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Procedure : 2010/2308(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0143/2012

Texts tabled :

A7-0143/2012

Debates :

PV 21/05/2012 - 17
CRE 21/05/2012 - 17

Votes :

PV 22/05/2012 - 6.2
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2012)0207

Debates
Monday, 21 May 2012 - Strasbourg OJ edition

17. European Union’s internal security strategy (short presentation)
Video of the speeches
PV
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  President. – The next item is the report by Rita Borsellino, on behalf of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, on the European Union’s internal security strategy (2010/2308(INI)) (A7-0143/2012).

 
  
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  Rita Borsellino, rapporteur.(IT) Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, it is an emotional moment for me as I come to present my own-initiative report on the European Union’s internal security strategy. It is, in fact, 20 years ago this week – on 23 May to be precise – that Judge Giovanni Falcone, his wife and his police escort were murdered.

I would like to dedicate the adoption of this report to all the victims of mafias, organised crime and terrorism, and, in particular, to Melissa Bassi, the young victim of last Saturday’s attack on a school in Brindisi, in which six other girls were also wounded. The motive for the attack is still unknown, but it clearly comes within the context of growing tension and lack of security caused by the crisis, which organisations or individuals may be tempted to exploit for violently subversive ends. My thoughts also go out to the victims of the earthquake in Emilia Romagna, because natural disasters also come within the Union’s internal security remit.

The text that we will vote on tomorrow highlights the importance of having a consistent security strategy for the Union, and in that respect I would like to thank the Commission for the major effort it has made in drafting this strategy.

As is repeatedly shown in the report, security must always be pursued in accordance with the rule of law and people’s fundamental rights, which form an integral and inseparable part of this strategy. That is also why the role of the EU institutions in defining and implementing the strategy is of particular importance, especially in the post-Lisbon context.

The European Parliament also needs to play an appropriate role in this context, both in setting priorities for the strategy and during the evaluation stage. This role derives from the fully-fledged legislative powers that Parliament has acquired in matters of security. It is also essential for ensuring proper democratic control, which the European Parliament should exercise alongside the national parliaments. That is why we will undertake to establish regular links between the European Parliament and the national parliaments, so as to create a parliamentary political round associated with the Commission’s annual report on this subject and ending with an annual parliamentary report on the implementation status of the internal security strategy.

We believe the Union needs to have a clear idea of the extent of the threats to internal security, which it currently does not have. We therefore call on Europol, with the support of the other EU institutions and agencies, to conduct a global analysis of the threats facing the Union, on the basis of a more transparent and robust methodology and relying on information contributed by the Member States.

In relation to the five key objectives identified by the Commission, we are of the opinion that they are not exhaustive and that the order of priorities could probably have been better structured. The fight against terrorism, organised crime and mafias is, and must remain, a key priority within the internal security strategy. The Union must know not only how to react to whatever happens in Europe, but also how to prevent and interpret it. That has been shown by the events in Utøya and now again in Brindisi. We need to be able to recognise the early signs of violent radicalisation, barbarisation of the social milieu and violent extremism.

Judicial cooperation is the main element lacking in the security strategy outlined by the Commission, and this gap needs to be filled. Joint action by judicial systems across Europe is crucial if we are to clamp down on crime and terrorism; strengthening such action must be prioritised, as must fighting corruption and combating environmental, economic and corporate crime.

While we agree with the emphasis placed on fighting cybercrime, the Commission’s decision to include the protection of intellectual property rights among our security priorities hardly seems justified. As the issue of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement shows, this topic is not just a security matter but is highly complex and involves people’s rights, and therefore it requires a more thorough debate.

I would like to finish by thanking all the shadow rapporteurs who played a part in drafting this report, as well as the staff of the political groups and my personal assistant.

 
  
 

Catch-the-eye procedure

 
  
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  Jaroslav Paška (EFD). (SK) Mr President, the internal security of the European Union is being attacked by numerous threats which are, due to our policy of open borders, quickly spreading throughout Europe. Perhaps the greatest current internal security issue facing the European Union is increasingly sophisticated organised crime. The massive influx of economic migrants from poor countries in Asia or Africa, and also large differences in living standards in certain regions of the Union, generate exploitable potential for the organisation of illegal black market labour, prostitution and widespread defrauding of the social systems of wealthy countries. We cannot therefore ignore the link between internal security and the political and security turmoil that surrounds us, and we should therefore aim for a comprehensive European Union security policy and formulate this system in such a way that clear links between foreign influences and the domestic consequences for the security of the European Union are contained in such a system. I believe that a comprehensive approach of this nature is an essential prerequisite for a successful security policy within the European Union.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Mr President, creating an area of freedom, security and justice is one of the European Union’s main objectives. Concrete measures are needed to achieve this to ensure a greater degree of personal safety for every citizen. The Commission communication marks a first step towards this aim by identifying the five key areas and proposing specific actions. However, further efforts are required to combat organised crime and crime in general. On many occasions, an international criminal network may be behind some seemingly petty crimes, such as pick-pocketing or car theft, which affect so many ordinary people. Against this background, I support Europol becoming more involved in analysing and managing the main internal security risks, as stated in Article 6.

 
  
 

End of the catch-the-eye procedure

 
  
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  Cecilia Malmström, Member of the Commission. – Mr President, I would like to join Ms Borsellino in fiercely condemning this weekend’s atrocities in Brindisi. This is something that we can never defend. Whatever the causes behind this, the great symbolism that it was the school named after Ms Falcone is, of course, something that we must reflect upon. The girl came from a village that I visited only two weeks ago, to learn how the community works against the Mafia and works to confiscate the goods of organised crime. This is a barbaric act that we must all condemn.

Let me also thank you for your report. I think you have done excellent work. I would also like to thank the shadow rapporteurs. It really contributes to the development of the internal security strategy. We fully share your view that the internal security strategy should be a shared agenda for all the institutions and the agencies, with clear roles and responsibilities and a common goal. The security of citizens is at the heart of all our efforts.

The internal security strategy provides the best platform to respond to security threats, encompassing both policy setting and operational cooperation, which is now taking shape in a cycle on serious and organised crime. In this context, we very much welcome the idea of the ‘parliamentary policy cycle’, involving the European Parliament, as well as national parliaments, in a joint debate on the state of play with regular reports from the Commission. The Commission is currently working on the second implementation report of the internal security strategy, which will be published by the end of the year.

Implementing the internal security strategy is about keeping promises on the five objectives. There is no ranking between those objectives, which are fighting and preventing serious and organised crime, terrorism and cybercrime, management of our external borders, and building resilience to natural and man-made disasters.

We have achieved quite a lot since the first publication: for instance, the report on confiscation of goods, the establishment of the radicalisation awareness network, the proposal on EU PNR, and the proposal to establish a cyber centre. We are also preparing, for the end of this year, reforms of Cepol, Europol and Eurojust, which would – as you call for – improve the cooperation between police agencies, but also on a national level. We will also present proposals on improving our protection against critical infrastructure and, by the end of the year, we will hold a conference gathering our experience and building on one year of the establishment of the radicalisation awareness network, with some ideas and policies presented from that network.

This second report will assess the state of play of the previously promised actions, including the policy cycle, but we are also looking at the opportunities that security can offer in responding to the economic and financial crisis because, of course, this is also key in establishing an environment where people, investors and companies feel safe and secure.

I believe that Ms Borsellino’s report is a very valuable milestone in Parliament’s involvement in the internal security strategy and I look forward to working with you on this matter.

 
  
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  President. – The debate is closed.

The vote will take place on Tuesday, 22 May 2012.

Written statements (Rule 149)

 
  
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  Ágnes Hankiss (PPE), in writing.(HU) As shadow rapporteur for the internal security strategy, I must express my thanks to Ms Borsellino for the openness and flexibility with which she received the proposals of the Group of the European People’s Party. Our successful compromises stand as proof that if we address the issues and challenges of internal security on a professional basis and free from prejudice, we can find middle ground and rise above our political differences.

The internal security strategy is an important tool for effectively combating several forms of crime. It focuses on the fight against the various forms of international organised crime, such as mafias or ‘white-collar’ crime and money laundering, as well as on reinforcing European counter-terrorism activities.

It is crucial to develop a common threat assessment system and to better coordinate the Member State practices necessary for the effective protection of critical information infrastructure. In order to guarantee cyber security in Europe, cooperation between EU public and private sector participants as well as civilian and military actors is indispensable. The cyber security centre to be established also serves to further this goal. One of our urgent tasks is to complete the identification of European critical infrastructures. The protection of our external borders and, not least, the prevention of and response to natural and man-made disasters, also require joint action.

In order to achieve the aforementioned goals, it is unavoidable to allocate proportionate budgetary resources to them and seek to ensure that the measures included in the internal security strategy are represented appropriately in the budget for 2014-2020.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing.(RO) Internet security is currently one of the European Union’s key political priorities. The Internet obviously provides a vital infrastructure, and its disruption could result in heavy losses and risks to citizens’ safety.

This is precisely why I think that Directive 2008/114 ought to have its scope of application extended to include information and communications technologies and recognise them as a critical sector. I regard it as a matter of urgency to set up a European early warning network for critical infrastructures and include in the warning system financial services and systems in the areas of health care, food, water supply, nuclear research and industry.

 
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