Intervention au Parlement européen
transcrit par Mitts
Clarence Mitchell : Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen. I am Clarence Mitchell, Kate and Gerry McCann’s spokesman. With me, of course, is Edward McMillan Scott, Vice President of the European Parliament, one of the key sponsors of the written declaration that Kate and Gerry launched in Brussels back in April and are encouraging MEP’s to sign at this session and the next one. Kate will be making a short statement, following which Kate and Gerry will be happy to take a few questions. If as before you indicate to me, if you want to ask a question. We would be grateful if you say who you are and which organisation you represent. With that I will hand over to Kate McCann.
Kate MC : Good evening. When we last came to European Parliament Brussels in April, we launched a written declaration seeking to gain support of majority of MEP’s introduction of a Europe wide missing child alert system. A structure we feel is absolutely vital if no other families are to go through the pain we have suffered and continue to suffer since Madeleine’s abduction nearly 14 months ago.
Our visit today at the plenary session here in Strasbourg has been extremely useful and very encouraging. Both in terms of being updated on the good progress of the declaration, and having the chance to lobby directly many of those MEP’s who have yet to sign it. Whilst we remain confident that the declaration will have been signed by the deadline at the end of next month we have also learned that we still have much to do to increase awareness among MEP’s before then.
We also wish to thank the leaders of those key political groups within the Parliament of whom we were fortunate enough to be able to meet today.
Many MEP’s have told us directly that will be signing the declaration by the end of the next session And that crucially they will also be urging many of their political and national colleagues to do the same. This gives us great confidence that the target of 393 signatures is achievable.
We were however also surprised to learn that some MEP’s remain unaware of the declaration and its aim of improving child welfare, despite the international publicity that surrounded it.
Here in France there is a missing child alert system but in the handful of cases it has been used over the last 2 years it has been completely successful. We also understand that the French government may encourage the adoption of this system across Europe during their forthcoming Presidency.
In closing we would like to place on record our continued thanks to those MEP’s who are driving the declaration forward by sponsoring it: Edward McMillan Scott, Glenys Kinnock, Diana Wallace, Roberta Angelilli and Evelyne Gebhardt. We urge every MEP to examine the need for such improved coordination and cooperation when a child goes missing in an increasingly borderless Europe.
The Amber alert system has recovered hundreds of children in the USA. A system based on the same principles must surely do the same here in Europe. Thank you.
CM : Any questions?
Portuguese TV reporter: During this stay in the European Parliament, who has received you, who have you visited, have you been to political groups for example?
CM : I think Edward McMillan Scott will answer that.
EMS : The purpose of today’s visit was primarily to thank those Members of the European Parliament who have already signed the declaration and to ask them to encourage others to sign so that we reach the figure of beyond 393 by the end of the period on 24 July. Today Kate and Gerry met a number of individual MEPs about 40 or 50 altogether, including the leaders of some of the larger groups of the European Parliament and some of the larger delegations. So we hope that personal contact will encourage them and their groups to support the declaration. I think part of the problem, as Kate said, is the a lack of awareness of first of all, the importance of the missing child alert system in America, and here in France, and its value in saving lives, and the fact that it costs nothing.
But there is also a declaration fatigue there are now 41 declarations in the European Parliament open for signature Last year out of 116 only 41 succeeded in being adopted as a resolution of the European Parliament So it is a challenge and I’m incredibly grateful to Kate and Gerry for taking the time to come here today so that out of the their personal tragedy some good may come. And to pass on that message to the number of colleagues we have seen.
German Press Agency : Mrs McCann if such a missing child alert system had been in place when your daughter disappeared, in what way do you feel it could have helped?
KMC : I mean, it’s very difficult to answer that question to say whether it would have helped to recover Madeleine definitely or not. I believe it would have given us a greater chance. I think the awareness early on in the critical hours would have been greater and hence I think there would have been more help from the public at that crucial time and potentially Madeleine may have been retrieved. We will never know. But it is a possibility. Yes. (1)
KMC : I think perhaps you are avoiding the issue to be honest. Madeleine was not alone for a few hours. And I didn’t say it would have been easier. I just think our chances would have been greater of Madeleine being recovered. (2) I think the issue here is that a child has been abducted and there is a criminal out there, who is still out there. I think we need to concentrate on the real issue here. It doesn’t help by going over issues that you have just raised.
Portuguese Reporter again : You didn’t answer the first question, which was, it could be that the Portuguese police will take you up for abandonment or negligence which is something that comes that under the Portuguese criminal code.
Gerald MC : You know, we didn’t abandon, neglect Madeleine. As Kate has already said, somebody went into an apartment and stole a child. That’s where the focus is. You are going over old ground. It’s really quite boring and we want people to focus on issues which we think will make a difference. The amber alert would make a difference. It can be a deterrent. It can help to find a missing child. We need cross-border cooperation.
KMC : Also, nothing has changed in the last 14 months. I am not really, you know, sure why we are talking about this now because nothing has changed on that issue in the last 14 months. (3)
CM : Kate and Gerry are not accused of any crime whatsoever. Neither is there any suggestion that any charges are being considered.
(2) Il aurait été plus pertinent de remarquer que la police avait été appelée à l'aide une heure après la découverte de la disparition.