Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Extraordinary rendition

Delivered in Plenary - 14th February 2007

Mr President

I was opposed to the Temporary Committee from the very start. It has proven to be an expensive exercise. We do not have any figures, but I estimate the cost to be over EUR 1 million. It has duplicated Senator Marty’s efforts in the Council of Europe and has produced nothing substantially new which was not already in the public domain. Regrettably, the Left and Liberals cannot resist an opportunity to bash NATO and the United States, which, in spite of making mistakes, remains a democracy that shares European common values and is our ally in the fight against global terrorism.

The Fava report is heavy on allegations and accusations, but light on conclusive proof. Inevitably, some mistakes and excesses may have occurred, but in my opinion there was no systematic US policy for extraordinary renditions to illegally torture abductees in third countries, or any proof of the existence of CIA detention camps in Romania or Poland. Where there is evidence of wrongdoing, such as in Italy, the national criminal justice systems have kicked in and started prosecutions. Simple renditions of illegal combatant terrorist suspects through EU territory are a proven fact, but are not necessarily illegal in international law where torture is not involved, and diplomatic assurances to the Member States do offer safeguards in extradition cases to third countries.

The report also seeks to extend the powers of the European Parliament into areas like security and counter-terrorism, which are more properly the remit of national parliaments and governments. I particularly dislike the request that the British Government extend consular protection to former UK residents who had not bothered to become citizens, but chosen instead to travel to dangerous parts of the world. This is contrary to all the traditional obligations and rights of citizenship of our Member States. Finally, calls for Article 6 and 7 sanctions against Member States are totally unacceptable in my view.
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