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Counter-terrorism

MEPs give EU governments carte blanche to scale-back personal freedoms


The European Parliament today adopted a resolution on an EU approach to counter-terrorism, ahead of this week's summit of EU heads of state and government on the issue. The Greens voted against the resolution, which would fail to provide a coherent response to terrorism and instead open the door to a more repressive response. After the vote, Green civil liberties and home affairs spokesperson Judith Sargentini said:

"Parliament is today sending the wrong message at the wrong time. The resolution agreed by the 4 bigger political groups provides a carte blanche for EU governments to scale-back personal freedoms with measures that will fail to properly respond to the terrorist threat. Instead of pushing for effective measures, the usual suspects who have been continually pushing for mass surveillance and data retention are using the Paris attacks as an excuse to bulldoze through these measures, despite any evidence that they will prove effective in countering the terrorist threat.

"A coherent counter-terrorism strategy would focus on targeted surveillance of real suspects and ensuring security authorities have the means and resources to focus on specific risks and concrete suspicions, to follow any leads immediately, and to efficiently exchange information about dangerous individuals. This is what we should be trying to achieve. There is also a need to tackle radicalisation in schools and prisons.

"Stepping up mass surveillance will undermine security and is instead a victory for fundamentalists, who are combatting precisely such democratic freedoms. Creating a vast data dragnet, notably by reheating and forcing through the proposed EU air passenger data retention scheme (PNR), will also involve enormous financial cost and divert resources from where they could be more effective, quite apart from the fact the European Court of Justice has ruled such measures to be illegal."