Friday

31st Mar 2023

MEPs roast EU states and Solana for 'lies' on CIA

The European Parliament's committee on CIA activities in Europe has called for sanctions to be imposed on member states which have condoned violation of human rights by US intelligence and slammed the EU council [the member states' secretariat] for "trying to lie" to parliamentarians.

The final, strongly-worded report adopted Wednesday (23 January), demands "the council to start hearings and the European Commission an independent investigation without delay... [and] impose sanctions on member states in case of a serious and persistent breach of human rights".

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • MEPs have drawn up a pattern of secret CIA flights across Europe (Photo: Council of Europe)

"We expect the council to take up its responsibilities", Italian socialist Claudio Fava, in charge of the investigation, told journalists at the end of a 12-month Europe-wide search for hard evidence, with potential sanctions including suspension of voting rights in EU decision-making structures.

The committee was set up in response to allegations in late 2005 by NGO Human Rights Watch and US daily the Washington Post that the US routinely flies terror suspects through Europe to overseas prison camps where some of them face torture and that Poland and Romania housed CIA prisons for the covert programme.

Twenty eight committee members voted in favor of the report, 17 against and three abstained, with mainly conservatives opposing the text and with some MEPs calling it a "waste of time and tax payers' money".

"We are calling for Article 7 of the EU Treaty [allowing sanctions] to be set in motion, while the report is based on speculations," Italian conservative Jas Gawronski said.

Conservatives failed to soften criticism of European capitals and officials in the report, which roasts several member states for lack of cooperation, with Austria, Italy, Poland, Portugal and the UK at the top of the list in the name-and-shame campaign.

The council - including EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana - also came under some of the strongest fire, as MEPs revealed they were given only partial documents on EU meetings with high-level US officials, leaving out all the key notes regarding rendition flights.

"The council tried to lie to the European Parliament committee" Portuguese centre-right MEP and committee chairman Carlos Coelho said, underlining "you cannot have true cooperation between the three institutions if we [members of the European Parliament] are treated like this."

"Mr Solana clearly knew more than he revealed to MEPs," Mr Fava added.

But despite the tough wording several MEPs took a "realistic" approach to the potential consequences of the accusations.

"Given the fact that national governments failed to fully cooperate, I am skeptical that the report will invoke serious investigation and that sanctions could be on the table" a senior Dutch member of the CIA committee, Jan Marinus Wiersma told EUobserver.

MEPs in political infighting ahead of final CIA report

Just hours before the planned adoption of the European Parliament's report on illegal CIA activities on Tuesday, centre-right, socialist and liberal MEPs were embroiled in a squabble on how critical the report should be towards EU capitals and institutions.

Opinion

Biden's 'democracy summit' poses questions for EU identity

From the perspective of international relations, the EU is a rare bird indeed. Theoretically speaking it cannot even exist. The charter of the United Nations, which underlies the current system of global governance, distinguishes between states and organisations of states.

Opinion

Turkey's election — the Erdoğan vs Kılıçdaroğlu showdown

Turkey goes to the polls in May for both a new parliament and new president, after incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdoğan decided against a post-earthquake postponement. The parliamentary outcome is easy to predict — the presidential one less so.

Latest News

  1. Aid agencies clam up in Congo sex-for-work scandal
  2. Ukraine — what's been destroyed so far, and who pays?
  3. EU sending anti-coup mission to Moldova in May
  4. Firms will have to reveal and close gender pay-gap
  5. Why do 83% of Albanians want to leave Albania?
  6. Police violence in rural French water demos sparks protests
  7. Work insecurity: the high cost of ultra-fast grocery deliveries
  8. The overlooked 'crimes against children' ICC arrest warrant

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. InformaConnecting Expert Industry-Leaders, Top Suppliers, and Inquiring Buyers all in one space - visit Battery Show Europe.
  2. EFBWWEFBWW and FIEC do not agree to any exemptions to mandatory prior notifications in construction
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ways to prevent gender-based violence
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: Economic gender equality now! Nordic ways to close the pension gap
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: Pushing back the push-back - Nordic solutions to online gender-based violence
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: The Nordics are ready to push for gender equality

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us