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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 August 2007, 23:37 GMT 00:37 UK
MEPs 'want EU sex offender list'
Madeleine McCann
Madeleine's father said it was possible that she was in Spain

Members of the European Parliament overwhelmingly want to see an EU-wide register of sex offenders established, a survey suggests.

A poll commissioned by the campaign to find missing Madeleine McCann found that 97% of MEPs backed the measure.

Gerry McCann, father of four-year-old Madeleine, said such a database would "help prevent child abuse and track those responsible for such crimes".

Madeleine went missing from a holiday apartment in Portugal on 3 May.

'Greater consistency'

Pollsters contacted 105 MEPs they judged to be representative of all the major EU member states and political groups in the European Parliament.

As well as nearly all MEPs contacted agreeing with the creation of an EU-wide sex offenders register, the survey found that 95% wanted police to treat serious crimes involving children identically across Europe.

Almost nine out of 10 MEPs who were canvassed supported introducing a common EU child abduction policy.

Kate and I would like to encourage further debate
Gerry McCann

Fifty Westminster MPs were also polled, with 84% telling researchers that they believed that sex offenders should be tracked across Europe and made to register with local police.

Nearly nine out of 10 MPs said they wanted to see the UK's Child Rescue Alert - a scheme which publicises suspected child abductions within hours - extended across Europe.

Populus surveyed 50 UK MPs representative of all Westminster political parties between 9 and 25 Jul.

CommunicateResearch surveyed 105 MEPs representative of all major EU member states and political groups in the European Parliament between 19 July 2 August.

Gerry McCann, from Rothley, Leicestershire, said he and his wife Kate were heartened by the findings of the survey.

He added: "We are pleased to see that elected members of both the UK and European parliaments agree that changes to legislation and greater consistency across the European Union are needed.

"We want to work with law enforcement agencies and non-governmental organisations to try to make Europe safer for all children.

"Kate and I would like to encourage further debate on how Europe can best manage serious crimes such as child abduction."

On 22 August, Mr McCann told Spanish newspapers that there was a "real" possibility that Madeleine was alive in Spain.

He said: "The border between the two countries is very big. If someone had a car, it is clear they could cross into Spain.

"There is no border guard and no-one closed the border the night Madeleine disappeared."

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