BETA


2006/2200(INI) Alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners

Progress: Procedure completed

RoleCommitteeRapporteurShadows
Lead TDIP FAVA Claudio (icon: PSE PSE)
Lead committee dossier:
Legal Basis:
RoP 207

Events

2007/04/30
   EC - Commission response to text adopted in plenary
Documents
2007/03/21
   EC - Commission response to text adopted in plenary
Documents
2007/02/14
   EP - Results of vote in Parliament
2007/02/14
   EP - Debate in Parliament
2007/02/14
   EP - Decision by Parliament
Details

The European Parliament adopted a resolution based on the own-initiative report drafted by Giovanni Claudio FAVA (PES, IT) on the Temporary Committee’s findings on alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners. The report, which deplores the passivity of some Member States in the face of illegal CIA operations, as well as the lack of co-operation from the EU Council of Ministers, was approved with 382 votes in favour, 256 against with 74 abstentions.

The main points of the report were as follows:

- CIA flights: Parliament agreed with the Temporary Committee and concluded that "at least 1 245 flights operated by the CIA flew into European airspace or stopped over at European airports between the end of 2001 and the end of 2005". It regretted that European countries had been "turning a blind eye" to such flights, which, "on some occasions, were being used for extraordinary rendition or the illegal transportation of detainees." The report stressed that working documents published by the Temporary Committee provided "strong evidence of the extraordinary renditions analysed by the committee, as well as of the companies linked to the CIA, the aircraft used by the CIA and the European countries in which the CIA aircraft made stopovers". Parliament mentioned up to 21 cases of extraordinary rendition in which rendition victims were transferred through a European country or were residents in a European state at the time of their kidnapping. Bearing this in mind, the report "calls on the countries of Europe to compensate the innocent victims of extraordinary rendition". It went on to state that the CIA has been using civil aviation rules to bypass the legal obligations for state aircraft, including those operated by the military and the police, as provided in the Chicago Convention.

Parliament condemned extraordinary rendition as an illegal instrument used by the United States in the fight against terrorism, and also condemned the condoning and concealing of the practice, on several occasions, by the secret services and governmental authorities of certain European countries. It called on the Council and the Member States to issue a clear and forceful declaration calling on the US Government to put an end to the practice of extraordinary arrests and renditions, in line with the position of Parliament.

- Secret detention facilities: the report expressed deep concern that, in some cases, "temporary secret detention facilities in European countries may have been located at US military bases". It emphasised that the concept of "secret detention facility" included "not only prisons, but also all places where somebody is held incommunicado, such as private apartments, police stations or hotel rooms" - as in the well-publicised case of Khaled El-Masri in Skopje. In an amendment passed with a narrow majority (356 to 323), MEPs noted that, in light of the available circumstantial evidence, it was not possible to acknowledge or deny that secret detention centres were based in Poland. However, seven of the fourteen detainees transferred from a secret detention facility to Guantánamo in September 2006 coincide with those mentioned in a report by ABC News (published in December 2005) listing the identities of twelve top Al Qaeda suspects held in Poland.

- Possible use of torture: the report recalled that the programme of extraordinary rendition is an extra-judicial practice "whereby an individual suspected of involvement in terrorism is illegally abducted.....and/or transported to another country for interrogation which, in the majority of cases, involves incommunicado detention and torture". This was confirmed by the victims - or their lawyers - who gave testimony to the committee. In light of the available evidence, the report noted that there was a strong possibility that some European countries may have received, knowingly or unknowingly, information obtained under torture. Parliament took note of the testimony to the Temporary Committee by Craig Murray, former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan, on the exchange of intelligence obtained under torture and the legal opinion of Michael Wood, former legal advisor to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It expressed its concern about Michael Wood's legal opinion, according to which receiving or possessing information extracted under torture, insofar as there is no direct participation in the torture, is not per se prohibited by the UN Convention against Torture of 1989. Parliament condemned any attempt to obtain information by means of torture, regardless of who is involved.

-Lack of cooperation: Parliament denounced the lack of cooperation of many Member States, and of the Council of the EU towards the Temporary Committee. It stressed that the behaviour of Member States, and in particular the Council and its Presidencies, fell far below the standard that Parliament was entitled to expect. The serious lack of concrete answers to the questions raised by victims, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the media and parliamentarians only served to strengthen the validity of already well-documented allegations. In addition, it was wholly unacceptable that the Council should first have concealed and then, at Parliament's request, only supplied piecemeal information on the regular discussions held with senior officials of the US Government, asserting that this was the only available version. These shortcomings of the Council implicate all Member State governments since they have collective responsibility as members of the Council.

The national governments specifically criticised for their unwillingness to cooperate with Parliament's investigations are those of Austria, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Britain. The report also gave detailed evidence of investigations of illegal rendition or CIA flight cases involving Bosnia, Cyprus, Denmark, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Germany, Greece, Ireland, Romania, Spain, Sweden and Turkey.

Parliament also expressed its concern about the omissions in the statements made to the Temporary Committee by the Council and its Secretary-General, regarding the Council's discussions and knowledge of the methods used by the United States in its campaign against terrorism. It deplored the fact that he was unable to supplement the evidence already in the possession of the Temporary Committee. Parliament questioned too the real substance of the post of EU Counter-terrorism Coordinator occupied by Gijs de Vries, since he was unable to give satisfactory answers to the questions raised by the Temporary Committee. It was of the opinion that a revision and strengthening of his competence and power, as well as the increased transparency and monitoring of his activities by Parliament must be undertaken in the near future. Parliament also criticised the lack of cooperation evinced by the Director of the European Police Office (Europol), Max-Peter Ratzel, and expressed its deep concern about the refusals of the former and current Secretaries-General of NATO, Lord Robertson and Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, to appear before the Temporary Committee.

Policy recommendations: Parliament made a series of specific political and legal recommendations and went on to state that it expected the Council to put pressure on all the governments concerned to give full and thorough information to the Council and the Commission and, where necessary, to start hearings and commission an independent investigation without delay. It recalled the principles and values on which the EU based, as provided in Article 6 of the TEU, and called on the EU institutions to meet their responsibilities in relation to Article 7 of the TEU all other relevant provisions of the Treaties, and to take all appropriate measures in the light of the conclusions of the work of the Temporary Committee. Parliament also instructed its Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs to follow up politically the proceedings of the Temporary Committee and to monitor the developments. If no appropriate action had been taken by the Council and/or the Commission, the committee must determine whether there was a clear risk of a serious breach of the principles and values on which the EU is based, and recommend any resolution, taking as a basis Articles 6 and 7 of the TEU, which may prove necessary in this context.

Documents
2007/02/14
   EP - End of procedure in Parliament
2007/01/30
   EP - Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
Documents
2007/01/30
   EP - Committee report tabled for plenary
Documents
2007/01/23
   EP - Vote in committee
Details

The Temporary Committee set up to investigate the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners adopted its final report, drafted by Giovanni Claudio FAVA (PES, IT). The key points of the report are as follows:

- CIA flights : the Temporary Committee concluded that "at least 1 245 flights operated by the CIA flew into European airspace or stopped over at European airports between the end of 2001 and the end of 2005". It regretted that European countries had been "turning a blind eye" to such flights, which, "on some occasions, were being used for extraordinary rendition or the illegal transportation of detainees." The report stressed that working documents published by the Temporary Committee provided "strong evidence of the extraordinary renditions analysed by the committee, as well as of the companies linked to the CIA, the aircraft used by the CIA and the European countries in which the CIA aircraft made stopovers". The committee mentioned up to 21 cases of extraordinary rendition in which rendition victims were transferred through a European country or were residents in a European state at the time of their kidnapping. Bearing this in mind, the report "calls on the countries of Europe to compensate the innocent victims of extraordinary rendition".

Committee members condemned extraordinary rendition "as an illegal instrument used by the United States in the fight against terrorism" and also condemned the "acceptance and concealing of the practice, on several occasions, by the secret services and governmental authorities of certain European countries". They called on the Council and the Member States "to issue a clear and forceful declaration calling on the US Administration to put an end to the practice of extraordinary arrests and renditions, in line with the position of Parliament".

- secret detention facilities : the report expressed the committee's deep concern that, in some cases, "temporary secret detention facilities in European countries may have been located at US military bases". It emphasised that the concept of "secret detention facility" included "not only prisons, but also all places where somebody is held incommunicado , such as private apartments, police stations or hotel rooms" - as in the well-publicised case of Khaled El-Masri in Skopje. In an amendment passed with a one-vote majority (23 to 22), committee members noted that, in light of the available "circumstantial evidence", "it is not possible to acknowledge that secret detention centres were based in Poland". However, the report did note that the names of seven of the fourteen detainees transferred from a secret detention facility to Guantánamo in September 2006 coincided with those of top Al Qaeda suspects (as cited in an ABC News report in December 2005) allegedly held in Poland.

- possible use of torture : the report recalled that the programme of extraordinary rendition is an extra-judicial practice "whereby an individual suspected of involvement in terrorism is illegally abducted.....and/or transported to another country for interrogation which, in the majority of cases, involves incommunicado detention and torture". This was confirmed by the victims - or their lawyers - who gave testimony to the committee. In light of the available evidence, the report noted that "there is a "strong possibility that some European countries may have received, knowingly or unknowingly, information obtained under torture".

- lack of cooperation : MEPs also deplored the lack of cooperation of many Member States and of the Council of the EU towards the temporary committee and said that "the serious lack of concrete answers to the questions raised by victims, NGOs, the media and parliamentarians has only strengthened the validity of already well-documented allegations". They criticised the Council for initially withholding - and then providing only partial fragments of - information pertaining to regular discussions with high-level US officials and said that this was "wholly unacceptable". The report said that such "shortcomings" of the Council "implicate all Member State governments since they have collective responsibility as members of the Council.

The national governments specifically criticised for their unwillingness to cooperate with Parliament's investigations are those of Austria, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Britain. The report also gave detailed evidence of investigations of illegal rendition or CIA flight cases involving Bosnia, Cyprus, Denmark, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Germany, Greece, Ireland, Romania, Spain, Sweden and Turkey.

MEPs also complained about "omissions" in statements by Javier Solana, the Council's High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, regarding the Council’s discussions on fighting terrorism with US representatives. They added that the EU Counter-terrorism Co-ordinator Gijs de Vries was "unable to give satisfactory answers", and said that his competences and powers should be strengthened and should be monitored by the European Parliament.

- policy recommendations : looking ahead to the end of the committee's mandate, and acknowledging that its conclusions are not "exhaustive", the report encouraged governments and/or national parliaments to launch (or to pursue) independent investigations. It also called on Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee to follow up the proceedings of the Temporary Committee, to monitor developments and, if necessary, to recommend sanctions under EU Treaty Article 7 against Member States found to be in breach of EU fundamental rights. Lastly, the report called for the closure of Guantánamo and urged EU states "to immediately seek the return of their citizens and residents who are being held illegally by US authorities".

2007/01/08
   EP - Amendments tabled in committee
Documents
2006/11/23
   EP - Committee draft report
Documents
2006/01/26
   EP - FAVA Claudio (PSE) appointed as rapporteur in TDIP
2006/01/18
   EP - Committee referral announced in Parliament

Documents

Activities

Votes

Rapport Fava A6-0020/2007 - am. 39 #

2007/02/14 Outcome: -: 388, +: 274, 0: 29
PL LV IE HU SK SI LU IT DE MT EE FI AT ES BG CY LT SE RO GB BE DK CZ NL PT EL FR
Total
52
9
10
21
14
5
6
72
90
5
5
12
16
49
9
5
12
14
28
71
20
12
21
27
21
19
66
icon: PPE-DE PPE-DE
245

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3

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3

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3

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2

Estonia PPE-DE

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1

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3

Cyprus PPE-DE

2

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1

Belgium PPE-DE

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Abstain (1)

5
icon: UEN UEN
41

Ireland UEN

3

Lithuania UEN

2

Denmark UEN

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1
icon: ITS ITS
16
2

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1
3

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1

Belgium ITS

2
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13

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3

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3

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39

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5

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Rapport Fava A6-0020/2007 - par. 42/2 #

2007/02/14 Outcome: +: 377, -: 279, 0: 33
FR BE PT EL RO NL DK ES AT LT SE CY DE FI EE BG IT MT SI LU IE SK GB HU LV CZ PL
Total
66
21
21
19
26
27
12
50
17
13
15
5
89
13
5
5
73
5
6
6
11
12
70
20
9
21
52
icon: PSE PSE
194

Lithuania PSE

2

Estonia PSE

2

Slovenia PSE

For (1)

1

Luxembourg PSE

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1

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1

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2
icon: ALDE ALDE
84

Denmark ALDE

Abstain (1)

3

Spain ALDE

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2

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1

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2

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1

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2

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2

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1

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1

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1
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40

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2

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38

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2
3

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1

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2

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12

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1

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2

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1
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20

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2

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41

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244
5

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3

Rapport Fava A6-0020/2007 - am. 260 #

2007/02/14 Outcome: -: 529, +: 95, 0: 34
EL CY DK EE PT LU MT SK LV IE SI BG FI CZ HU SE AT LT NL BE RO ES PL DE FR IT GB
Total
18
2
10
4
17
5
5
12
8
11
7
7
11
20
17
17
16
13
25
20
26
49
47
85
68
71
67
icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE
40

Denmark Verts/ALE

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1

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1

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1

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2

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2

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2

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5
icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL
34

Denmark GUE/NGL

1

Portugal GUE/NGL

3

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1

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1

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2

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1

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2
icon: IND/DEM IND/DEM
20

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1

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12

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3

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1

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3

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2
icon: ITS ITS
15

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1

Belgium ITS

2

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1

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1
icon: UEN UEN
40

Denmark UEN

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1

Lithuania UEN

2
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78

Cyprus ALDE

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1

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2

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icon: PSE PSE
181

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2

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Rapport Fava A6-0020/2007 - am. 48 #

2007/02/14 Outcome: -: 361, +: 333, 0: 17
PL HU CZ DE LV GB SK IE EL IT SI LU MT CY FI AT EE BG LT ES SE PT BE NL DK RO FR
Total
53
21
21
89
9
72
14
11
20
73
7
6
5
5
13
18
5
10
13
52
17
22
21
26
12
29
67
icon: PPE-DE PPE-DE
256

Ireland PPE-DE

3

Luxembourg PPE-DE

3

Malta PPE-DE

2

Cyprus PPE-DE

2

Estonia PPE-DE

For (1)

1
2
icon: UEN UEN
42

Lithuania UEN

2

Denmark UEN

For (1)

1
icon: ITS ITS
15

United Kingdom ITS

For (1)

1
2

Austria ITS

For (1)

1

Belgium ITS

2
3
icon: IND/DEM IND/DEM
21

Poland IND/DEM

2

Czechia IND/DEM

1

Ireland IND/DEM

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1

Greece IND/DEM

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1

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2

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2

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1

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2
icon: NI NI
13

Czechia NI

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1

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2

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3

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1
icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL
38

Ireland GUE/NGL

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1

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2

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1

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2

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3

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2

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1

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2
icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE
41

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1

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5

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2

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1

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2

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1

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2

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1
icon: ALDE ALDE
88

Hungary ALDE

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1

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1

Ireland ALDE

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1

Slovenia ALDE

2

Luxembourg ALDE

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1

Cyprus ALDE

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1

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1

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2

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2

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Abstain (1)

2

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2

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Abstain (1)

3
icon: PSE PSE
197

Czechia PSE

2

Slovakia PSE

3

Ireland PSE

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1

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1

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1

Finland PSE

3

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2

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2

Rapport Fava A6-0020/2007 - am. 269 #

2007/02/14 Outcome: -: 583, 0: 61, +: 47
CY SE EE LU MT DK SI IE LV CZ EL FI SK BG AT LT PT NL HU BE RO ES IT PL FR GB DE
Total
3
14
5
6
5
11
6
11
9
20
20
12
14
11
18
13
20
26
20
21
27
52
71
50
67
70
89
icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL
30

Denmark GUE/NGL

1

Ireland GUE/NGL

1

Finland GUE/NGL

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1

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3

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1

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1

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1
icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE
41

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For (1)

1

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Abstain (1)

1

Denmark Verts/ALE

Abstain (1)

1

Latvia Verts/ALE

Abstain (1)

1

Austria Verts/ALE

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2

Belgium Verts/ALE

2

Italy Verts/ALE

2

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5
icon: IND/DEM IND/DEM
20

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2

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1

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1

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1

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1

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2

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2

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2
icon: NI NI
10

Czechia NI

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1

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3

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1

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2
icon: ITS ITS
16

Austria ITS

Against (1)

1

Belgium ITS

Against (1)

Abstain (1)

2

Italy ITS

2

United Kingdom ITS

Against (1)

1
icon: UEN UEN
41

Denmark UEN

Against (1)

1

Lithuania UEN

2
icon: ALDE ALDE
87

Cyprus ALDE

Against (1)

1

Sweden ALDE

2

Estonia ALDE

Against (2)

2

Luxembourg ALDE

Against (1)

1

Denmark ALDE

Abstain (1)

3

Slovenia ALDE

2

Ireland ALDE

Against (1)

1

Latvia ALDE

Against (1)

1

Bulgaria ALDE

2

Austria ALDE

Against (1)

1

Hungary ALDE

Against (1)

1

Spain ALDE

Abstain (1)

2
icon: PSE PSE
191

Sweden PSE

For (1)

4

Estonia PSE

2

Luxembourg PSE

Against (1)

1

Ireland PSE

Against (1)

1

Czechia PSE

2

Finland PSE

2

Slovakia PSE

3

Lithuania PSE

2
icon: PPE-DE PPE-DE
255

Cyprus PPE-DE

2

Estonia PPE-DE

Against (1)

1

Luxembourg PPE-DE

3

Malta PPE-DE

Against (2)

2

Slovenia PPE-DE

4

Ireland PPE-DE

3

Latvia PPE-DE

3

Lithuania PPE-DE

2

Rapport Fava A6-0020/2007 - am. 220 #

2007/02/14 Outcome: +: 456, -: 207, 0: 30
DE ES PL FR GB HU IT SK AT IE BG BE SE MT LV LU PT RO SI FI NL DK EE LT CZ CY EL
Total
89
47
53
66
72
21
71
14
18
11
9
21
15
5
9
6
22
27
7
12
27
11
5
12
18
5
20
icon: PPE-DE PPE-DE
245

Ireland PPE-DE

3

Malta PPE-DE

2

Luxembourg PPE-DE

3

Estonia PPE-DE

For (1)

1

Lithuania PPE-DE

1

Cyprus PPE-DE

2
icon: PSE PSE
195

Ireland PSE

1

Bulgaria PSE

For (5)