Thalidomide Debate in Strasbourg

2016-03-10 14:45:29
Last night, politicians from across Europe took part in a debate on the ongoing battle faced by thalidomide survivors across Europe to finally get the justice they deserve.

The two main themes of the debate were 'equality' and 'justice'.

As we have been saying for so long, it is appalling that thalidomide survivors who were damaged by the same drug are treated so differently across Europe.  In some places national governments have been persuaded to take some responsibility for their failings.  Others have fallen short.  In countries where the distributor still exists inadequate settlements have been reached.  Other countries are not so lucky.  In all countries the originator of the drug has escaped unpunished and, in the words of Mara Bizzotto, the German government has "provided immunity for 50 years".

MEPs queued up to support Esteban Gonzalez Pons' insistence that "the German government never faced up to its responsibilities".  Diane James went further when she said "The German government deployed every possible prevarication and procrastination technique to avoid addressing the needs of thalidomide survivors, every legal and administrative excuse, loophole and delaying tactic to prevent a financial settlement".

"By hiding the truth, the German government is complicit" said another MEP.  And, in the words of Diane Dodds, "it is time for the German government to take it upon itself to recognise its own moral responsibility".

The next step is to follow up the debate with a resolution, which we have a lot of support for and hope will happen within the next month.  or so.