EU needs to tell the truth about renditions

It is welcome that EU governments have at last agreed to heed the call issued by the European parliament five months ago to take in some released Guantánamo prisoners, even if it took them an extraordinarily long time (EU and US draw up plans for new counter-terrorism regime, 16 June). I join Jonathan Faull of the European commission in hoping that this heralds a new chapter in EU-US relations, namely “a resounding commitment to the rule of law in the fight against terrorism”. But this needs more than assertion to make it credible.

It is hard to be convinced that a commitment to the rule of law truly exists until we learn the full truth about post-2001 collusion with torture flights and secret prisons by EU countries, including the UK, Germany, Poland, Portugal and Spain. José Manuel Barroso seems set to be endorsed as European commission president again, but we have not had a full account of his role of Portugal’s complicity with Guantánamo and illegal rendition when he was that country’s prime minister from 2002 to 2004.

It is not acceptable to have EU-US deals on extradition, information collection and exchange, and border controls which are cooked up in secret and outwith the democratic control of the European and national parliaments. The so-called data protection arrangement is vague and quite inadequate to safeguard the privacy of individuals. We do need transatlantic cooperation to tackle terrorism and serious crime, since staying in our bunkers undermines our shared security. But there is a long way to go before the framework can be regarded as both democratic and human rights-compliant.
Sarah Ludford MEP
Lib Dem, London