The adoption today by the European Parliament of the report on a European
arrest warrant has worrying implications for civil liberties. This would mean
that judicial authorities in Member States would carry out each other's requests
for arrest and extradition, and would minimise safeguards regarding evidence.
A member state may be forced to extradite even for an offence which is not punishable
under its own criminal law.
Although this is an important instrument in the fight against terrorism, it is too early to implement it at the moment. There are still too many differences between Member States' legal systems to be able to safeguard our citizens' rights should this proposal be implemented in its current form - the case of the British plane spotters being held in Greece is a clear example of this. This is why I voted against the report in Parliament today.
I am however satisfied with the definition of terrorism, which is much more limited that that in the Commission's original proposal. It now does not leave opportunities open to the authorities for abuse of the definition, for example in relation to legitimate protest.
I trust that Council will act on Parliament's views.