Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2002-10-22-Speech-2-239"

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"Mr President, our rapporteur, Mr Brok, who negotiated this agreement, has already stated that we are in a whole new area here. He also said that either party could propose that this agreement should be reviewed after two years. Nevertheless, on behalf of my own group, I should like to draw attention to the weaknesses of the arrangement right from the start. The agreement refers to the fact that it would be, as it were, inspired by best practices in Member States. This must mean that the European Parliament would be guaranteed an absolute right to inspect secret documents on security and defence policy, but I wish to raise the question as to whether this will in fact be the case. I am referring to the fact that this agreement allows the Council full powers to decide which documents it will in point of fact actually hand over to this small special committee of the European Parliament. I might imagine that the background to this is discussions held between the Council and NATO. In many respects it seems that the wishes and requirements of NATO have dictated the content of this agreement to a considerable degree. In my opinion, the interests of the European Parliament have not necessarily been taken into account. In my view, my fellow Members have quite rightly pointed out that the European Parliament cannot reserve for itself exclusive rights to implement democratic and public monitoring of foreign and defence policy on behalf of our citizens either. Sometimes I feel that when this agreement was negotiated it was thought that these matters were no business of the public, but that Parliament’s small, handpicked team would assume full responsibility for them. That is why I tabled the amendment the rapporteur has already mentioned. I should like to stress that the exceptions in the Rules of Procedure, which Members of the European Parliament must submit to on the basis of this agreement, must be strictly linked to confidential information as mentioned in the regulation on public access, that is to say ‘sensitive’ documents, and no others. Neither can the right of the Members of the European Parliament to obtain information concerning foreign and security policy, a right that is already guaranteed to them by virtue of Article 21 of the Treaty, be weakened by this agreement. Finally, it is extremely important to stress that, should confidential information contain any reference to some sort of criminal activity, nothing must be allowed to prevent a Member of the European Parliament from contacting the authorities. I would request that Amendment No 2, which is broader in scope that that proposed by the committee, be supported."@en1

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