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Europe D66 European Parliament

Discrimination against applicant countries must stop

   Mon 21/01/2002

Discrimination against the future member states of the EU must stop, especially in the field of justice cooperation. Dutch MEP Lousewies van der Laan, today protested at the unfair treatment of applicant countries in the EU´s justice projects "The Commission´s reasoning strikes me as illogical and condescending. Either we believe they are ready to fully participate and then we should make no disctinctions, or we do not, but in that case I wonder how the Commission can truly believe these countries can join in two years time. The EU should stop treating these countries as a retarded little brother and give them equal access to programmes that are crucial to fighting crime and ensuring our future European security."

Dutch MEP Lousewies van der Laan today raised objections to the dicriminatory treatment of the 13 candidate countries in various European justice programmes. There are different criteria for participation of the candidates in these programmes than for the current member states.

Whereas it is possible for two Members and one candidate to present a project together, two candidates may not present a project together with just one Member State. The European Commission justified this discrimination by stating that they fear candidates would otherwise be dominated or taken by the hand of that one member state.

"The Commission´s reasoning strikes me as illogical and condescending", protested Van der Laan, " Either we believe they are ready to fully participate and then we should make no disctinctions, or we do not, but in that case I wonder how the Commission can truly believe these countries can join in two years time. The EU should stop treating these countries as a retarded little brother and give them equal access to programmes that are crucial to fighting crime and ensuring our future European security."

Ms van der Laan, who represents the Dutch Democrats 66 Party is Vice President of the European Parliaments Committee for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. The two programmes currently under discussion are a Framework Programme on Police and Judicial Cooperaton in Criminal Matters and an Action Programme for Administrative Cooperation: external borders, visas, asylum and immigration.

 

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