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Debates
Wednesday, 14 June 2017 - Strasbourg Revised edition

5. Preparation of the European Council of 22 and 23 June 2017 (debate)
Video of the speeches
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  Syed Kamall, on behalf of the ECR Group . – Mr President, the agenda for this Summit highlights some of the big challenges ahead: security, migration and asylum, Turkey, as well – as others have said – as some discussions on the Brexit negotiations. Topics we have discussed before and no doubt topics that we will discuss again; but each time we have to ask ourselves: are we any closer to solutions and real action?

If you will allow me, let me start with the British general election. An election in which the Conservative party lost seats but not enough to lose power, and where the opposition gained seats but not enough to gain power and ended up 56 seats behind, and just as in any other country, for example the Netherlands at the moment, the largest party will seek to form a government with support from a smaller party. But the UK Government expects to begin negotiations later this month, for we have kept you waiting long enough.

Just as in this Parliament, the largest party will need to build wider coalitions in order to pass legislation. Now if that means addressing concerns over civil liberties while drafting new laws to tackle the threat of terrorism, to my mind a wider coalition is not necessarily a bad thing.

Can I also take this opportunity to thank colleagues from across the political spectrum for their messages of condolences and solidarity after the recent terrorist attacks in both Manchester and my home city of London. We may be divided on our politics but we are united in not wanting to allow the terrorists to win.

(Applause)

I hope the Council will understand the importance of tackling terrorism at different levels. At the international level: military cooperation without undermining NATO, better data sharing between national law enforcement agencies; at the national level: upholding the rule of law, our shared values and the security of our citizens, as well as making sure that any shared intelligence is actually acted upon; and at a local community level: encouraging local projects to tackle radicalisation at its roots.

But security is just one of the issues facing us. The migration crisis continues as does the EU-Turkey deal, and the ECR believes that the EU should focus on a new relationship based not on the false promise of membership, but on an honest relationship based on cooperation. Because while the deal with Turkey appears to be holding for now, the Council must seek consensus from all Member States to effectively tackle the migrant crisis, in case that agreement breaks down, by getting the basics right – processing asylum applications quickly and efficiently, returning those who do not qualify to their country of origin, agreeing clear criteria for qualification, based on the Geneva Convention – and by not continuing to pursue a struggling relocation scheme without the full support of all Member States.

Our discussions on the challenges will continue way beyond this Summit and future ones, but how many times do we have to discuss them before our voters see real progress? While others will call for new rules, the ECR Group calls for the EU to make what we already have work better. While others will call for more agencies, the ECR Group calls for more action and while others will call for further political integration, the ECR Group calls for political cooperation for a reformed EU which does less, but does it better.

 
Last updated: 7 September 2017Legal notice