ORAL QUESTION WITH DEBATE pursuant to Rule 108 of the Rules of Procedure by Manfred Weber, on behalf of the PPE-DE Group, Martine Roure, on behalf of the PSE Group, Alexander Alvaro, on behalf of the ALDE Group, Cristiana Muscardini and Roberta Angelilli, on behalf of the UEN Group to the Council
Since 9-11, 3-11 and the London bombings, the EU has adopted an EU Counter-Terrorism Strategy, an EU Counter-Terrorism Action Plan, a Framework Decision on terrorism and several initiatives to strengthen the coordination between the Member States and between the latter and the European Institutions with the support of the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator.
At interinstitutional level there was no formal involvement of the EP but in 2006 the Council launched the 'High-Level Political Dialogue on Counter-Terrorism between the main European Institutions involved in the fight against terrorism', highlighting the importance of democratic accountability.
At administrative level there have already been two peer evaluations between the Member States on the implementation of the European Union Strategy, and Europol, Eurojust and SITCEN have just started their assessment of the evolution of the threat at European level.
Now it appears that, notwithstanding all the initiatives cited above, the EU has since experienced a number of attempted terrorist attacks, which gives rise to a number of questions:
Does the European Council intend to carry out, with the involvement of the European Parliament and of the national parliaments, a comprehensive evaluation of all counter-terrorism measures adopted until now as well as an assessment of their effectiveness and level of implementation by Member States? And how will Member States be associated?
How does the Council intend to overcome the shortcomings raised in the last Europol-SITCEN report on terrorism and take stock of the MS replies to the 2006 Eurojust questionnaire on the implementation of the Framework Decision on terrorism?
Which other measures have been adopted but not correctly implemented by whom and for which reasons ?
Will the Council now focus on the implementation of the current measures, or are there any current proposals in the pipeline?
How does the Council evaluate the information sharing between Member States and the European Union in this context? Would the Council agree that greater mutual trust is needed between EU authorities and Member States' law enforcement and counter-terrorism services? What role does the Council intend to assign to the intelligence information, what legal framework is foreseen for these formations and what role is to be given to SITCEN as a monitoring and coordinating tool in terrorist investigations?
Considering the resignation of Mr de Vries in February 2007, does the Council consider that the role of the EU counter-terrorism Coordinator should be maintained and, if so, with what mandate? Are there reasons for the resignation which have to do with the overlap of competencies between the EU coordinator for counter-terrorism and SITCEN?
How does the Council intend to strengthen EU citizens' acceptance of the antiterrorism strategy, its transparency and democratic accountability and the involvement of the European Parliament? Will the Council ensure respect for Art. 6 of the TEU?
As regards the involvement of third countries, following the EU-US summit in April 2007, how does the Portuguese Presidency intend to develop transatlantic cooperation to combat terrorism and crime, and will it be pursued through methods which comply with Art. 6 of the TEU and with foreseeable developments in the next IGC, as recommended also by the EP resolution on the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners?