Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-09-01-Speech-1-065"

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". − Madam President, Madam Dati, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, the process of European construction initially involved the communitisation of the economic area. However, step by step, the Community, this method idealised by Jean Monnet and its founders, has advanced into other areas in order to find common solutions to common problems. We have not yet reached the end of this long and difficult road, but must continue taking firm and decisive steps. One of the areas that causes us all complex and difficult problems within the European Union, now enlarged to 27 Member States and occupied by nearly 500 million people, is justice. Justice is one of the pillars of democracy and one of the instruments at the service of freedom. Democracy and freedom are two of the EU’s fundamental values. As a result, due to the challenges posed by the process of European construction itself and due to the new problems of modern life, justice has now, in my opinion, assumed critical importance. It demands particular attention from those of the EU’s institutions with responsibility for legislating, making decisions and giving political guidelines on this issue. Decisions rendered in the absence of defendants in criminal proceedings, known as decisions have different procedural solutions which vary a great deal from Member State to Member State. The situation is serious as these different procedural solutions form a permanent obstacle to the enforcement in one Member State of criminal decisions rendered in another Member State. This situation hinders, or even prevents, the application of the principle of mutual recognition and encourages an increase in crime and insecurity within the Union. We therefore welcome the legislative initiative of Slovenia, France, the Czech Republic, Sweden, the Slovak Republic, the United Kingdom and Germany, as received and welcomed by the Council. Its main aim is to lay down procedural rules on summoning people, retrials or appropriate appeals and legal representation. These rules will make criminal proceedings quicker and more efficient. They will also increase the effectiveness of the principle of mutual recognition, particularly in terms of the European arrest warrant and surrender procedures between Member States, and also the application of the principle of mutual recognition to financial penalties, confiscation orders and judgments in criminal matters imposing custodial sentences and other measures involving deprivation of freedom for the purpose of their enforcement in the European Union. The recognition and supervision of suspended sentences, alternative sanctions and conditional sentences must also be included. The report that I am presenting to the House today includes contributions from a large number of members of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. Various amendments were proposed by myself or by other colleagues, resulting in numerous compromise amendments and a firm consensus between Members of the PSE, PPE, ALDE, Verts/ALE and UEN Groups, such that there were only two votes against this report. Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, this report therefore contains amendments to the proposal for a Council framework decision which, in our opinion, technically enrich this and make it politically robust, particularly with regard to the procedures for summoning defendants and the guarantee of their rights of defence, the possibility of the defendant being represented in his absence and being represented by a legal counsellor appointed and paid by the State and also the possibility of a retrial or appropriate appeal, in accordance with national laws, to be instigated by the defendant already judged . Finally, I must highlight and express my thanks for the understanding and consensus of the political groups and I hope, and wish, that the outcome of the vote will at least match the broad consensus achieved."@en1

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