Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Romanian adoption ban casts shadow over latest accession report

15th December 2005

STRASBOURG, 13 December 2005 -- Romania's ban on international adoptions casts a shadow over today's vote in the European Parliament on the country's EU accession process, Charles Tannock MEP, UK Conservative foreign affairs spokesman, said today.

Dr Tannock said that while the ban was not justification by itself for quibbling with Romania's bid, it was an unnecessary and retrograde step which punished around one thousand prospective couples hoping to adopt and dashed the hopes of thousands more children in Romania's orphanage system hoping for a better life.

MEPs were set to vote in favour of the Moscovici report, which highlighted Romania's progress towards accession - expected on 1 January 2007 - but underlined some areas in which action needs to be strengthened, notably anti-corruption and reform of the judiciary.

Dr Tannock said around one thousand couples - mainly from the EU, US and Israel - had been left stranded in an 'adoption pipeline' after the ban came into force in January 2005. He said that the ban was a particularly cruel blow to those prospective parents and the children with whom they had bonded and made plans for the future.

He criticised the UK Liberal Democrat MEP Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, whose strident support for Romania's adoption ban has caused consternation among prospective parents, raised eyebrows in diplomatic circles and even dismayed her own political allies.

Dr Tannock said:

"The ban is especially cruel for the couples who have been left stranded, having bonded with the children they were hoping to adopt and made plans for the future as a family.

"I hope Romania will rescind the ban. Many thousands of Romanian youngsters who were left to rot under the Ceaucescu regime were adopted by couples from third countries in the early 1990s. These children are now teenagers and adults and they benefited hugely from a positive adoption policy.

"Why the Romanian government now wants to close off that possibility to thousands of orphans as well as many would-be parents is beyond me.

"I can't understand why Baroness Nicholson appears to be so hostile to the idea of other prospective parents giving these youngsters a brighter future. It is literaly throwing out the baby with the bath water."