Gijs de Vries should do the honourable thing

7 February 2007

Gijs de Vries should do the honourable thing

The European Union's Counter-Terrorism Coordinator should resign immediately from his post. The report on secret CIA flights in EU airspace, which will be voted on at next week's Strasbourg European Parliament Plenary, makes it clear that Gijs de Vries was not aware that secret transports of suspected terrorists were taking place. Kartika Liotard, the SP Euro-MP who sits on the European Parliament's Committee on Legal Affairs and Citizen's Rights, said: "It appears to the SP that this makes it impossible for Mr de Vries to carry out the tasks required of him."

In a report of almost eighty pages, the Committee of Enquiry makes hard-hitting criticisms of the European institutions as well as of a number of member states. Certain highly-placed officials are named and blamed: NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer refused to talk to the Committee at all, while "Mister Europe" – High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy and Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union Javier Solana – was accused by the Parliament of having given false information and was also reluctant to ccoperate fully with the Committee of Enquiry.

Kartika Liotard"If it's true that Gijs de Vries was not aware of the secret CIA flights and detention centres, this can only mean that the member states involved must have deliberately kept him in the dark. In view of this it is of course impossible for him to do the work required of him in his role as Counter-Terrorism Coordinator. I haven't heard him complain much about this. If he was aware of these things, then he plainly lied to the parliament and he obviously can't remain in his post. In both cases it would be better if he did the honourable thing. A counter-terrorism coordinator can hardly function if he's lost credibility."

There have been previous criticisms of the lack of visibility of Gijs de Vries. After the bomb attacks on the London Underground, for example, he had absolutely nothing to say.

The European Parliament will vote on the Committee of Enquiry's report at its Plenary session in Strasbourg on 14th February.

You are here