Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-01-16-Speech-3-267"

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"− Madam President, President-in-Office of the Council, Vice-President of the Commission, I would also like to thank you for your words and for your support. I would like to finish with sincere thanks to my colleagues from all the political groups for their valuable contributions, and, in particular, I would like to mention the negotiating efforts of Mr Moraes, Mr Alvaro and Mr Fava, and the contributions of Mrs Buitenweg and Mr Catania. I would like to start by asking for a commitment from the Council to this House for the decision that we are debating to be reviewed by the European Parliament no more than six months after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. As an MEP I strongly defend the broadening of Parliament’s powers, especially those which, in the foreseeable future, will give this House the essential capacity as joint legislator in such important matters as are those concerning the area of freedom, security and justice. However, I also believe that Parliament cannot make its work dependent on the anticipated entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, or suspend it on this basis. Our work therefore needs to continue. We need to continue with the process that is underway and use it in two ways: to be more effective in the fight against crime and to decisively claim the powers of the European Parliament. Crime is dynamic and is constantly changing, therefore Europol and the other EU instruments to protect the safety of its citizens need to adapt more quickly to the changing times. The Convention of July 1995 is obsolete, so it is crucial for the Europol Decision, with its numerous advances, to enter into force quickly in order to provide better protection for EU citizens. Keeping the system of protocols for amending the Convention is an absolutely anachronistic process. The new proposal that I am putting forward for debate introduces substantial changes. Firstly, by means of a Council decision based on Article 34(2) of the EU Treaty, it puts forward a much more flexible instrument. Secondly, the proposal puts forward significant fundamental changes such as converting the Office into a European agency, which will mean giving its staff the status of EU officials and financing it from the Community budget, which is desirable. Another significant change is the extension of the scope of Europol’s power to cover non-organised crime. The independent Data Protection Officer is another important step forward in terms of monitoring and guarantees. The work done by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs has fulfilled two objectives. First amending the Council’s proposal in order to give Europol a specific framework for the protection of personal data and, with this in mind, I would like to highlight the need for the Council to adopt the proposal for a framework decision on this as soon as possible. Secondly, giving Parliament greater control over Europol’s activities; in order to do this, we have proposed creating of an ad hoc committee made up of members of this House and of national parliaments, involving the European Parliament in the process of appointing and dismissing the Director, as well as other measures aimed at ensuring budgetary control over the new agency and its programme of work. I sincerely believe that the proposals adopted in our parliamentary committee improve the Council’s original document, which otherwise makes a great deal of changes. This is why, President-in-Office of the Council, I ask for your support for our report."@en1

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