Max Mosley has issued a second retort to the European Union in the ongoing war of words over the introduction of the European Arrest Warrant, which threatens to disrupt the forthcoming Formula One season.

Several EU member states - currently including Britain, Belgium and Spain - have signed up to the new agreement, which promises extradition of individuals thought to have been involved in 'criminal activity', a term which includes fatal accidents in motorsport.

Comments attributed to EU commissioner for justice and home affairs Antonio Vitorino by his spokesman Pietro Petrucci incensed FIA president Mosley, who issued a short rebuke immediately after the offending statement appeared, and then sent the following, considered, letter to the EU:

"Dear Commissioner,

"Your spokesman, a Mr Petrucci, has been widely quoted in the press as saying 'Mr Mosley is not above the law', and that the Formula One teams have 'woken up to the
European Arrest Warrant too late'. Both allegations are unacceptable.

"The one implies that I wish to be above the law, which is untrue and libellous. The other is also false, in that the teams and their representatives have had innumerable meetings with Commission officials on the European Arrest Warrant, culminating in a meeting on 7 July 2003 with the director-general of your directorate, Mr Jonathan Faull, together with a member of your cabinet.

"Your spokesman has clearly not made the slightest effort to ascertain the truth before speaking to the press. I leave it to you to take appropriate disciplinary action.

"However, this is not the first time that a Commission spokesperson has sought to damage the FIA. On the last occasion, action in the European Court of Justice
resulted in a formal public apology from the Commission. In the circumstances, I think it appropriate to send a copy of this letter to Mr Prodi."

Mosley is hopeful that individual member states will exempt motorsport - and other sports - from the terms of the EAW. F1 teams have vowed to boycott any event run in a country which says it will stick to the letter of the law.

 

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