Guy Verhofstadt calls on European Commission to "urgently come forward with new European intelligence initiatives"

Date

25 Mar 2016

Sections

Security

verhofstadt left side 90.jpgCommenting on yesterday's meeting of the national ministers of Justice and Home Affairs, Guy Verhofstadt says:

"The Council's Joint statement went in the right direction, but not nearly far enough. I see two substantial elements in the council's statement. Firstly, the enhancement of our border protection by fast tracking the automated fingerprint recognition system integrated into the Schengen Information System (SIS). The promise of the Council to link this system to counter terrorism efforts is also positive.

Secondly, setting up a joint liaison team of national counter-terrorism experts at Europol to support the Member States' law enforcement authorities in investigating  the wider European and international dimensions of the current terrorist threat.Although these decisions go in the right direction, they barely scratch the surface of the security crisis we face. The council remains stuck in the failed policies of 'better coordination'. Their statement is based on improving information exchange between member states, without making it mandatory.

The newly proposed joint liaison team is not given the authority to gather intelligence and set up counter terrorism operations on a European level. I therefore call on the European Commission to go further in its legislative proposals.We have to enact the mandatory exchange of counter terrorism intelligence between all 28 national services. We can no longer let the safety of our citizens depend on the voluntary information exchange of our national security agencies;We immediately need to give the joint liaison team the powers to act across EU territory,so that it can go beyond "investigating the international and European dimensions of the current terrorist threat."

"If we make the effort to second national counter terrorism experts to the European level, we need to give them real work. "