I spoke in the debate on Wednesday on the European Arrest Warrant. I praised Sarah Ludford for her work on a report which calls for a much-needed dose of realism on the measure. Whilst I believe the EAW is a useful tool for our law enforcement agencies, I believe it needs serious reform. Most of the points I made were to do with proportionality, i.e.
- The EAW was not designed to leave a person to languish in a jail without sight of a trial;
- It was not intended to make an individual subject to years of inconvenience and questioning through an outdated request;
- and it was never put in place to prosecute the most trivial of petty crimes.
Whilst these instances are the exception rather than the rule, they are exceptions that should not be tolerated. It is the duty of the European Commission, this Parliament and Member State governments to restore confidence in this instrument through meaningful reform. I hope the rest of this Parliament will fight for highest standards of protection for a fair trial and judicial proportionality checks, so that we can safeguard the continuation of an instrument which makes people safer, and punishes serious criminal acts.
This week the Tobacco Products Directive was back on the agenda. There has generally been quite a positive reaction to the proposals, but many MEPs, when looking at the details, feel it is a classic example of over-regulation. We had the final vote on the report, and I personally baulked at the 14 pages of additional red tape on E-cigs. This was a 'ban' in all but name and means the refillable E-cigs will probably not continue to be viable. It's a pity because there is evidence to suggest that it helps people to quit cigarettes, which are surely more harmful.
My colleagues and I 'fuming' about E-cigs!
My colleague Marina Yannakoudakis MEP, who represents London, was also busy with two campaigns. She has been leading for the ECR Group on the issue of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and I have given her my support. A report calling for more action to end the practice in Europe was adopted this week.
Mrs Yannakoudakis also issued a challenge to her fellow London MEP Mary Honeyball to drop misguided proposals for the EU to regulate prostitution – and instead to back her own more-targeted plans to tackle human trafficking and the child-sex trade. The Honeyball proposals sought to create a uniform set of rules to regulate prostitution across Europe – and she directly attacks Britain for its laws against prostitution.