Liblink: Sarah Ludford on the 12th anniversary of the European Arrest Warrant

The European Arrest warrant, allowing those suspected of crimes in one EU member state to be arrested anywhere in the EU, was agreed 12 years ago. Now under fire from a small group of (soft on crime?) Conservative MPs, Sarah Ludford MEP responds in the Huffington Post.

Since 2009, hundreds of suspects have been extradited back to the UK to face charges using the EAW, including 63 for child sex offences, 105 for drug trafficking, 27 for rape and 44 for murder, while 4,000 suspects have been sent to other countries. …

In fact, the EAW has become so integral to modern policing that the Association of Chief Police Officers describes it as a ‘vital’ tool in the fight against organised crime. That is why Liberal Democrats in government have fought hard in negotiations with our coalition partners to ensure the UK remains part of vital EU police and judicial cooperation including the EAW. We understand that in an era in which criminal gangs increasingly operate across borders, our police must have the tools required to bring them to justice.

We covered the exercise of the Lisbon Treaty opt-out earlier this year, when the EAW and other key measures of co-operation with the rest of the EU on crime and policing were protected. So there is a clear dividing line with many Conservatives advocating “tradition” – in this case the tradition of failing to co-operate effectively on crime – above bringing criminals to justice.

At the European elections next May, voters will face a fundamental choice about what kind of country they want Britain to be. An inward, backward-looking country that pulls up the drawbridge on its allies in Europe and attempts to navigate the challenges of the 21st century alone. Or one that is willing to embrace international cooperation in the fight against organised crime and new threats such as cyber-attacks, human-trafficking and online fraud. Liberal Democrats, as the ‘Party of In’, are unambiguous about which side of the fence we sit. We are pro-Britain, pro-Europe and pro-reform.

Read the full article here.

* Joe Otten was the candidate for Sheffield Heeley in June 2017, is a councillor in Sheffield and is Tuesday editor of Liberal Democrat Voice.

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2 Comments

  • Alex Macfie 16th Dec '13 - 5:57pm

    Sarah Ludford writes:

    “At the European elections next May, voters will face a fundamental choice about what kind of country they want Britain to be.”

    No it isn’t. The choice faced by voters inthe Euros will be about what type of Europe they want to be in — and not just in terms of the degree of integration, but in terms of the usual ideological issues like economics, social policy and, of course crime and civil liberties. How people vote next year will have no effect at all on UK policy specifically — in particular not on whether they UK stays in or leaves the EU, or on whether it opts in or out of particular EU legislation. These are matters for domestic policy, not for MEPs to decide.
    On the European Arrest Warrant, our campaign should focus on how the way it works in practice is illiberal. I know that Sarah does discuss this, but it needs to be the *main* thrust of our campaign on the issue. Not just “we need a cross-border justice system, oh, and it needs to operate in a liberal way,” but “Our cross-border justice system is illiberal, and needs fixing urgently.” This is an example of how our Euro campaign is all wrong — focusing on how great the EU is, rather than on how we would give a specifically liberal slant to EU law and policy,

  • David Rogers 17th Dec '13 - 8:20am

    Jeremy Forrest, Bishop Bell school, Eastbourne…

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