Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2002-06-10-Speech-1-097"

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". – Mr President, the issue of the reform of Rule 6 was raised first by the controversy surrounding the application by the Spanish courts to waive the immunity of two Italian Members of the European Parliament. The competence of the Spanish judges to file the application was challenged by Spanish ministers. This put the European Parliament into a quandary, not of its own making but one that was exacerbated by the weaknesses of its own rules and procedures. The proposals before us, passed after long deliberation by a large majority of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, have several ingredients. Firstly, we include a short clear statement of what privileges and immunities are in the modern context. That is to say, not to say to protect MEPs inclined to a life of crime but primarily, as Mr MacCormick has said, to ensure the dignity of the legislature as a place of independent and pluralistic debate. Secondly, we concede that there might be more than a single competent authority in some Member States and we permit the Committee on Legal Affairs and the Internal Market not only to give a reasoned opinion upon the matter of competence but also to prepare an indicative non-definitive list of such authorities. Thirdly, the duties of the President of Parliament are more clearly delineated from those of the Committee on Legal Affairs and the Internal Market. Fourthly, the procedures of the committee and the criteria that it will use to formulate its opinions are set out in some detail for the benefit of Members' courts and the public. Fifthly, provision is made for the rare occasions when a Member is obliged to assert a privilege or immunity before a court. I trust that all these provisions will equip Parliament to cope with privilege cases at the federal level coordinate with, but not subordinate to, national parliamentary regimes. The reforms comprise a clarification, as well as a formalisation, of the privileges and immunities system, thereby meeting the requirements of the Court of First Instance in a separate related case. More radical reform will depend on whether the Convention approaches an amendment of the 1965 Protocol, the formulation of a Members' Statute and, finally, the matter of improving Parliament's access to the court on the question of sanctions."@en1

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