Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Orphans in Romania and Bulgaria

Delivered in Plenary - 14th January 2009

I would like this report to have looked more closely at the situation of orphans and disabled children in institutional care in Romania and Bulgaria, the newest EU Member States.

There was a great deal of concern before those countries joined the EU about the standards of care for institutionalised orphans and disabled children. Perhaps the next such report could go into more detail on this matter.

More generally, I made my thoughts on this report known in the debate last month. I am worried that our culture of human rights has become infected by absolutism and that, in fact, by pandering to the rights of criminals and terrorists we are undermining the rights of everyone else.

Specifically, I believe that matters concerning abortion and contraception are not matters for the European Union, but should be subject to appropriate legislation at the level of the Member States. Also, I object to the call for the Charter of Fundamental Rights to override the law of the United Kingdom, which has negotiated an exemption from its provisions.

I therefore voted to abstain on this report.