Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-01-15-Speech-2-365"

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"Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the issue that we are discussing tonight has been examined in detail, on more than one occasion I may say, by the Committee on Legal Affairs, which I have the honour to chair, and that Committee has asked me, through this question, to open a discussion and to exchange views with the Commission. The question relates to the status of MEPs elected in Poland, who are not in the same position from the point of view of elections and all the provisions that govern the elections of other parliamentarians in other Member States. Elections to the European Parliament in Poland are in practice governed by the Act of 23 January 2004, Article 9 of which sets out eligibility requirements: candidates must be aged 21 on the day of the poll, must not have been convicted of criminal offences, must be resident in Poland and must satisfy various other criteria. Chapter 17 of that Act sets out the circumstances in which Polish MEPs may lose their seats: their eligibility, that is the eligibility requirements on the day of the poll, may be invalidated, giving rise to the possibility of forfeiture if these requirements were not met, and various other matters, which I shall not cite in order to get to the crux of the matter that I should like to discuss here. On the basis of a number of combined provisions, as we lawyers say, an MEP automatically loses his seat – that is, an MEP automatically forfeits that seat – if he or she has received a criminal conviction; in the case of members of the Polish Parliament, the law of 12 April 2001 – both as regards elections to the Sejm and to the Senate of the Republic – contains no provision of this type, with the result that these provisions relate to Polish MEPs but not to Polish MPs. For that reason, we discussed the question and asked ourselves a question, a question which among other things has repercussions as regards requests for immunity; as you know, we have – as Commissioner Frattini is very well aware – the power to decide on this question. Clearly, if a member automatically forfeits his or her seat as a result of an event for which immunity cannot be upheld, there is obviously a further problem, a further uncertainty. For that reason, we ask, and I ask on behalf of the Committee, the Commissioner whether or not he considers that the Polish legislation on elections to the national parliament breaches Article 10 of the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities, which states that during the sessions of the European Parliament, its members shall enjoy the immunities accorded to members of their Parliament in the territory of their own State. There is therefore a clear inconsistency if provision is made for a Polish member to lose his or her seat, when members of the national parliament are not treated in the same way. I would also ask the Commission if it intends to bring proceedings before the Court of Justice with a view to Poland amending this legislation and correctly applying the treaty, as it would seem that the treaty is not being applied as it should be. As an exception is involved, and as the comparable and equal treatment of members from all the Member States means that this exception for members from the Polish state runs completely counter to what may be provided and is provided for all other members from the Member States, I would ask the Commission these two things and put this information before Parliament and ask whether the Commissioner can reply to these two questions and whether it is possible to find a remedy to the questions I have put."@en1

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