Centre-right MEPs say CIA report unfairly tarnishes Poles
European Voice - 7 December 2006
By Judith Crosbie
Centre-right MEPs are to demand changes to parts of a report on CIA activity in Europe where Poland is criticised and accused of possibly hosting a secret detention centre.
MEPs from the centre-right EPP-ED group and the Union for Europe of the Nations (UEN) say there is no evidence that a secret detention centre was housed in Poland and that such statements should be taken out of the preliminary final report published last week.
“I would like to eliminate statements that are open,” said Konrad Szymański, Polish UEN MEP.
“It was good to question issues at the beginning but at the end we need to have clear knowledge.”
British EPP-ED MEP Charles Tannock said: “On Poland the accusations are serious, uncorroborated and unproven and should be dismissed.”
Jas Gawronski, Italian EPP-ED MEP, said some countries were criticised not for activities in which they were involved, but for not fielding high enough officials to meet the committee during their visits. “The Polish officials didn’t come, not because they had something to hide but because they didn’t have enough respect for the committee,” he said.
Tannock also took issue with suggestions by the report’s author, Italian Socialist MEP, Claudio Fava, that the Council of Ministers should consider suspending voting rights of some member states over their involvement in illegal detentions and rendition flights, as allowed under Articles 6 and 7 of the Treaty of Nice. “Calls by some members of the committee to use Article 6 or 7 against some member states are ludicrous. It would lead to the paralysis of the whole EU and ignores the right of member states to defend themselves against terrorism,” Tannock said.
Szymański said he wanted changes to criticisms in the report of the evidence given by EU’s foreign policy chief Javier Solana and counter terrorism co-ordinator Gijs de Vries. “I think they did a good job and it’s not their fault if they are not given the right tools,” he said.
The report is expected to get support from the Green, Liberal and Socialist groups, as well as from some centre-right members. “It’s a pretty hard-hitting report, he [Fava] goes as far as he can, in a sober fashion,” said UK Liberal MEP, Sara Ludford, who is vice chairwoman of the committee.
But the report is not final and evidence from a trip to Portugal this week to discuss stopover flights will be included. The final report will be voted on by the plenary on 23 January.