Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

EU fundamental rights agency will duplicate work of other bodies

28th April 2005

A proposed new EU fundamental rights agency would waste millions of pounds of British taxpayers' money and duplicate the work already carried out by NGOs and other existing bodies, Conservative Foreign Affairs spokesman in the European Parliament, Charles Tannock MEP, said today.

Dr Tannock criticised the need for such an agency during the debate on the annual report on human rights in the world at today's plenary session of the Parliament.

He said:

"This agency, costing millions of pounds, will, even if only restricted to the territory of the EU Member States, duplicate the work of existing bodies such as the Council of Europe and the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg but also the Office of the UN High Commissioner for human rights, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the annual reports by the European Parliament and the Council.

There are calls to extend its remit and increase its budget to cover candidate countries such as Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and Croatia but also possibly even the countries covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy, which includes countries as far away as Syria and Azerbaijan where human rights violations are a serious problem. This will lead to volumes of unnecessary reports and the employment of many expensive civil servants to tell us the information which is already available for free from NGOs and western governments."