna nwaqqgħu l-fruntieri nazzjonali għall-ġustizzja, żgur li din hija l-mandat Ewropew għall-arrest. Għinna nwaqqgħu l-fruntieri nazzjonali għaliex bagħat messaġġ ċar illi jekk xi ħadd jagħmel reat kriminali f’pajjiż, ma jistax aktar jaħrab f’pajjiż ieħor minn dak ir-reat u mill-prosekuzzjoni għal dak ir-reat. Jiġifieri irid ikun ċar illi l-mandat Ewropew għall-arrest huwa għodda tajba, huwa għodda illi tat riżultati pożittivi.

Huwa vera fl-istess ħin illi għandu xi difetti. Id-difetti joħorġu meta dan il-mandat jintuża għal reati li huma żgħar wisq biex jiġġustifikaw l-użu ta’ dan il-mandat. Jiena ma nippretendix illi għandu jinħareġ mandat ta’ arrest Ewropew jekk xi ħadd jinqabad jisraq żewġ tajers ta’ karozza f’pajjiż ieħor, kif fil-fatt ġara, għaliex inkunu qegħdin nużawh b’mod sproporzjonat u nkunu qegħdin innaqqsu u mhux inżidu l-fiduċja tan-nies f’għodda illi hija tajba u importanti.

Allura li għandna bżonn hu illi naraw fejn huma d-difetti fl-użu, fl-applikazzjoni ta’ dan il-mandat mingħajr ma nkissru l-għodda illi jagħtina dan il-mandat.

Huwa għalhekk illi aħna qegħdin inressqu din il-mistoqsija Parlamentari sabiex il-Kummissjoni tgħinna nifhmu kif ġie applikat dan il-mandat fl-aħħar snin. Kif ġie applikat għandu jwassalna biex nikkonkludu jekk għandux jinbidel sabiex niżguraw illi jintuża kif imiss.

 
  
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  Sarah Ludford, author. − Madam President, the Liberal Group in the European Parliament has always been supportive of the European Arrest Warrant because of its importance in the fight against serious cross-border crime. However, simultaneously, my group has always pointed out that the European Arrest Warrant system would be incomplete without advancing procedural defence rights in Europe. We have constantly criticised the Council for not progressing that agenda on the basis of the Commission’s comprehensive proposal.

Now we are finally changing the situation on defence rights, and I applaud Vice-President Reding for her commitment to this programme under the roadmap. The question is: will this be enough to compensate for the failings of the European Arrest Warrant? I think not. We also have to do something about the way the European Arrest Warrant system operates.

However, let us just note the successes: between 2005 and 2009, the arrest warrant has secured the extradition of almost 12 000 drug smugglers, child sex offenders, rapists and others. They include Hussain Osman, one of the 2005 London bombers. No Londoner could be ungrateful to the European Arrest Warrant in the light of that. He came back within six weeks, from Italy.

However, in the UK at least, and we will hear this later, the European Arrest Warrant has become a favourite stick with which the Eurosceptics batter the reputation of the EU. Their cause has been helped by several notorious cases of breaches of human rights. In fact, the UK receives the second highest number of requests for surrender after Germany.

Both the Commission and defence rights organisations like Fair Trials International – I declare an interest, I am a patron – and Justice, on whose council I sit, have pinpointed failings in the arrest warrant. Problems with it being used for minor offences, the lack of legal representation in the issuing state, long pre-trial detention periods, the lack of bail for people who are not nationals of the issuing state, and bad detention conditions are all cited with reason. The Commission does not think that we need to recast the European Arrest Warrant. I think we need to reconsider that.

Firstly, we need to have a much sounder basis for the requirement for a proportionality check, so that minor offences are not covered. Secondly, we need to have an explicit human rights check in the executing state. That needs to be made explicit, and not implicit. Thirdly, it needs to be recognised when it is not reasonable to execute a European Arrest Warrant, so that someone is not followed by alerts in the Schengen Information System around Europe even though their surrender has been refused once on valid grounds.

We also need to do something about the bail situation, not least by implementing the framework decision on supervision orders.

There do need to be changes to the European Arrest Warrant, but fundamentally it has been a success. Those who question it need to ask themselves whether they would be satisfied with criminals spending years beyond the reach of the courts and beyond the reach of justice, because traditional extradition takes too long and has too much red tape.

 
  
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  Birgit Sippel, Verfasserin. − Frau Präsidentin! In der Debatte zur ungarischen Verfassung wurde mehrfach kritisiert, dass dies eine politische Debatte sei. Ich wundere mich sehr darüber, denn politische Debatten sind ausdrückliche Aufgabe des Parlaments, und deshalb will ich auch mit einer politischen Einfassung des Themas beginnen.

Kriminalität und insbesondere organisierte Kriminalität haben sich noch nie von Grenzen oder Grenzkontrollen behindern lassen. Deshalb ist es auch überhaupt nicht sinnvoll, in Europa wieder Grenzen aufzubauen und das Zusammenwachsen unserer Völker zu beschränken. Vielmehr brauchen wir die konsequente Weiterentwicklung der Zusammenarbeit unserer Mitgliedstaaten und die grenzüberschreitende Zusammenarbeit von Polizei und Justiz.

Der europäische Haftbefehl hat sich in diesem Bereich vielfach als ein wichtiges und erfolgreiches Instrument erwiesen. Doch zugleich gerät dieses Instrument in Verruf, wenn etwa der europäische Haftbefehl für Fahrraddiebstähle oder lediglich für die Durchführung von Befragungen verwendet wird. Leider mussten wir auch die Erfahrung machen, dass er verwendet wird, wenn etwa der Beschluss gefasst wird, einen Haftbefehl nicht auszuführen, weil er belegbar zu Unrecht ausgestellt worden ist, wobei dies dann vom ausstellenden Mitgliedstaat nicht respektiert wird, was zu der unglückseligen Situation führt, dass die betroffenen Bürgerinnen und Bürger wiederholt bei Grenzübertritten verhaftet werden. Das trägt nicht zum Vertrauen in die europäischen Rechtssysteme bei.

Doch woran liegt das? Lässt der Text der Richtlinie zuviel Spielraum offen? Liegt es an der falschen Implementierung in den Mitgliedstaaten oder an mangelnder Information? Diese Punkte müssen geklärt werden, gegebenenfalls müssen die Mitgliedstaaten nachbessern und die Kommission muss Maßnahmen ergreifen, mit denen diese Missstände verhindert werden. Denn nur so können wir erreichen, dass ein erfolgreiches Instrument nicht dauerhaft beschädigt wird und das Vertrauen in diese Maßnahmen nicht verlorengeht.

Darüber hinaus zeigen all diese Erfahrungen, wie wichtig es ist, dass wir endlich mit der roadmap zu Verfahrensrechten vorankommen. Wir brauchen im Interesse von Rechtssicherheit für alle Beteiligten europaweit gleiche Rechte für Beschuldigte und die verpflichtende Information über diese Rechte.

Die Kommission ist gefordert, auch gegen mögliche Widerstände in all diesen Punkten Druck auszuüben, und kann sich dabei sicherlich auch der Unterstützung des Parlaments sicher sein.

(Der Redner ist damit einverstanden, eine Frage nach dem Verfahren der „blauen Karte“ zu beantworten (Artikel 149 Absatz 8 GO).)

 
  
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  William (The Earl of) Dartmouth (EFD). - Madam President, Ms Sippel described the European Arrest Warrant as a baby. Is it not in fact much more of a Frankenstein’s monster? Should she not accept that?

 
  
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  Birgit Sippel, Verfasserin. − Ich weiß nicht, ob ich auf Ihre Frage antworten soll, die ja eher eine polemische Anmerkung ist. Aber die Zahlen belegen, dass der Europäische Haftbefehl ein geeignetes Instrument ist, in dem einheitlichen europäischen Raum Verbrechen zu bekämpfen. Verbrechen ist nicht national, Verbrechen ist international und grenzübergreifend. Deshalb müssen wir auch grenzübergreifend zusammenarbeiten. Die Fehler in den Kinderschuhen dieses Europäischen Haftbefehls und die Missbräuche müssen bekämpft werden. Aber das Instrument als solches ist unverzichtbar.

 
  
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  Gerard Batten, author. − Madam President, since 2004 I have warned that the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) could be used as an instrument of oppression against political dissidents. This is what is happening now in the case of Julian Assange. There are many irregularities in the Swedish case against him. Mr Assange has not yet been charged with any specific offence. A previous investigation against him, for what the Swedes designate as ‘minor rape’, was dropped by a senior prosecutor in Stockholm almost four months before the EAW was issued. The reinstated investigation leading to the EAW saw a failure of the prosecutor to interview witnesses that could clear Mr Assange.

Independent legal opinion in England has said that the allegations against Mr Assange would not constitute rape under English law. The complainant’s lawyer in Sweden has reportedly stated that the ladies themselves cannot tell if the acts in question constituted rapes, because they are not lawyers. Nevertheless, the tick box on the EAW marked rape contains no definition or explanation of what constitutes the crime.

Mr Assange remained in Sweden for five weeks to answer the allegations, but he was not questioned as the investigation was unduly delayed. Mr Assange arrived in Sweden less than a month after Wikileaks leaked the Afghanistan war logs and announced it had many more revelations to come. Senior figures in the USA have called for Mr Assange to be assassinated or kidnapped, and for the US Government to act as if it were at war with Wikileaks, which they describe as a terrorist organisation.

All this coincides with the convenient issuing of a European Arrest Warrant against him. Sweden has a close relationship with the USA in terms of intelligence sharing and cooperation, calling into question Sweden’s perceived neutrality. Why would the USA want Mr Assange to be extradited to Sweden? The Americans are still building a case against him and do not know what they can charge him with, if anything. Without a charge, the USA cannot extradite him from the UK, but they need him locked up somewhere while they work it out, preventing him from returning to Australia.

The European Arrest Warrant offers the perfect expedient. As I have said many times in this Chamber, under the European Arrest Warrant, extradition – or rather judicial surrender, to use the correct term – is now merely a bureaucratic formality. There are simply no real safeguards. Having said all that, my question to the Council and the Commission is not: is the EAW being abused for political purposes? It is: can it be abused? If the Council and Commission are honest, they will have to admit that it can. Will they please do so now? In my opinion, the evidence shows that it is most certainly happening in the case of Julian Assange.

 
  
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  Cornelis de Jong, Auteur. − Voorzitter, de tekst van de mondelinge vragen lijkt misschien wat abstract en theoretisch, maar het Europese arrestatiebevel gaat toch over het lot van mensen, over mensenrechten en fundamentele vrijheden.

In Nederland is er veel aandacht voor het lot van Cor Disselkoen. In 1997 werd deze Nederlandse ondernemer beschuldigd van het overtreden van de Poolse belastingregels. Hij werd hiervoor twee maanden vastgezet onder erbarmelijke omstandigheden. Na een zeer hoge borg kwam hij weer vrij en twaalf jaar hoorde hij niets meer van de zaak. Vorig jaar eiste Polen opeens de overlevering van de ondernemer. Polen maakte daarbij gebruik van het Europees arrestatiebevel. Anderhalve week geleden werd hij naar Polen getransporteerd. Volgens de advocaat van Disselkoen verbleef hij daar in een even smerige en overbevolkte gevangenis als in 1997. Het gesprek tussen Disselkoen en zijn advocaat werd tegen alle regels in met een videocamera opgenomen. Bovendien werden er opeens vier nieuwe beschuldigingen bij de zaak betrokken. De rechter dreigde zelfs dat deze zouden kunnen leiden tot een nieuw arrestatiebevel. Disselkoen heeft opnieuw een hoge borgsom betaald en is terug in Nederland. Maar zijn zaak toont aan dat het Europees arrestatiebevel kan leiden tot mensonterende situaties.

De Commissie laat in het verslag dat ze gemaakt heeft, zien dat ze de problemen kent en hier ook bezorgd over is. Daarom heeft mijn fractie haar hoop gevestigd op de commissaris. Commissaris, kunt u niet zelf een toelichting geven over de invulling van de evenredigheidseisen en deze door de Raad laten overnemen? En kunt u ervoor zorgen dat personen daadwerkelijk het recht krijgen een arrestatiebevel aan te vechten in zowel de lidstaat die het bevel heeft uitgevaardigd als de lidstaat die het uitvoert? Bent u het ermee eens dat aan landen waar de situatie in gevangenissen en huizen van bewaring nog onmenselijk is, de uitvoering van een arrestatiebevel consequent kan worden geweigerd, dat er een mensenrechtentoetsing komt en dat Cor Disselkoen niet hoeft te vrezen voor nog meer ellende?

 
  
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  Timothy Kirkhope, author. − Madam President, no-one can deny the positive impact the European Arrest Warrant has had on cross-border crime. It has so far contributed to the extradition of almost 12 000 drug smugglers, child sex offenders, rapists and terrorists, and has avoided lengthy extradition procedures in the process. The speed of this tool has been invaluable, given the freedom to cross borders and increases in cross-border crime. However, what this tool was never intended for was to investigate and punish petty crimes such as the theft of a pig, stealing a chocolate bar or exceeding a bank overdraft limit.

What you see today is a rare occurrence here. Nearly all political groups and all nationalities collected here are saying that now is the time to review, re-evaluate and, if necessary, amend. Proportionality, protection and redress are the key to reforming this tool.

We are now currently working on the European Investigation Order, a partner to the European Arrest Warrant. It is essential that we do not make the same mistakes again. We must draft this new legislation with a clear working memory as to the flaws and obstacles of the European Arrest Warrant.

There have been simply too many examples of substandard conditions for prisoners, too many misplaced warrants and too great a lack of redress for those who have been victims of errors. I fear that we are moving forwards with the EIO whilst its very foundations, and the European Arrest Warrant on which it is based, are decidedly shaky. We need to rebuild the trust in, and value of, this tool and reserve it for only the most serious of crimes, whilst guaranteeing and maintaining the highest of standards in its use.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 149(8))

 
  
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  Gerard Batten (EFD). - Madam President, I would like to ask Mr Kirkhope this question because he agrees that the European Arrest Warrant needs review and re-evaluation – my view would be a lot stronger than that, but never mind. He mentioned the European Investigation Order and I believe he was saying that this could be a step too far.

But is he aware that, in his own government, one of the first acts of the Home Secretary, Theresa May, when coming into office was to opt into the European Investigation Order, which means we now cannot opt out and will be stuck with whatever comes through the legislative sausage machine, because this will be subject to qualified majority voting and the final outcome is something we cannot determine? Is this another case of Tory double-speak, where they speak out against the acts of the European Union here but endorse them back home in our own parliament?

 
  
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  Timothy Kirkhope (ECR). - Mr President, the position regarding the UK Government with regard to both the European Arrest Warrant and the European Investigation Order is that clearly they feel they have an obligation – quite rightly – to do what is best for the UK in relation to cross-border crime. We have been the victims of an enormous amount of crime, and terrorism in particular, as the honourable gentleman is aware. I am sure that he would share with me our determination to stamp out this crime, and working together across borders is the best way to achieve it.

Of course the European Investigation Order needs careful implementation. But merely opting into it and to the concept of it, as has been done by the Government, is not, of course, the final shout. What we need to see here is the detail of this order; we need to implement it effectively and make it work well alongside the Arrest Warrant. But the fact that we have opted in is a good indication that we are determined to deal with cross-border crime. I trust the honourable gentleman shares our wishes in that regard.

 
  
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  Enikő Győri, President-in-Office of the Council. − Madam President, the European Arrest Warrant has become one of the most successful instruments on mutual recognition adopted within the European Union. Therefore I am very thankful to you for having initiated this debate.

The Council has devoted a great deal of attention and energy to this issue, not least through a mutual peer evaluation of the practical application of this instrument which has been carried out in all Member States over a period of three years. The advantages of the European Arrest Warrant by far outweigh any possible inconveniences. Thanks to the EAW, the Union has managed to reduce surrender times considerably, in many cases from one or two years to only one or two months. The previous extradition system was cumbersome and no longer fit for purpose in the modern world of open borders and serious and organised cross-border crimes.

On the issue of proportionality, whilst there have been some cases of minor importance for which a European Arrest Warrant was issued, it is ultimately a matter for the issuing authority in each Member State to decide for which offences it wants to launch the proceedings. This is a result of the fact that, unlike extradition, the European Arrest Warrant is a fully judicial system. A European Arrest Warrant is always based on a judicial decision in the issuing state and the decision on whether or not to issue an EAW is for the national judicial authority. If there is a proportionality problem it is not caused by the instrument or by the EAW framework decision, it is rather the result of the criminal justice policies in individual Member States. The Council has been quite clear that in cases where preventive detention is inappropriate the European Arrest Warrant should not be used.

The Council has also called on the instrument’s practitioners to consider and seek advice on the use of alternatives to the European Arrest Warrant. Taking into account the overall efficiency of criminal proceedings, these alternatives could include using the less coercive instruments of mutual legal assistance where possible, using video-conferencing for suspects, convoking someone for appearance before a judge by means of a summons, using the Schengen information system to establish the place of residence of a suspect, or the use of the framework decision on the mutual recognition of financial penalties.

However, such assessments should always be made by the issuing authority. The European Arrest Warrants are issued in relation to prosecutions or final convictions in the issuing state. These judicial decisions are based on the material available to the judge or prosecutor in the issuing state.

Furthermore, we should not ignore the victims. In most cases the victims of the offence are in the issuing state, not in the executing state, so by delaying the trial and examination of the case the rights of victims are also being undermined. Justice delayed is justice denied, not only for suspects but also for victims. It is also in the interest of the victims to have a speedy trial so that their rights are respected. The Council intends to adopt a roadmap proposed by the Hungarian Presidency to strengthen these rights. The solution to the proportionality principle cannot therefore be that we change the fundamentals of the well-functioning European Arrest Warrant system, which has radically improved the prior extradition system.

Regarding the rights of the defence I would like first to remark that, unlike extradition, the European Arrest Warrant is a fully judicial system which in itself is already a major guarantee. A European Arrest Warrant is always based on a judicial decision in the issuing state and can be executed in the executing state only through a judicial decision. The person will always be able to fully exercise his defence rights in the issuing Member State where the trial on the merits of the case takes place. This is fully in compliance with the case law of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

That does not imply that the person against whom a European Arrest Warrant has been issued is not, and should not, be able to exercise any rights in the executing state. Directive 20140/64 of 20 October 2010 provides for the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings and also applies in the execution of the European Arrest Warrant.

Furthermore, we welcome the fact that a recent Commission proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the right to information in criminal proceedings provides for the right to written information in European Arrest Warrant proceedings.

Concerns have been expressed that a negative decision on a European Arrest Warrant does not automatically lead to a deletion of the corresponding alert in the Schengen information system. However, the CIS alert is a means of transmission of the European Arrest Warrant. Ultimately, it is only the issuing authority that has entered an alert that can withdraw it.

In cases where a Member State refuses, following judicial proceedings, to execute a European Arrest Warrant, the person in question will be released. If the refusal to execute the European Arrest Warrant is final it is clear that the person can no longer be arrested in that Member State as a result of the instrument. However, any refusal to execute a European Arrest Warrant does not invalidate it. It remains a valid title for the arrest of the person concerned in the issuing Member State and indeed in any other Member State. This has nothing to do with the European Arrest Warrant system as such and is, for example, also the case under the extradition system.

Finally, regarding prison conditions, these may of course be open to improvement in some cases but this is not a topic which is specific to the implementation of the European Arrest Warrant. It is the responsibility of the authorities of individual Member States to ensure that prison conditions are up to standard, regardless of whether persons have been surrendered from other Member States or not.

 
  
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  Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the Commission. − Madam President, you might know that the Commission adopted a report on the implementation of the Arrest Warrant on 11 April this year. This report focuses on the fundamental aspects of the operation of the Arrest Warrant, highlighting for the first time since it became operational in January 2004 not only its successes but also its shortcomings.

A lot has already been said about the successes. Let me just underline that between 2005 and 2009 almost 55 000 European Arrest Warrants were issued, about 12 000 were executed and during that period roughly 60% of the requested persons consented to their surrender, on average within 14 to 17 days. The average surrender time for those who did not consent was 48 days and this contrasts very favourable with the pre-European Arrest Warrant position of a one year average for the extradition of requested persons and has undoubtedly reinforced the free movement of persons.

That is why, and I think that everybody in this House agrees, the Arrest Warrant is an important tool to catch criminals and to render our criminal justice systems more effective. It has been instrumental in smashing paedophile rings, and catching murderers and terrorists, and that is what it is there for.

However, and this is a recent movement, we see that the number of Arrest Warrants issued has risen dramatically since 2007. In some cases it is being used in a less than proportionate manner to extradite suspects of often petty crime: stealing a bike or a piglet. This is unnecessary and may damage the legitimacy of this powerful EU mutual recognition tool. That is the reason why the Commission asks for action.

First, the Commission calls on the EU Member States to exercise a proportionality test when they call for an Arrest Warrant, and to fill the gaps where their legislation fails to fully comply with the framework decision setting up the Arrest Warrant. We also ask the Member States to ensure that judicial practitioners, such as prosecutors, do not issue Arrest Warrants for minor offences.

Therefore, we will set out in a Handbook on the Arrest Warrant the lines to take at that level. We will also come forward with proposals before the end of 2011 to step up training on the Arrest Warrant for police authorities, judicial authorities and legal practitioners in order to ensure consistency and effectiveness in the way it is applied and raise awareness of the new EU safeguards for procedural rights.

Speaking about safeguards for procedural rights, the report also reflects on the overarching importance of fundamental rights and mutual trust in the Member States’ judicial systems. That is why the Commission has started to set up procedural rights for persons who are taken into custody.

Firstly, minimum rules on the right to interpretation and translation, which were adopted already in 2010. Secondly the right to information about rights – the letter of rights – which is going to reach an agreement very soon. Not later than today the Commission adopted the third proposal on procedural rights, the proposal to ensure access to a lawyer and the right to have a third person notified when a person is deprived of his or her liberty. It will include a provision for access to a lawyer both in the issuing and the executing States in European Arrest Warrant cases.

All these procedural rights apply to the Arrest Warrant. These measures are designed to obviate the possibility that evidence is being obtained in breach of the fundamental rights of suspects.

I would also like to answer the specific question which has been raised by the authors. The Commission is not aware of any evidence that the request from Sweden to the United Kingdom for the surrender of Mr Assange to face allegations of sexual offences indicates that the European Arrest Warrant system is being used for other than its purpose.

Surrender under the Council Framework Decision creating the European Arrest Warrant is an entirely judicial procedure, where the governments have absolutely no possibility of interfering in the process. In the specific case mentioned by Parliament, the procedure has been handled by the UK and Swedish judicial authorities without intervention of governments.

As for the other question concerning possible extradition to the United States, I would like to underline that we are not aware of any request so far in respect of potential extradition to the United States. But if there were a request, this could only happen with the consent of the surrendering Member State, the UK in that case. Because pursuant to Article 28 of the Council Framework Decision, a person who has been surrendered pursuant to a European Arrest Warrant shall not be extradited to a third State without the consent of the competent authority of the Member State which surrendered the person. This is just to underline the legal basis of the question but of course the whole question is a ‘what if’ question, because nothing concrete is on the table.

 
  
  

PŘEDSEDNICTVÍ: PAN LIBOR ROUČEK
místopředseda

 
  
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  Agustín Díaz de Mera García Consuegra, en nombre del Grupo PPE. – Señor Presidente, para mí la orden de detención es un instrumento fundamental en la lucha contra el crimen organizado, el terrorismo y otras formas de delincuencia. Es un instrumento acreditado: la piedra angular —se dice en la Decisión— de la cooperación y la primera concreción, en el ámbito del Derecho penal, del principio de reconocimiento mutuo.

Claro, es un instrumento muy útil, pero no hay que omitir que también tiene fragilidades. Las fragilidades están perfectamente señaladas, como también ha dicho la Comisaria Reding, no solamente en el informe de la Comisión de abril de 2011, sino también en los de 2005 y 2006. Esas fragilidades pueden y tienen que ser, naturalmente, corregidas, y derivan fundamentalmente de dos principios básicos y elementales. La orden tiene dos componentes, el componente de la emisión y el componente del rechazo o, en su caso, de la entrega. Que es un instrumento útil lo dicen las cifras: 54 000 y 12 000 ejecuciones.

¿Y qué es lo que hay que corregir? Lo que hay que corregir son mayores y mejores garantías procesales entre la emisión, el rechazo y la entrega. El tema de la proporción o la desproporción en la utilización de la orden es una cuestión esencial, es una cuestión angular. Por eso me complace tanto escuchar decir a la Comisaria Reding que se va a exigir a los Estados miembros la prueba de proporcionalidad y también que se tome en consideración la no utilización de la orden para los delitos menores.

Y, por cierto, señor Presidente, a lo largo de estas preguntas se ha colado un dato: se ha colado el dato de que cada orden cuesta al Tesoro Público veinticinco mil euros. Esto ha sido algo que ha dicho un juez irlandés. Yo digo a ese juez que no me lo creo, que demuestre cuáles son los componentes para llegar a semejante cálculo.

En consecuencia, señor Presidente, yo creo que la orden debe seguir en vigor y vitalizada, mejorando las garantías procesales.

(«Tarjeta azul», apartado 8 del artículo 149 del Reglamento: el orador acepta responder a la pregunta)

 
  
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  William (The Earl of) Dartmouth (EFD). - Mr President, is Mr Díaz de Mera aware that a fast-track extradition treaty was signed between the UK and Spain in 2003, long before the European Arrest Warrant, and would the speaker perhaps consider that this is a better blueprint for dealing with serious crime, rather than the European Arrest Warrant with all the problems of which we are now hearing?

 
  
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  Agustín Díaz de Mera García Consuegra (PPE). - No, querido colega; yo creo que la orden de detención europea es un instrumento más útil y más ágil para luchar contra todas estas formas de delincuencia a las que nos hemos referido.

Ya le ha dicho la Comisaria Reding —y yo lo subrayo— que una orden de extradición puede tener una incidencia temporal de un año, mientras que, por el contrario, una orden de detención europea tiene que sustanciarse en cuarenta días.

Así es que yo creo que este es un procedimiento mucho más ágil y mucho más útil para luchar contra el crimen, contra la delincuencia y contra el terrorismo.

 
  
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  Claude Moraes, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Mr President, the situation for our group is very clear. We heard on the one hand from the Council that, if a European Arrest Warrant is executed properly and effectively and not in the many trivial cases we have seen, its advantages outweigh those disadvantages.

The Commissioner set out what is a credible report – a serious report – which tells us that if we can deal with trivial cases and disproportionality and with the procedural guarantees, then the European Arrest Warrant can still be a valuable way of catching serious, organised criminals. We should not forget the 12 000 figure – I feel very strongly about the fact that in my constituency of London we caught the attempted bombers of July 2005. When we understand the serious and symbolic effect of these cases, the European Arrest Warrant can and should work.

The oral question we have today for our group is very simple. We are now in the area of moving from the reports to the action, and we have a situation where we have two hard cases. One is the lack of proportionality. This will not be solved overnight, and I commend the Commissioner (I am talking about judicial training) for ensuring that we fix the issue of trivial cases dominating and creating a credibility problem for the European Arrest Warrant. But that also requires the Council (I am not referring just to Hungary, I am talking about the Member States) to help us in pushing forward the procedural guarantees, and the issue of unacceptable pre-trial detention periods for many citizens in my own country.

These are the situations which create the problems for a tool which could be effective if used properly. But the hardest case is going to be creating an even playing field in relation to procedural defence rights. This is why within my group, which has [called for] the letter of rights, we take seriously both the quality and speed of the legislation which we need to ensure that the European Arrest Warrant can be the effective tool that it should be for catching serious, organised criminals, and that its credibility must not be diminished by the many trivial cases and uneven playing field that we currently see.

This is the position we want to see for our group, and we believe the commitment is here. But we must pay close attention, particularly to the Member States when they ask for the European Arrest Warrant to be effective but on the other hand do not carry out the actions to help us get the legislation to create that even playing field.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 149(8))

 
  
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  Gerard Batten, on behalf of the EFD Group. – Mr President, Claude Moraes talked about the lack of proportionality, etc. We can all agree on that, but the one thing – the elephant in the room – that nobody has talked about this afternoon is the fact that the court cannot look at the prima facie evidence against the accused person and exercise any discretion about whether they should be extradited or not. We have many constituents affected by this.

The most notable case is Andrew Symeou. I sat through the appeal court hearings and heard the judges. It was obvious from the look on their faces that they realised there was no real evidence against this boy; the evidence was contradictory, the statements appeared to have been concocted by the police, and in no way should he have been extradited. How would you address that problem and the fact that the courts cannot take into account the prima facie evidence, or lack of it, against an accused person?

 
  
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  Claude Moraes (S&D). - Mr President, for an arrest warrant, there has to be prima facie evidence. You cannot execute an arrest warrant without the judiciary understanding what the simple facts of the case are.

In the Andrew Symeou case the underlying problems, I say to Gerard Batten, were procedural problems: the detention periods and court system after the arrest warrant was executed. You talk about the appeal procedure. It was the period after the execution of the arrest warrant which was problematic, and which we are trying to fix today in this debate.

 
  
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  Nathalie Griesbeck, au nom du groupe ALDE. – Monsieur le Président, autant le débat précédent était passionnel et également passionnant, autant celui-ci est beaucoup plus consensuel. J'ai le sentiment que nul ne conteste l'efficacité de l'extradition, du mandat d'arrêt européen, de la réduction de la durée de la procédure et donc, en un mot comme en mille, de la lutte contre la criminalité.

Mais le mandat tel qu'il est utilisé a aussi conduit – on l'a tous souligné – à des dérives et à des pratiques abusives: abusives, quand il est émis pour des peccadilles – je passe sous silence les multiples exemples comico-tragiques de vols de vélos ou autres porcelets –, abusives et cependant plus graves, quand il y a des détentions disproportionnées, des emprisonnements de personnes innocentes et de l'abus de recours derrière ces décisions.

Le groupe auquel j'appartiens avait défendu, il y a quelques années, la nécessité de mettre en place des sauvegardes dans l'exécution du mandat d'arrêt européen et je ne boude pas mon plaisir à vous avoir entendue, Madame la Commissaire, cet après-midi, évoquer l'amélioration de la procédure avec l'établissement de guides à l'intention des États, ainsi que de guides à l'intention des personnes qui sont arrêtées. Je m'en réjouis parce que je pense que le mandat d'arrêt européen est un élément très bien compris par nos concitoyens européens et un test crucial pour montrer ce dont l'Europe est capable pour consolider la justice en Europe.

 
  
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  Zbigniew Ziobro, w imieniu grupy ECR. – Kraje Unii Europejskiej potrzebują skutecznych narzędzi do walki z kryminalną przestępczością, zwłaszcza z najpoważniejszą przestępczością, czyli zorganizowaną. I w tym sensie należy powiedzieć, że europejski nakaz aresztowania jest pewną odpowiedzią na to zapotrzebowanie, zwłaszcza wobec faktu, że ze swobody poruszania się po Unii Europejskiej korzystają nie tylko w większości uczciwi obywatele, ale również przestępcy, którzy bynajmniej nie wykorzystują swojego uprawnienia w celach turystycznych czy też biznesowych, ale do działalności przestępczej, kryminalnej bądź też po to, aby uchylać się od odpowiedzialności, do której mogą być pociągnięci w swoim kraju czy też kraju, w którym popełnili przestępstwo.

Dlatego dobrze, że ten instrument istnieje i działa, ale dobrze również, że jest on monitorowany. Każda nowa instytucja posiada oprócz swoich zalet również pewne wady, które warto ujawniać, warto się zastanowić, jak je poprawić. W tym wypadku myślę, że warto się zastanowić, czy nie wprowadzić ograniczeń stosowania ENA do tych najdrobniejszych przestępstw, np. zagrożonych karą do 2 lat pozbawienia wolności. Trzeba to poważnie rozważyć.

Mówca wyraził zgodę na udzielenie odpowiedzi na pytanie zadane poprzez podniesienie niebieskiej kartki, zgodnie z art. 149 ust. 8 Regulaminu

 
  
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  Sarah Ludford (ALDE). - Mr President, I think I am right in saying that Mr Ziobro is from Poland. I agreed with his last remark as I heard it in translation. It is often said that Poland is one example of a country where there is no threshold test for the issuing of arrest warrants, either domestically or for European arrest warrants.

Has a reform in your criminal justice system been considered so that prosecutors have some discretion as to whether to issue an arrest warrant and do not have to pursue every single complaint? In that way the famous small offences like the stolen piglet would not be so much of a problem.

We very much appreciate all the Poles who are in the UK, especially in London, most of whom of course are not criminals. But, because there are lots of Poles in the UK, most of whom are very welcome, we get lots of arrest warrants from Poland.

 
  
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  Zbigniew Ziobro (ECR). - Bardzo dziękuję za to pytanie. Rzeczywiście zdajemy sobie sprawę z problemu, na który pani poseł była uprzejma zwrócić uwagę. Polskie sądy bardzo rygorystycznie podchodzą do tych zapisów i stosują je również do, czasami wydawałoby się, błahych spraw. Biorąc pod uwagę, że wielu naszych rodaków np. przebywa w Londynie, czasami w sprawach wątpliwych tego rodzaju nakazy są orzekane. Stąd wydaje się zasadne rozważenie przed Komisję wprowadzenia bardziej generalnych rozwiązań, które mogą dotyczyć też innych krajów, aby w zupełnie drobnych sprawach tego rodzaju nakaz nie mógł być stosowany np. w wypadku kar do 2 lat pozbawienia wolności, lecz tylko w wypadku poważnych kar, dla których to został ustanowiony.

 
  
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  Judith Sargentini, namens de Verts/ALE-Fractie. – Voorzitter, ik ben zeer erkentelijk voor de vraag van mevrouw Ludford, want hij lag mij op de lippen te branden. Ik was vorige week in Polen aanwezig bij een rechtszaak van de heer Cor Disselkoen – zijn naam is hier vandaag al even gevallen –, een Nederlander die via een Europees aanhoudingsbevel werd uitgeleverd aan Polen voor een zaak uit midden jaren '90. In de paar dagen dat hij achter slot en grendel zat – want er werd uiteindelijk een regeling getroffen tussen de Nederlandse rechter en de Poolse rechter – in die paar dagen werden door de bewaking daar zijn medicijnen voor zijn hartkwaal gestolen.

Het probleem is niet alleen hoé het Europees arrestatiebevel wordt uitgeoefend, maar ook dat de gevangeniscondities in verschillende landen in Europa van die aard zijn dat je de mensen daar eigenlijk niet meer naar toe kunt sturen. Het zou ook de discretie van een rechter in het land waartoe het verzoek gericht wordt, moeten zijn om te zeggen: naar een land waar de gevangenisfaciliteiten inhumaan zijn, lever ik niet uit en ik hou mij als rechter aan artikel 3 van het Europees Verdrag voor de Rechten van de Mens. Ik ben het met de Raad eens dat landen discreet zouden moeten zijn over de zaken waarvoor ze een dergelijk verzoek uitvaardigen, maar landen zouden ook de ruimte moeten hebben om te zeggen: dat is zo'n klein vergrijp, daarvoor lever ik mensen niet uit. Daarom zou het voor Polen zeer van belang zijn dat ze hun rechtspraak aanpassen.

(Spreker verklaart zich bereid een "blauwe kaart"-vraag krachtens artikel 149, lid 8 van het Reglement te beantwoorden).

 
  
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  Димитър Стоянов (NI). - Предполагам, че говорите за същия случай, за който стана дума преди малко. Колегата говори за него и аз тогава исках да го питам, но не получих думата. Моля Ви, когато говорите за такива конкретни случаи, казвайте имената на хората, чиито права са били нарушени, за да можем да ги чуваме. Затова ще Ви помоля сега да кажете името на този човек, за който става дума. Защото трябва да изговаряме имената на хората с нарушени права.

 
  
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  Judith Sargentini (Verts/ALE). - Ik maak daar geen enkel geheim van. De naam werd eerder ook genoemd, misschien onvoldoende in de vertolking. Hij heet mijnheer Cor Disselkoen. Ik heb ook een zaak over mijnheer Hörchner, ook een Nederlander. Ik heb de naam genoemd nu en mijnheer Disselkoen schaamt zich daar in het geheel niet over, want hij streeft naar verandering in het Europees aanhoudingsbevel en wil daar dus graag publiek over praten.

 
  
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  Κυριάκος Τριανταφυλλίδης, εξ ονόματος της ομάδας GUE/NGL. – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, πολλά θα μπορούσαν να λεχθούν για το ευρωπαϊκό ένταλμα σύλληψης και την εφαρμογή του από τα κράτη μέλη. Μερικά έχουν ήδη αναφερθεί από τους συναδέλφους.

Εγώ θέλω να επικεντρωθώ σε μια συγκεκριμένη σημαντική πτυχή: τον πλήρη σεβασμό των ανθρωπίνων και διαδικαστικών δικαιωμάτων. Οι ύποπτοι και οι κατηγορούμενοι έχουν δικαιώματα τόσο ως άνθρωποι αλλά και ως διάδικοι. Όμως αυτά πολύ συχνά δεν λαμβάνονται υπόψη. Η προφυλάκιση καθώς και οι συνθήκες κράτησης, που ανέφερε ο συνάδελφος Cornelis de Jong, είναι χαρακτηριστικά παραδείγματα. Ο κύριος λόγος για αυτό είναι γιατί λαμβάνεται ως δεδομένο ότι τα ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα τυγχάνουν του ίδιου σεβασμού σε πανευρωπαϊκό επίπεδο. Ωστόσο, αυτό σαφώς δεν ισχύει γιατί ορισμένα δικαιώματα ερμηνεύονται διαφορετικά ανά κράτος μέλος, όπως για παράδειγμα το δικαίωμα της σιωπής, ή απλώς επειδή ορισμένες διαδικασίες διαφέρουν, όπως στην περίπτωση της διάρκειας των περιόδων προφυλάκισης.

Τι σκοπεύετε να κάνετε για αυτό, κυρία Επίτροπε; Θα προτείνετε συγκεκριμένα μέτρα όπως την εισαγωγή μιας ειδικής πρόνοιας για τα ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα που να επιτρέπει στους δικαστές να εξετάζουν το περιεχόμενο των υποθέσεων, όπως γίνεται στο Ηνωμένο Βασίλειο και στην Ιρλανδία, ή θα παραμείνουν αυτοί απλοί επιβεβαιωτές αποφάσεων άλλου κράτους μέλους; Θα προβλέψετε τη δυνατότητα ακρόασης στον ύποπτο ή κατηγορούμενο μέσω της οποίας ένας δικαστής θα αποφασίζει εάν πρέπει ή όχι να αποσταλεί ο συγκεκριμένος στη χώρα που τον αναζητεί για να αποφεύγονται καταχρήσεις, όπως η έκδοση για πολιτικά φρονήματα; Προτίθεστε να προτείνετε τέτοιου είδους αλλαγές στο πλαίσιο του χάρτη πορείας για τα δικονομικά δικαιώματα ή μέσω μιας τροποποίησης της νομοθεσίας σχετικά με το ευρωπαϊκό ένταλμα σύλληψης;

 
  
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  William (The Earl of) Dartmouth (EFD). - Mr President, in the Anglo-American world the primary purpose of the law is to protect people from random arrest and arbitrary imprisonment. The law in continental Europe, in particular the former Eastern bloc, simply does not have that priority and it is ridiculous to pretend otherwise.

Under the European Arrest Warrant everybody in Britain can be extradited – under Bulgarian law, for example – and there is not much a British judge can do about it. To make matters worse, the British Government has opted into the European Investigation Order, which is a further attack on the liberties of the British people. The Liberal Democrats, who sponsor all this, call themselves the party of civil liberties. This is piffle! The Liberal Democrats’ commitment to civil liberties comes to a grinding halt at Calais.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 149(8))

 
  
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  Sarah Ludford (ALDE). - (Microphone off until near end of first sentence) ...Liberal Democrat. Is the Earl of Dartmouth aware that it was the Liberal Democrats, with support from the Conservatives in the Upper Chamber of the British Parliament, who managed to insert in the 2003 Extradition Act which implemented the European Arrest Warrant a power for a judge to refuse a surrender under a European Arrest Warrant if fundamental rights of that person would be breached. I am looking towards Mr Kirkhope, because his and my party cooperated on that.

UKIP just shouts impotently from the sidelines while we get on and do the business of making sure that fundamental rights are protected. You should be putting your emphasis on persuading the courts to invoke Article 21 of the 2003 Extradition Act. I was there in the House of Lords and I helped move that amendment.

 
  
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  William (The Earl of) Dartmouth (EFD). - Nothing of what you have said has invalidated the measured criticisms of what we and others are saying now. I would also say that you are entirely mistaken if you think that better translation rights are any sort of cure at all for this flawed piece of legislation which is ruining people’s lives.

 
  
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  Andrew Henry William Brons (NI). - Mr President, the arrest warrant hearings have very little in common with extradition hearings that preceded the 2003 Act. Even at the main hearing, the court does not consider the evidence but only 10 so-called legal bars to surrender. Lack of evidence is no bar to extradition. Even people accused of behaviour that is not an offence in the extraditing country can be surrendered under the European Arrest Warrant if the offence is one for which there is no requirement for dual criminality.

Whilst most of these are serious violent, sexual or dishonesty offences, the list also includes the nebulous thought-crime offences beloved in so many continental countries, so that the arrested person could be sent for trial, or rather automatic conviction, to one of those wretched places.

The fact that such warrants are issued for the purpose of prosecuting a person on the grounds of his political opinions ought to constitute a legal bar to surrender, but I suspect that some political opinions would be less equal than others. We were sold the European Arrest Warrant on a promise that it would be used to send terrorists to justice, but the miscarriages of justice in the case of Garry Mann, Deborah Dark, Edmond Arapi, Andrew Symeou and many others, had no terrorist elements at all.

Worst of all have been the cases of people being extradited for questioning without a charge having been made. We must reinstate the requirement that a court will extradite a person only when there is compelling evidence that a serious offence under the extraditing country’s laws has been committed.

 
  
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  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE). - Mandatul european de arestare este un instrument eficient de combatere şi control a infracţionalităţii transfrontaliere la nivel comunitar. S-a dovedit eficient în accelerarea transferului între ţările Uniunii a persoanelor suspectate de săvârşirea unor infracţiuni majore, inclusiv în domeniul terorismului şi a crimei organizate. Însă prea dese au fost cazurile în care acest instrument a fost folosit pentru mica infracţionalitate. S-a ajuns la tratarea egală a unor cazuri profund inegale. Mandatul a fost emis atunci când folosirea lui nu era nici necesară, nici proporţională. Aceasta a dus nu numai la situaţii nedrepte pentru cel învinuit, dar şi la povară nejustificată asupra resurselor statului executant.

Folosirea disproporţionată a acestui instrument esenţial pentru lupta împotriva criminalităţii transfrontaliere duce la erodarea încrederii şi va determina anumite state să facă controlul de proporţionalitate după reguli proprii atunci când hotărăsc executarea unui mandat european de arestare. Efectul va fi aplicarea inconsecventă şi neuniformă şi, în consecinţă, neîncrederea în conceptul de recunoaştere reciprocă.

Dreptul la asistenţă juridică trebuie să fie asigurat atât în statul emitent, cât şi în statul executant pentru ca dreptul la apărare să fie exercitat în mod corespunzător. De aceea am dorit să adresăm aceste întrebări Comisiei şi Consiliului. Trebuie să avem garanţia că standardele în materie de justiţie penală şi condiţiile din închisori în Uniunea Europeană nu reprezintă o sursă de neîncredere în rândul sistemelor judiciare din statele membre. În încheiere, doresc să mulţumesc şi eu doamnei comisar Reding pentru toate acţiunile pe care le-a luat pentru întărirea drepturilor procesuale în procesele penale.

 
  
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  Carmen Romero López (S&D). - Señor Presidente, señora Reding, en realidad la violación de los derechos fundamentales es una de las fragilidades más importantes, como aquí hemos estado diciendo toda la tarde.

Pero ni siquiera la salvaguarda de estos derechos procesales, que hemos debatido ya y que vamos a empezar a debatir como parte del paquete de los derechos procesales, va a ser posible. No van a poder resolverse, por ejemplo, algunos problemas derivados de la situación de las cárceles o de los periodos de detención preventiva, porque eso no está en el paquete de los derechos procesales. Es evidente que eso compete a los Estados miembros.

Pero sobre la proporcionalidad y sobre los delitos menores sí quisiera decirle, señora Reding, que de todos los ejemplos de delito que he escuchado durante la tarde —el robo de las corbatas, el robo del cerdito, el robo de las bicicletas—, ninguno está contemplado en la orden de detención. Los 32 delitos que se contemplan se refieren a delitos relacionados con la criminalidad organizada, a no ser que el robo del cerdito o el robo de corbatas corra a cargo de una banda de delincuencia organizada y se haga a mano armada.

Es decir, se puede ridiculizar a base de ejemplos que, de momento, además, tampoco conocemos, porque el problema de fondo es que no existe un instrumento estadístico común para poder abordar el problema realmente.

(El Presidente interrumpe a la oradora)

 
  
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  Heidi Hautala (Verts/ALE). - Arvoisa puhemies, Unkarin edustaja sanoi täällä, että ongelma ei ole itse tämä väline eli eurooppalainen pidätysmääräys, vaan että ongelma on kunkin jäsenvaltion oikeuspolitiikassa. No nyt hän panee kuulokkeet korvilleen. Niin, siis mielestäni tämä on kyllä kaunopuheista valehtelua sen takia, että on nyt tunnustettava se, että eurooppalainen pidätysmääräys on alun perin ollut ongelma sen takia, että on ikään kuin toimittu kuin kaikissa jäsenvaltioissa toteutuisivat tietyt oikeusnormit ja rikosprosessien minimistandardit. Totuushan on se, että me vasta nyt pääsimme niitä luomaan, kun Lissabonin sopimus on astunut voimaan.

Haluaisinkin todeta, että Euroopan ihmisoikeustuomioistuin on jo todennut, että turvapaikka-asioissa esimerkiksi Kreikkaan ei voida palauttaa sen takia, että vankilaolot ovat niin heikot. Koskahan tapahtuu se, että eurooppalaisen pidätysmääräyksen takia ei voidakaan luovuttaa, koska maassa, joka on pyytänyt luovutusta, on kurjat vankilaolot. Mielestäni komission täytyy varautua siihen.

 
  
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  Rui Tavares (GUE/NGL). - A União Europeia é uma experiência feita de experiências: a zona euro, este próprio Parlamento em que estamos, o espaço Schengen e vários outros instrumentos são experiências. O problema é que os políticos são muitas vezes muito menos humildes do que os cientistas. Os cientistas são os primeiros a reconhecer quando uma experiência não correu como eles esperavam que corresse.

No caso do mandato de detenção europeu (EAW - European Arrest Warrant), nós sabemos hoje que o mesmo tem problemas e levanta dúvidas. Deve ser creditado à Comissária Reding o facto de ter tido a candura de afirmar que sim, que este mandado tem problemas e levanta dúvidas e que há testes de proporcionalidade que devem ser passados quando são emitidos os mandatos, os quais não devem ser aplicados automaticamente sem que sobre eles seja deitado um olhar mais demorado e discriminado de um juiz.

Então, a solução não deve ser abolir o mandado de detenção europeu, o qual é evidentemente útil. Queremos que um violador ou um assassino não possa passar a fronteira e estar livre. Mas o mandado de detenção europeu deve ser complementado com instrumentos de defesa dos réus que sejam efectivos, como a presença de advogado e o direito de tradução, que a Baronesa Ludford já tratou no seu relatório, mas também e muito crucialmente com a avaliação das condições de detenção nas prisões europeias.

Não é a mesma coisa, e não nos enganemos nem tenhamos ilusões, estar preso numa prisão do país A ou do país B, na Europa. É muito importante que essas condições sejam avaliadas e que haja um trabalho muito determinado por parte da Comissão Europeia no sentido de avaliar as condições de detenção para que sejam harmonizadas e para que assim, com mais confiança, se possa aplicar um mandado de detenção europeu.

 
  
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  Димитър Стоянов (NI). - Аргументите на критиците на Европейската заповед за арест съм ги чувал и преди от устата на моите колеги от патриотичните движения. Тогава обаче нашите аргументи бяха представени като евроскептични, като някакви един вид врагове на прогреса и така тази заповед беше влязла в сила.

Тази вечер обаче чух нещо друго ужасяващо от устата на министър GYŐRI. А тя именно каза, че ефективността на заповедта за арест оправдавала случаите на нарушаване на права. Г-жо GYŐRI, аз знам един принцип в наказателното право, който казва: "По-добре е да бъдат пуснати десет виновни, отколкото да бъде задържан един-единствен невинен". А от гледна точка на непропорционалността, естествено че полицейските органи ще използват каквото им дадеш в ръцете и ще използват всички възможности, които са им позволени.

На стария въпрос "Кой ще бъде страж на стражите?" отговорът е само един: "Законът е страж на стражите." И ние като законодатели, Комисията като инициатор, Парламентът и Съветът като съзаконодатели сме длъжни да направим така, че законът наистина да бъде страж на стражите.

 
  
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  Salvatore Iacolino (PPE). - Signor Presidente, il mandato di arresto europeo è certamente uno strumento fondamentale nel contrasto al terrorismo e al crimine organizzato. Mi sembra che su questo vi sia un'intesa e una condivisione da parte di tutti coloro che sono intervenuti, compresa la Presidenza e la Commissione.

Nel contempo esso rappresenta la certificazione di come la cooperazione giudiziaria e di polizia in una dimensione transnazionale del crimine possa raggiungere traguardi importanti. Sono stati risolti i tempi di attesa e i costi sono da verificare attualmente – e su questo bisogna fare un approfondimento. La fiducia tra gli Stati membri è essenziale in questo percorso che è certamente virtuoso, nel contempo bisogna però fare in modo che lo strumento sia applicato omogeneamente tra tutti gli Stati membri, con un discrimen reale tra reati gravi, per i quali è previsto e sanzionato, e reati che gravi non sono.

Potrebbe tornare utile – mi rivolgo alla signora Commissario Reding, – un coinvolgimento in quella struttura, la procura europea, che potrà avere, quando sarà stata attivata, una sorta di verifica, di valutazione di questi pronunciamenti da parte delle autorità giudiziarie degli Stati membri, per le quali è assolutamente necessario un momento di formazione ulteriore. Vero, le condizioni detentive non sono identiche in tutti gli Stati membri, ma noi confidiamo che la prossima settimana la Commissione vari la comunicazione e il Libro verde sulle condizioni detentive essenziali che dovranno poi connotare i comportamenti ulteriori.

Quindi uso appropriato del mandato d'arresto, proporzionalità, rigore nell'utilizzo del medesimo strumento, un miglior scambio di informazioni e una più qualificata formazione in chiave europea dei magistrati, siamo convinti che l'applicazione omogenea di questo importante strumento possa essere compiutamente realizzata!

 
  
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  Françoise Castex (S&D). - Monsieur le Président, Madame la Commissaire, nous voyons que l'application du mandat d'arrêt européen soulève la question de détentions très inégales d'un État membre à l'autre. Certains États font preuve d'un laxisme manifeste dans le respect des droits fondamentaux en milieu carcéral.

Qui plus est, parmi les 600 000 détenus dans l'Union européenne, de plus en plus sont retenus dans un autre État membre que le leur à cause, justement, du mandat d'arrêt européen. En conséquence, ils ne bénéficient pas des droits fondamentaux garantis dans leur État d'origine. Il ne sert à rien dans ce cas-là de s'invectiver les uns les autres, il faut agir.

C'est pourquoi en janvier dernier, avec mon collègue Stavros Lambrinidis, nous avions déposé une déclaration écrite demandant l'harmonisation des normes de détention dans l'ensemble de l'Union européenne et la mise en place de mécanismes nationaux de contrôle indépendants.

Je souhaite, Madame la Commissaire, que, dans les livres verts que vous proposerez, vous teniez compte de cette question et qu'il existe bientôt un socle commun de droits minimums qui s'impose à l'ensemble des États membres.

 
  
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  Axel Voss (PPE). - Herr Präsident, sehr geehrte Frau Kommissarin Reding, sehr geehrte Frau Ministerin Györi! Der Europäische Haftbefehl hat sich – wie von meinen Vorrednern bereits einhellig festgestellt – in den vergangenen Jahren als nützliches Instrument zur Verbrechensbekämpfung erwiesen. Den Straftätern in Europa steht es eben nicht mehr frei, die offenen Grenzen so zu nutzen, wie sie das bisher vielleicht hätten machen können.

Doch trotz dieser zahlreichen vorhandenen Erfolge haben die sieben letzten Jahre auch gezeigt, dass das System noch nicht perfekt ist und nicht so angewendet wird, wie es ursprünglich einmal gedacht war. Einige dieser Schwachpunkte haben Sie ja auch in Ihrem Bericht vor kurzem offengelegt. Etwa das mangelnde Recht auf anwaltlichen Beistand, die teilweise unwürdigen Haftbedingungen, oftmals auch die extrem langen Untersuchungszeiten. Der wesentliche Punkt, der auch schon oft angesprochen wurde, ist die uneinheitliche oder auch die fehlende Prüfung der Verhältnismäßigkeit durch den Ausstellungsstaat. Dieser Punkt liegt mir besonders am Herzen, weil hier nämlich oftmals durch systematische Ausstellungen des Haftbefehls, häufig wegen geringfügiger Vergehen, die eigentliche Intention des Europäischen Haftbefehls untergraben wird. So haben beispielsweise in Polen – auch das kam schon zur Sprache –, wo die meisten Europäischen Haftbefehle ausgestellt werden, die dortigen Justizbehörden schlichtweg nicht die Befugnis, nationale Verfahren einzustellen, weil es hier zu einem Automatismus kommt. Das kann meines Erachtens nicht Sinn der Sache sein. Deshalb sollte vor der Ausstellung eines Europäischen Haftbefehls geprüft werden, wie schwer die Straftat ist, was das zu erwartende Strafmaß ist und ob es ein weniger aufwändiges Verfahren gibt, und letztlich sollte vielleicht auch eine Kosten-Nutzen-Analyse vorgenommen werden, sodass geringfügige Vergehen eben bei kostenträchtigen Verfahren nicht verfolgt werden.

Konsequenz muss aus meinem Verständnis eben auch sein, dass wir die bestehenden Regelungen den Realitäten anpassen. Hierzu würde mich interessieren, welche Schritte Sie da vornehmen möchten.

 
  
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  Γεώργιος Παπανικολάου (PPE). - Κύριε Πρόεδρε, άκουσα με πολλή προσοχή τις τοποθετήσεις όλων των συναδέλφων. Ξεκινώ με την κοινή παραδοχή όλων μας ότι η καταπολέμηση του εγκλήματος δεν είναι μόνο εθνική υπόθεση, αλλά είναι και ευρωπαϊκή υπόθεση.

Το ευρωπαϊκό ένταλμα σύλληψης σηματοδότησε ένα σημαντικό βήμα προς τα εμπρός στην καταπολέμηση του εγκλήματος συμβάλλοντας στη δημιουργία ενός ευρωπαϊκού δικαστικού χώρου και στην καταπολέμηση του διασυνοριακού εγκλήματος και της τρομοκρατίας. Ενισχύει επίσης την ελεύθερη κυκλοφορία των προσώπων στο εσωτερικό της Ένωσης - κάτι που συζητάμε έντονα το τελευταίο διάστημα και σε σχέση με το ζήτημα της Συνθήκης του Σένγκεν - εξασφαλίζοντας ότι το άνοιγμα των συνόρων δεν αποβαίνει εις όφελος εκείνων που επιδιώκουν να ξεφύγουν από τη δικαιοσύνη.

Βεβαίως υπάρχουν και φωνές διαμαρτυρίας - και συντάσσομαι και εγώ με αυτά που είπε ο κ. Voss και άλλοι συνάδελφοι - σε ό,τι αφορά την ελλιπή και μη αναλογική εφαρμογή πολλές φορές σε εθνικό επίπεδο. Συζητήσαμε και για το κόστος και την αναλογικότητα και όλα όσα πρέπει να εφαρμόζουμε για να ενισχύσουμε το ένταλμα σύλληψης. Όμως υπενθυμίζω - και αυτό το αντιμετωπίσαμε και στην Ελλάδα πρόσφατα σε σημαντικές υποθέσεις - ότι ακόμη και σήμερα υπάρχουν άτομα που διώκονται για σοβαρά εγκλήματα απάτης και διαφθοράς σε κάποιο κράτος μέλος της Ένωσης και εξαφανίζονται ή καταφέρνουν να διαφύγουν και να αποφύγουν τη σύλληψη αξιοποιώντας διαφορετικές δικονομικές διατάξεις και διαφορετικές ρυθμίσεις στα διαφορετικά εθνικά δίκαια. Επομένως, δεν νομίζω ότι υπάρχει αμφιβολία σε ό,τι αφορά την αξία του ευρωπαϊκού εντάλματος σύλληψης.

Κλείνοντας, θα ήθελα να τονίσω ότι έχετε δίκιο, κυρία Επίτροπε, όταν λέτε ότι πρέπει να αξιοποιήσουμε όσο μπορούμε την Ιντερπόλ και να ενισχύσουμε την άντληση πληροφοριών από το σύστημα Σένγκεν. Πρέπει να υπάρχει όσο γίνεται στενότερη εναρμόνιση των κρατών μελών για να μπορέσουμε τελικά να έχουμε μια ευρωπαϊκή πολιτική εναρμονισμένη, σύγχρονη, αντάξια των περιστάσεων, όπως απαιτούν οι καιροί.

 
  
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  Joanna Katarzyna Skrzydlewska (PPE). - Europejski nakaz aresztowania ma służyć zapewnieniu porządku prawnego i bezpieczeństwa obywateli Unii Europejskiej. Swoboda przepływu osób nie może sprzyjać przestępcom unikającym odpowiedzialności za czyny karalne popełnione na terenie innego państwa członkowskiego. Jednak niepokojącym sygnałem dotyczącym stosowania nakazu jest niedawne sprawozdanie Komisji oraz wypowiedź komisarz Reding, że państwa członkowskie powinny dopilnować, by był on stosowany prawidłowo, a nakaz nie powinien być wydawany mechanicznie lub automatycznie w odniesieniu do stosunkowo drobnych przestępstw. Słowa te świadczą o nadużyciach, do których może dojść przy sięganiu przez wymiar sprawiedliwości po nakaz aresztowania. Dlatego w pełni popierając dążenia do zapewnienia maksymalnego poziomu bezpieczeństwa obywateli Unii, zwracam się do Komisji, by monitorowała stosowanie nakazu oraz podjęła działania zmierzające do wykluczenia nieprawidłowości przy korzystaniu przez sądy z tej instytucji procesowej.

 
  
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  Graham Watson (ALDE). - Mr President, I had the honour to be the rapporteur in this House when the European Arrest Warrant was approved in 2001 and 2002. Colleagues who were in the House at the time will recall that we urged the Commission and the Council to build more civil liberties safeguards into the legislation, and we secured from the Commission a commitment to a draft directive on the rights of defendants in criminal legal proceedings.

Not all of the safeguards we called for were inserted, and the draft directive on defendants’ rights sat for many years in the Council’s in-tray. The results of these omissions are at the root of this debate today. In 2002 Parliament had no powers of codecision in these matters. Nonetheless we believed that, on balance, the Arrest Warrant was the right move. As many speakers have said in this debate, the Arrest Warrant is a hugely valuable tool in the fight against cross-border crime. It has brought justice to many victims. Where problems have arisen, they have come from poor implementation into national law, from frivolous use of the warrant for petty crimes and from unacceptable conditions of detention.

All of these can, must and are being dealt with. I salute the authors of the oral questions today, with the exception of one who opposes all judicial cooperation, for speeding up the process of improving it.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). - Mr President, I too personally believe this whole debate needs a dose of common sense now.

I still believe that some sort of European Arrest Warrant is a necessary tool to fight crime and terrorism across the Union, particularly given the huge free movement of people now moving between Member States, including – sadly – criminals. I also believe that the number of errors or miscarriages is relatively small – but still too many. We must now not throw the baby out with the bathwater, which is what some of the colleagues in this House would like.

We need to seriously review the workings of the Arrest Warrant to include only a limited list of serious crimes – always satisfying the condition of double criminality – as being the only ones justiciable under the European Arrest Warrant. We must also respect fundamental human rights and include safeguards like habeas corpus.

The large majority of UK-surrendered individuals were actually, as it turned out, migrants from other States of the European Union charged with crimes – normally major crimes, not petty crimes. It is ironic that UKIP, which was opposed to their right to come to the UK in the first place, is now trying to make it extremely difficult and expensive for the British taxpayer to send them back to their countries to face justice.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (NI). - Herr Präsident! In den letzten Jahren kam es gerade bei trivialen Vergehen zu europäischen Haftbefehlen, etwa für den Diebstahl von zwei Autoreifen oder den Diebstahl eines Jungschweins. Von der ursprünglichen Anwendung gegen Terror und schwere Verbrechen ist keine Rede mehr.

Der europäische Haftbefehl steht für mich in klarem Widerspruch zum Subsidiaritätsprinzip. Er hebt die wichtigste Funktion der Staatsbürgerschaft, nämlich die Schutzfunktion auf, und die Mitgliedstaaten sind zur Auslieferung der eigenen Staatsbürger verpflichtet. Aufgrund der unterschiedlichsten Rechtssysteme in der Union besteht die Auslieferungspflicht teilweise auch unabhängig davon, ob die Tat im Auslieferungsstaat strafbar ist.

Der europäische Haftbefehl symbolisiert für mich das Konzept eines europäischen Staates und einer europäischen Unionsbürgerschaft zu Lasten der Souveränität der Mitgliedstaaten und zu Lasten der Rechte der Staatsbürger.

 
  
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  Sonia Alfano (ALDE). - Signor Presidente, signora Commissaria, il mandato d'arresto europeo rappresenta il primo strumento attivato nell'Unione europea grazie al quale si realizza il principio del reciproco riconoscimento delle decisioni penali. Tale strumento è e dovrà essere di fondamentale importanza , specie nel contrasto alle mafie e al crimine organizzato!

Nella relazione sul crimine organizzato, di cui sono relatrice in commissione LIBE, stiamo proponendo una serie di considerazioni e di richieste riguardanti proprio il mandato di arresto europeo: una delle principali richieste è che il MAE venga rafforzato e meglio applicato dagli Stati membri, tenendo presenti le esigenze e le peculiarità del contrasto al crimine organizzato.

Chiedo pertanto alla Commissione come intende procedere e se intende presentare una proposta per superare la discrezionalità degli Stati membri nel recepimento degli articoli 3 e 4 della decisione quadro riguardo i motivi di non esecuzione obbligatoria e di non esecuzione facoltativa? Riguardo ai motivi di non esecuzione facoltativa chiedo inoltre se non sia opportuno restringerli nel caso di reati tipicamente riconducibili al crimine organizzato, compreso il reato di associazione mafiosa, per il quale non deve in ogni caso valere la doppia incriminazione?

 
  
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  Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the Commission. − Mr President, there is general agreement in this House that the European Arrest Warrant is a positive tool and has served the European Union well and acted as a security.

The negative elements are in the implementation. Those negative elements have to be eliminated. The proposals which the Commission has put on the table for this purpose are the proportionality test, where we have to look at the seriousness of the offence, the length of the sentence which this offence would carry, and the cost/benefit of executing such an arrest warrant.

In order to make this proportionality test easier, the Commission will present an amended handbook as a guideline for the application of the proportionality test. Training, which is very high on the agenda for the coming weeks, months and years, will be very important because we have to train judges, prosecutors and lawyers in the application of our European rules. The minimum standards for suspects and accused persons, which are under implementation, are very important because they also apply to the European Arrest Warrant.

I agree with all those parliamentarians who have underlined the problem of prison conditions in Europe. I would like to tell them that next week the Commission will adopt a Green Paper on detention. National governments are responsible for detention issues and prison management, but the Commission’s role is to make sure that judicial cooperation works and fundamental rights of all citizens are upheld. That is why the Green Paper will kick off a public consultation, which will run until 30 November and will help to explore more closely the links between detention issues and mutual trust in Europe’s area of justice.

Everybody in this House knows that detention conditions have a direct impact on the smooth functioning of the mutual recognition of judicial decisions and are the basis for cooperation between judges in the EU. But the system is impeded if judges refuse – sometimes rightly so – to extradite accused persons because the detention conditions in the requesting country are substandard. We all know about prison overcrowding and the allegations of poor treatment of detainees. These factors undermine the trust that is necessary for judicial cooperation. The time that a person can spend in detention before being tried in court and during court proceedings varies a lot between Member States.

We have a lot of work ahead of us, and I know I can count on Parliament. I hope I can also count on the Member States.

 
  
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  Enikő Győri, President-in-Office of the Council. − Mr President, thank you very much for this debate. It is clear that an overwhelming majority says that it is good that we have a cooperation system for our judiciaries, the European Arrest Warrant. The system works. It is not perfect. It should be improved further. We are, of course, open to more efficient use and better implementation. I agree that mistakes, arrests of innocent people, etc., should be avoided. Better implementation is, I think, in the interests of us all.

I would be more specific on two outstanding issues which were raised several times during the debate.

First, on proportionality: just to make it clear, a European Arrest Warrant can be issued to prosecute offences which are punishable by at least 12 months’ imprisonment, or to execute a sentence to at least 4 months’ imprisonment. This has been standard extradition practice for at least 50 years. It is enough to mention the 1957 Council of Europe Convention on Extradition.

In the fourth round of mutual evaluations on the practical implementation of the European Arrest Warrant in all Member States, it was found that only in a few countries were there examples of issuing European Arrest Warrants for relatively minor offences. It seems that, in those few countries, the practice was to issue a European Arrest Warrant every time a national arrest order was issued. In general terms, I believe that we should only use the costly system of the European Arrest Warrant for more serious offences. I think that those who mentioned this were right.

Concerning prison conditions: the Member States are under a general obligation to ensure that prison conditions are in accordance with the basic tenets of human dignity and do not violate the prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment laid down in Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. If people are detained in violation of their basic human rights, they can take action before domestic courts and, later, before the European Court of Human Rights. It is doubtful whether Article 85 of the Treaty provides a legal basis for legislative action at EU level on prison conditions as such. However, we are, of course, awaiting the Green Paper which the Commissioner has just mentioned with great interest.

 
  
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  President. − The debate is closed.

Written statements (Rule 149)

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE), per iscritto. – Signor Presidente, a sette anni dall'entrata in vigore (1° gennaio 2004) della decisione quadro del Consiglio del 13 giugno 2002 sul mandato di arresto europeo (MAE) e sulle procedure tra Stati membri, la Commissione ha divulgato alcuni dati statistici raccolti tra il 2005 e il 2009 all'interno degli Stati membri. Prima dell'introduzione del mandato la durata media per l'estradizione dei ricercati era di un anno, mentre in questi quattro anni di applicazione del MAE è stato rilevato che circa il 50% dei ricercati ha acconsentito alla propria consegna dopo circa 15 giorni.

La necessità di fare il punto sull'attuazione e sul funzionamento del MAE è fondamentale in questo momento in cui si mette in dubbio il buon funzionamento del sistema Schengen e della possibilità di una sua sospensione. Non dimentichiamo che l'efficacia del MAE nella lotta alla criminalità transnazionale, al crimine organizzato e al terrorismo dipende dal principio del riconoscimento reciproco tra Stati membri, fondamento di un vero spazio giudiziario europeo e anche dal buon funzionamento dell'area Schengen.

Compromettere questo contesto vorrebbe dire fare un passo indietro piuttosto che concentrarsi sul miglioramento del recepimento della Decisione quadro, soprattutto sotto il profilo della tutela dei diritti fondamentali.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), por escrito. – O Mandado de Detenção Europeu foi instituído por uma decisão de 2002 e tem até agora, como aliás sublinha a Comissão num recente relatório, demonstrado ser um instrumento eficaz na luta contra o crime transfronteiriço, o crime organizado e o terrorismo. Porém, existem imperfeições no funcionamento do sistema: existe a possibilidade de que a sua reputação e eficácia sejam minadas por notícias da sua utilização para interrogatórios em vez de para acusação e execução de penas e em casos de delitos de pequena importância. Assim, afigura-se pertinente e de carácter urgente, que o Conselho tome as devidas medidas para garantir que o uso desproporcionado do mandado de detenção europeu seja circunscrito na prática. Para além disso, é conveniente assegurar o respeito efectivo dos direitos processuais, isto é, que as pessoas procuradas ao abrigo de um mandado de detenção europeu disponham de um direito efectivo a assistência jurídica tanto no Estado de emissão quanto no Estado de execução e que os padrões de justiça penal e as condições prisionais na União Europeia não sejam origem de desconfiança entre os sistemas judiciais dos Estados-Membros. Só assim poderemos falar de uma verdadeira eficácia e de um efectivo sucesso deste instrumento à escala europeia.

 
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