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Thursday, 12 September 2013 - Strasbourg Final edition
EU internal security strategy
P7_TA(2013)0384

European Parliament resolution of 12 September 2013 on the second report on the implementation of the EU Internal Security Strategy (2013/2636(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 10 April 2013 entitled ‘Second Report on the implementation of the EU Internal Security Strategy’ (COM(2013)0179),

–  having regard to its resolution of 22 May 2012 on the European Union’s Internal Security Strategy(1) ,

–  having regard to its resolution of 11 June 2013 on ‘organised crime, corruption, and money laundering: recommendations on action and initiatives to be taken (interim report)’(2) ,

–  having regard to the Stockholm Programme and its implementing Action Plan (COM(2010)0171),

–  having regard to the European Union Internal Security Strategy as adopted by the Council on 25 February 2010,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 7 June 2013 on setting the EU’s priorities for the fight against serious and organised crime between 2014 and 2017,

–  having regard to Europol’s EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (TE-SAT) 2013,

–  having regard to Europol’s EU Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment (SOCTA) 2013,

–  having regard to the Commission staff working document on the evaluation of the EU policy cycle on serious and organised crime 2011-2013 (SWD(2013)0017),

–  having regard to Articles 2 and 3(2) of the Treaty on European Union, and to Title V, Chapters 1, 2, 4 and 5, of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, in particular Articles 6, 7, 8, 10(1), 11, 12, 21, 47-50, 52 and 53 thereof,

–  having regard to the relevant European and national constitutional court case law dealing with the criterion of proportionality and the need for it to be applied by public authorities in a democratic society,

–  having regard to the relevant decisions of the European Court of Human Rights,

–  having regard to the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, François Crépeau, set out in the study of 24 April 2013 entitled ‘Management of the external borders of the European Union and its impact on the human rights of migrants’,

–  having regard to the question to the Commission on the second report on the implementation of the EU Internal Security Strategy (O-000068/2013 – B7–0213/2013),

–  having regard to Rules 115(5) and 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the Treaty of Lisbon follows on from the Treaty of Maastricht, providing for an area of security, freedom and justice, and enables the foundations to be laid for the development of an EU security policy and a security agenda shared by the EU and the Member States, which must be anchored in the rule of law and respect for democratic values, public freedoms, fundamental rights and solidarity, and subject to democratic control at European and national level; whereas these prerequisites reflect the international obligations of the EU and its Member States, notably those arising from the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and from the UN agreements to which they are parties;

B.  whereas security policies cannot be concerned solely with repression, but must also address prevention, which is particularly crucial at a time when growing economic and social inequalities are calling into question the social pact and the reality of fundamental rights and public freedoms;

C.  whereas the security of EU citizens is paramount;

D.  whereas the Member States and the Commission have not actually addressed all the implications of the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, and whereas Parliament consequently continues to play a relatively marginal role, with the positions it takes, notably on the need to have regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, not being integrated into the decision-making process(3) ;

E.  whereas the Internal Security Strategy (ISS) for the 2010-2014 period has identified five priority areas in which the EU can provide added value: putting a stop to the activities of international crime networks and helping to dismantle them, preventing terrorist attacks, enhancing cybersecurity, ensuring border security, and increasing resilience to natural disasters; whereas the strategy can be implemented only if it safeguards the free movement of persons, the rights of migrants and asylum-seekers and compliance with all the international obligations incumbent on the EU and its Member States;

F.  whereas the second annual report on the implementation of the ISS acknowledged that all five objectives remain valid, and outlined the current state of play, the progress made so far and the way forward;

1.  Finds it regrettable that the Commission’s second communication on the implementation of the ISS, of 10 April 2013, expresses scant criticism of the activities carried out under the ISS, reaffirming the same priorities as its initial communication of November 2010 and failing, in particular, to take account of the consequences of the incorporation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, most of the provisions of which apply not only to EU citizens but to everyone on EU territory;

2.  Takes note of the work undertaken in order to set up the ISS and of the main principles governing the strategy, which is intended to enable all EU institutions and the Member States to work towards the same goals; emphasises that freedom, security and justice are objectives that must be pursued in parallel and recalls that, in order to achieve freedom and justice, security must always be pursued in accordance with the principles of the Treaties, the rule of law and the Union’s fundamental rights obligations; believes that EU security measures should focus on activities with a proven capacity to lower crime rates and prevent terrorist attacks, carried out in accordance with the principles of necessity, proportionality and respect for fundamental rights and on the basis of proper oversight and accountability;

3.  Underlines the fact that internal security is not exempt from EU and national fundamental rights obligations, and expresses serious concern at the fact that EU institutions and Member States’ authorities and citizens have been subjected to secret surveillance by Member States, third countries and third parties, with the collaboration of private companies; calls on the EU and Member State institutions to inquire into, and take follow-up actions on, the matter; stresses that any EU internal security strategy must be based on a common understanding of what is ‘internal’ and what is ‘external’ and must be aimed at defending EU institutions, and EU Member States and their citizens from illegal foreign surveillance and undue influence and manipulation; calls for a strengthening of the security and confidentiality of EU communication and logistics systems against third-party or foreign surveillance; highlights the fact that the right of citizens to privacy and data protection and the right of access to documents and information are fundamental European values and rights, which must be upheld at all levels and in all fora;

4.  Recalls that Parliament is now a fully-fledged institutional actor in the field of security policies, and is therefore entitled to participate actively in determining the features and priorities of the ISS and in evaluating the relevant instruments, including through regular monitoring exercises on the implementation of the ISS, to be conducted jointly by the European Parliament, national parliaments and the Council under Articles 70 and 71 TFEU;

5.  Believes that a proper analysis of the security threats to be addressed is an essential prerequisite for an effective ISS; reminds the Commission of its commitment to produce a cross-sectoral overview of natural risks and man-made threats (intentional or unintentional) in the EU; reminds the European Council of its Treaty obligation under Article 222 TFEU to conduct a regular EU threat assessment and invites the Commission to come forward with concrete proposals on how best to implement the above-mentioned obligations, drawing together the current fragmented and narrowly focused threat and risk assessments at EU and national level;

6.  Notes that Europol’s effectiveness in assessing and analysing terrorist threats and other criminal activities depends largely on the willingness of services in the Member States to provide it with information; suggests enhancing the supply of information by Member States to Europol by strengthening the Member States’ duty to cooperate with Europol;

7.  Recalls that one of the major threats to the EU’s internal security is organised crime, including mafias; notes with satisfaction the progress made by the Member States and the Commission as part of the EU policy cycle on organised and serious international crime and calls on the Member States for renewed commitment and appropriate resources; takes the view that common legal standards and operating tools should be promoted, such as seizures, European Investigation Orders and joint investigation teams; considers it necessary to step up judicial and police cooperation between the Member States and the EU, and with non-EU countries, without prejudice to legislation and to the EU’s international obligations with regard to fundamental freedoms and rights, the rule of law and protection of the personal data and private life of citizens and residents of the EU, and calls for the European Parliament to play a key role in assessing and formulating internal security policies, as they have a strong impact on the fundamental rights of all people living in the EU; stresses accordingly the need to ensure that these policies fall within the competence of the only European institution which is elected by direct suffrage to scrutinise and exercise democratic control over the EU’s policies in the context of the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice;

8.  Reiterates, on the basis of the existing cooperation between the European Parliament and national parliaments, its idea of a ‘parliamentary policy cycle’ – finely tuned to the Commission’s annual reporting in this field – concluding with an annual parliamentary report on the current state of play as regards the ISS;

9.  Takes the view that special attention should be paid to combating violence against children and women;

10.  Welcomes the fact that combating illicit trafficking in firearms has been included among the EU’s priorities for the fight against organised crime; awaits, however, the overall strategic orientation to be developed by the Commission with regard to firearms, including their use for purposes of trafficking, organised crime and terrorism;

11.  Regrets the fact that the fight against money laundering has not been included as a separate EU priority for the fight against organised crime, as was recommended by Europol; strongly believes that different types of organised crime, such as money laundering, environmental crime and corporate crime and corruption, are interlinked and mutually reinforcing, and calls on the Commission and the Council to prioritise without delay the fight against corruption and money laundering;

12.  Stresses that the fight against terrorism is a priority within the ISS; points out that according to Europol the terrorist threat in the EU is real, although it takes very many forms, but questions the Union’s priorities in this respect with regard to the actual origin of terrorist attacks; insists on the need to give greater priority to prevention policies alongside repressive measures; notes the need here for a closer focus on, and allocation of the corresponding financial and human resources to, targeted policing measures and information services, so that terrorist attacks can actually be prevented; recalls the importance of preventing terrorist funding and looks forward to the proposal for a framework for judicial and administrative measures such as freezing the funds of persons suspected of terrorism pursuant to Article 75 TFEU; calls on the Commission and the Member States to evaluate properly the nature and extent of the threat posed by a resurgence of violent political radicalisation; considers it crucial to develop mechanisms that permit the early detection of signs of such radicalisation, and asks the Commission and the Member States to take this on board, including with regard to prevention, within their respective areas of activity; is concerned about the increasing activity by what are generally termed ‘lone wolves’, of EU or third-country nationality, who travel to conflict areas and then return to EU territory, because they present new types of risk that cannot be addressed using normal anti-terrorist methods; encourages exchanges of good practices for the prevention of radicalisation among young people and supports the proposed EU toolbox on the subject; expects the evaluation of the Framework Decision on combating terrorism to take all these parameters into account and underlines the need to better interlink existing counter-terrorism instruments;

13.  Calls on the Commission, the Member States and the other EU institutions and bodies to conduct a thorough investigation into violent extremist movements within the Union and to take practical measures to combat violent activities from such quarters;

14.  Stresses that the private sector, particularly the financial industry, plays a crucial role in combating organised crime and terrorist financing by identifying and reporting cases of fraud, money laundering and other suspicious transactions; points out that the financial sector must work more closely with government agencies to identify gaps in current regulations and implement innovative techniques to address these issues; stresses that it is of paramount importance to understand that any effective fight against organised crime and terrorism depends on an integrated approach involving all stakeholders at national and EU level;

15.  Considers that the resilience of critical infrastructure to man-made and natural disasters should be strengthened; regrets the fact that the current European Critical Infrastructure Protection Directive (2008/114/EC(4) ) is not working properly and calls on the Commission to propose amending this directive in order to enhance it;

16.  Believes that a statistical study needs to be conducted on natural risks, listing the most critical areas, and that this should be the basis for developing an automatic rescue and response system that is effective in responding promptly to emergencies;

17.  Considers it to be of the utmost importance to combat environmental and economic crime decisively, whatever its origins, since it has a particularly detrimental impact on the living conditions of EU citizens, especially in times of crisis;

18.  Welcomes, and has high hopes for, the Commission’s announcement of an initiative against cigarette smuggling;

19.  Notes the priority accorded in the ISS to fighting cybercrime; considers cybercrime to be a rising threat to the EU and an important enabler for other criminal activities; calls on the Commission to make sufficient funds available for the new European Cybercrime Centre and urges all the Member States to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime; recalls that the processing and collection of personal data as part of the ISS must always comply with EU data protection principles, particularly those of necessity, proportionality and legality, and with EU legislation and the relevant Council of Europe conventions in this field; highlights the need to pay particular attention to children in the digital environment, and the importance of combating child pornography; supports the expansion of the Global Alliance against Child Sexual Abuse Online;

20.  Reiterates that enhancing EU police and judicial cooperation, including through Europol, the European Police College (CEPOL) and Eurojust, along with the provision of appropriate training, is critical to a proper ISS and must involve the competent authorities in the Member States as well as EU institutions and agencies; considers that such cooperation must not be confined to the identification and arrest of criminal suspects, but should also focus on preventing crime and repeat offending; notes the relevant Commission proposals, including for the reform of Eurojust and for draft legislation on the setting-up of a European Public Prosecutor’s Office; points out the need to ensure that the principle of separation of powers between the judicial and policing sectors, along with their respective autonomy, is observed;

21.  Supports the setting-up of a European Public Prosecutor’s Office in order, in particular, to safeguard the Union budget more effectively, and calls on the Commission to submit a proposal promptly;

22.  Regrets the fact that the ISS still lacks a proper ‘justice dimension’; recalls, in line with the Stockholm Programme, that mutual trust must be strengthened by progressively developing a European judicial culture based on the diversity of legal systems and on unity through European law, and that this must entail respect for the rule of law, democratic values and human rights and must not be restricted merely to the pursuit of criminal or terrorist suspects; highlights the prime importance of mutual trust as a prerequisite for fostering judicial cooperation, and considers that the sole basis for such trust is the establishment and observance of equal standards with regard to civil liberties and procedural safeguards;

23.  Underlines the importance of developing integrated border management which should ensure uniform, secure and high-quality external border control while facilitating legitimate travel across external borders and promoting mobility within the Schengen area; welcomes the recent entry into operation of the Schengen Information System II and calls on eu-LISA to ensure high-quality operational management of the new system; expects the new European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) to be fully functional by the end of 2014 and believes it will be an efficient instrument which will contribute to the detection and prevention of, and the fight against, cross-border crime and irregular immigration, as well as to protecting migrants and saving their lives; stresses that the possible development of new IT systems in the area of migration and border management, such as the Smart Borders initiatives, should be carefully analysed, especially in the light of the principles of necessity and proportionality, and should eventually be developed only once the relevant legal instruments have been adopted; particularly welcomes the recent agreement reached on the Schengen Evaluation Mechanism and calls on the Commission to fulfil its new responsibilities in order to ensure a high level of compliance with the Schengen acquis throughout the Schengen area; stresses that the reintroduction of controls at internal borders should be an exceptional measure that may be used only as a last resort, taking into consideration not only the security aspects but also the impact on mobility and freedom of movement; highlights the fact that the migration of, and crossing of external borders by, a large number of third-country nationals should not, per se, be considered to be a threat to public policy or to internal security; reiterates its strong support for the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the Schengen area and calls on the Council also to agree to their accession, as this will boost mutual trust and solidarity, which are necessary preconditions for ensuring a high degree of security inside the EU;

24.  Stresses the importance of strengthening mutual trust between police forces in order to promote cooperation, joint investigation teams and the exchange of information; points out, in this connection, that European training for police forces is crucial;

25.  Believes that the definition and implementation of the ISS should take more fully into account the existing interaction between the internal and external dimensions of security policy, and that, in both of these dimensions, EU institutions and agencies active in the justice and home affairs field should perform their tasks in full compliance with the values and principles of EU law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights; calls on the Commission and the Member States also to assess the impact of the ISS on the EU External Security Strategy, including with regard to obligations concerning the observance and promotion of fundamental freedoms and rights and of democratic values and principles as set forth in the international texts, conventions and agreements to which they are signatories; regrets the fact that the implementation of the 2011 roadmap aimed at ‘Strengthening Ties between CSDP and FSJ’ is not on track and urges the European External Action Service to speed up work on it;

26.  Points out that the current ISS will come to an end in 2014; calls on the Commission to start preparing a new ISS for the 2015-2019 period which takes account of the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon and the incorporation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights into Union law; takes the view that this new policy should be based on an in-depth, independent external evaluation of the current strategy and instruments, taking into account future challenges and carried out following broad consultation among stakeholders; calls on the Council to take Parliament’s input concerning the new ISS properly into account before adopting the new strategy;

27.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council and the national parliaments.

(1) P7_TA(2012)0207.
(2) P7_TA(2013)0245.
(3) See Parliament’s resolution of 15 December 2010 on ‘the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union (2009) – effective implementation after the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon’, OJ C 169 E, 15.6.2012, p. 49.
(4) OJ L 345, 23.12.2008, p. 75.

Last updated: 26 January 2016Legal notice