ALLIANCE of LIBERALS AND DEMOCRATS FOR EUROPE
Distribution: immediate - 11/11/2010
European Parliament sets its priorities ahead of EU-US summit
Commenting after today´s (Thursday 11 November) vote on the European Parliament's position on the forthcoming EU-US Summit and Transatlantic Economic Council,
UK Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford, Vice Chair of the Parliament's US Delegation, said:
“The transatlantic relationship, Europe's most important and one that Liberals value highly, should become a more strategic partnership involving both MEPs and Congress as serious players. It will best thrive when anchored ambitiously in principles of freedom, both of commerce and of people. Not only must we redouble our efforts to remove trade and regulatory barriers and complete the transatlantic free market by 2015, but also human rights and the rule of law must be prioritised in defence of political freedom.
"George Bush's renewed justification of torture sums up much that went wrong in the disastrous 8 years of his presidency and made the West both less free and less secure. The emerging widespread evidence of apparent mistreatment by US and British troops of Iraqi detainees demands examination at the highest level, including discussion at the EU-US summit.
“It is vital to cooperate in combating terrorism and major crime. But transfers of data must be subject to firm safeguards, and an umbrella EU-US data protection agreement is a great prize as it will obviate the wearisome series of sectoral battles fighting about privacy standards on each data-sharing demand."
Dutch MEP Marietje Schaake (D66), who also worked on the resolution, added: "Both the EU and the US need to work transparently, respect each other's independence and subject their actions to democratic scrutiny. "The transatlantic relationship is marked by complementarity and co-ordination. We need to be able to discuss openly and honestly controversial issues such as internet freedom, leaked documents on torture, and pressure by the US on European companies to take sanctions beyond those taken by the EU regarding Iran."