13th February 2014: This morning at the European Parliament in Brussels, Andrew Brons made this second contribution a debate in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) on the special report of the Ombudsman concerning FRONTEX.
"It is customary to say that human rights are indivisible and must be held equally by all. Some clearly and self-evidently are: Article 4 on the prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment for example.
"People can, by their conduct and suspected conduct, place themselves in a category in which they can legitimately be treated differently. People suspected of being an illegal migrant or irregular migrant as you might like to call them, lose certain rights by virtue of that status. They cannot be expected to be able to roam freely throughout the Union.
"FRONTEX officials must question illegal migrants, forcefully though not forcibly, about their origins, especially when they have destroyed their documents quite deliberately. They must detain them in order to do that.
"Rescue at sea was mentioned earlier. I am, of course, wholly in favour of people, in danger, being rescued – indeed of there being a duty to rescue them. However, upon being rescued they should not be rewarded by being brought to Europe. They should indeed be returned to their countries of origin or to the countries from which they have embarked.
"The problem is that when in Europe they are either permitted to stay or refused permission but allowed to stay anyway! We heard a representative of FRONTEX, a couple of years ago, who said that refused asylum seekers were not forcibly returned but simply handed a piece of paper and asked, very kindly, if they would leave the European Union.
"We cannot give people the job of protecting the EU’s frontiers and then place them in the firing line of malicious complaints. I believe that all relations between officials and migrants must be recorded to prevent this from happening.
"I find it sinister that complaints are sometimes made, not by the migrants themselves but by NGOs on behalf of the migrants but without the authority of the migrants.
"Employers have a responsibility in civil law for the wrongful actions of their employees, because they can discipline them and even dismiss employees who act wrongly. However, they are not usually responsible for the actions of people over whom they have no control. The idea that FRONTEX should be responsible for the employees of member states is preposterous."
13th February 2014: This morning at the European Parliament in Brussels, Andrew Brons made the following contribution a debate in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) on the special report of the Ombudsman concerning FRONTEX.
"The principle of non–refoulement is sending a blank cheque to accept as many people from dangerous countries as turn up on our shores. If we take that to the logical or illogical conclusion then we cannot tolerate the existing populations of those countries remaining there.
"We had better bring the whole populations of all of the dangerous countries in the world to Europe and then watch it sink."
13th February 2014: Yesterday at the European Parliament in Brussels, Andrew Brons made the following contribution a debate after a presentation from Cecelia Malmström on an EU Anti-Corruption Report.
(A report into corruption in the public and the private sectors in all twenty-eight EU member states but excluding corruption in EU institutions)
"Would you restrict the term 'corruption' to positive incentives provided for changing a decision - whether economic or political - or would you extend it to threats - for example of disclosure - particularly relevant to people who have life styles that make them vulnerable?
"To what extent do countries - that is political states - use financial incentives to influence political parties, governments or individuals? There was an example in the UK about ten years ago, in which a generous political donor, with close connections to a country that had contentious relations with its neighbours, was found to have donated funds to the campaigns of all of the candidates for a senior position in a political party. This was quite an eye opener. It was not so much an attempt to influence the outcome, as it was to buy the loyalty of whoever won.
"Is corruption sometimes, at least in the beginning, so subtle as to be barely perceptible - invitations, flatter and attention, rather than hard cash in sealed envelopes? Do all decision takers need to be trained to recognise it?
"I have never been approached to take a corrupt decision but that might be attributable to my complete lack of power or influence. I have never regarded lack of opportunity to be a sign of virtue!"
Response from the Commissioner:
She said that she and her colleagues used the UN definition of 'abuse of power for private gain', which would seem to exclude threats and would not include donations to parties, though it might extend to personal campaigns within parties, such as the one mentioned.
13th February 2014: Yesterday at the European Parliament in Brussels, Andrew Brons put the following questions to Dr Marianne Wade who gave a presentation to the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) on on developing a Criminal Justice Area in the European Union.
"Would you agree that courts in the executing country of a European Arrest Warrant should be able to refuse to execute a warrant for lack or insufficiency of evidence?
"I am not an enthusiast for the EU and neither am I a supporter of the European Arrest Warrant. I would not normally be a supporter of the proposed European Investigation Order. However, I am inclined to think that as long as the European Arrest Warrant exists and applies to the United Kingdom, a European Investigation Order might serve to reduce the issuing of European Arrest Warrants in the weakest of cases. Would I be right to suppose that?"
Response from Dr Wade:
Dr. Wade said that she would prefer the decision to issue the warrant and the decision to execute it to take place at the same time. She did not say directly whether the court in the executing country should be allowed to refuse extradition on the ground of insufficient evidence.