Our visit to the European Parliament on Thursday (10th) was the culmination of several months work. Kate and I presented a written declaration (see news and support) to the parliament asking for the introduction of an EU wide missing child alert system based on the US AMBER alert system. The AMBER system has been incredibly successful in rescuing abducted children. France has adopted a similar system in the last 2 years, which has been activated 5 times with all children being recovered alive.
An EU wide AMBER type system has widespread support. The EU commission presented draft guidance (written in conjunction with Missing Children Europe) on the introduction of such a system. In Lisbon in October last year the proposal got the informal support of the 27 member states home office/justice ministers.
We presented the declaration to MEP’s, answered questions and then held a press conference- our first public speech since returning from Portugal. For the declaration to be taken up we need 51% of (the 785) MEP’s to sign the declaration in the next 3 months. We would urge everyone to lobby their MEP’s to sign the declaration.
The day went extremely well although we were naturally asked questions about the Portuguese investigation, which are very difficult to answer for us, as we have had no direct dialogue with the Portuguese police. We were dismayed to learn that excerpts from our early witness statements were leaked to a Spanish TV station. These were taken out of context and there can be no doubts were designed to undermine our credibility. One has to question why these were leaked on the day when the media attention was huge and who benefits from such a leak? One thing for certain is that it does not help to find Madeleine. We would certainly welcome an independent inquiry as to where the leaking of such sensitive information, contrary to judicial secrecy laws, has come from