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MEPs have today approved the UK's new Commissioner-designate, Sir Julian King, as Commissioner for the Security Union.

The role will involve addressing the threat posed by returning foreign terrorist fighters; preventing and fighting radicalisation; improving information exchange; strengthening the European Counter Terrorism Centre; cutting the access of terrorists to firearms and explosives; fighting against cybercrime; and protecting citizens and critical infrastructures.

Today’s vote follows Monday’s hearing in front of the European Parliament civil liberties, justice and home affairs (LIBE) committee, at which Sir Julian was questioned by MEPs.

Claude Moraes MEP, chair of the LIBE committee, said:

“It is great news for Britain and for the whole EU that the European Parliament has voted to approve Sir Julian King as Commissioner for the Security Union. MEPs from across the political spectrum have agreed that Sir Julian was highly competent and had a sound knowledge of his portfolio.

“We are pleased Sir Julian has committed to making sure existing EU legislation in the field of security is implemented by national governments, and that he has confirmed he would work closely with the European Parliament to ensure this was achieved. He has also reassured us that further work would be carried out to combat radicalisation, and that fundamental rights would be central to an effective security strategy.

“It is also important that the Commissioner-designate has committed to carrying out a comprehensive review of all existing EU security measures, which will enable us to assess what measures work well and where legislation is not effectively implemented by Member States.”

The Commissioner-designate will now take office after he is formally appointed by ministers in the EU Council.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Labour MEPs: King’s approval by MEPs as EU Security Union Commissioner “great news” for Britain

MEPs have today approved the UK's new Commissioner-designate, Sir Julian King, as Commissioner for the Security Union.

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Labour MEPs will warn the European Parliament that Brexit will be the “mother of all divorce cases” and will be “disastrous” if done hastily, reiterating how the UK government remains divided on membership of the single market, one of the biggest issues to be resolved.

MEPs will debate the future of the EU today, and the challenges it faces, following European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s annual State of the Union address.

Richard Corbett MEP, Deputy Leader of Labour’s MEPs, will tell the European Parliament:

“There are multiple challenges that face Europe at this moment, of which Brexit is just one. But it will be the mother of all divorce cases, and if done hastily will be disastrous.

“The list of issues that will need to be settled is huge, and every day new problems are discovered that were never mentioned by Brexit supporters in the referendum campaign.

“The British government has not triggered Article 50, because it still has no clue as to what it wants to achieve on most of these issues.

“The key one is whether it will try to continue to be part of the single market, in which case it will have to follow the same rules as everyone else for that market, or it will leave it entirely, in which case Britain will face tariff barriers and regulatory obstacles to its main export market, vital to its economy.

“This is an unpalatable choice, and one on which the government is divided.

“Whichever way the government comes off the fence on this has huge implications for Britain and Europe - and could also see many Leave voters complain that that is not what they were told, nor what they voted for.

“Brexit is not a settled issue, neither at European level, nor in Britain, where calls for a re-think of the whole issue will continue to grow.”

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

As Juncker delivers State of Union speech, Labour MEPs warn hasty Brexit will be disastrous

Labour MEPs will warn the European Parliament that Brexit will be the “mother of all divorce cases” and will be “disastrous” if done hastily, reiterating how the UK government remains...

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The appointment of a new British Commissioner to the Security Union portfolio will ensure the UK continues to have a strong, positive role in Europe, Labour MEPs have said ahead of Commissioner-designate Sir Julian King's confirmation hearing. He will be questioned by MEPs on the European Parliament civil liberties, justice and home affairs (LIBE) committee this evening, followed by a vote of all MEPs on Thursday.

The main responsibilities of the Security Union include addressing the threat posed by returning foreign terrorist fighters; preventing and fighting radicalisation; sanctioning terrorists and their backers; improving information exchange; strengthening the European Counter Terrorism Centre; cutting the access of terrorists to firearms and explosives; cutting access of terrorists to funds; and protecting citizens and critical infrastructures.

Claude Moraes MEP, chair of the LIBE committee, said:

"The proposed appointment of a new British commissioner for the Security Union means the UK will continue to have a strong, positive role in Europe. The role is an opportunity to make a real difference in the fight against terrorism by improving intelligence sharing throughout the EU and responding to radicalisation.

"It is also a sign that, while Britain’s membership of key EU agreements is at risk, in the coming years Britain will continue to play an important role in promoting security and information sharing between the police and intelligence communities. The benefits of this cooperation are clear and we should negotiate continued access to these schemes even after Britain has left the EU."

"Sir Julian's appearance today will enable MEPs to scrutinise the work of the new Commissioner, and to emphasise the importance of promoting security cooperation throughout the EU while ensuring that this does not compromise our fundamental rights and values."

Mr Moraes added:

"Our key priorities include making sure existing EU security legislation is fully implemented by national governments so citizens can benefit from better security cooperation throughout Europe. It will be up to the Commission to maintain the pressure for effective implementation to ensure EU security legislation is put into practice - including, where necessary, considering the use of infringement proceedings against Member States who fail to fulfil their treaty obligations.

"We must also ensure important legislation such as the Prüm Convention on the exchange of key intelligence data between EU countries is properly implemented to help security services prevent possible future attacks. Equally, governments must be encouraged to make greater use of existing facilities in order to improve intelligence sharing. These include schemes such as the Schengen Information System to flag up wanted or missing persons, Eurojust - which enables the exchange of information on terrorist offences - and Interpol's database on stolen and lost travel documents.

"Continuing to work closely with our European partners is imperative to help keep Britain safe, by sharing intelligence, resources and expertise. The proposed appointment of Sir Julian as Security Union Commissioner shows that the UK and EU believe this must endure whatever the nature of our future relationship."

Monday, September 12, 2016

Labour MEPs: Appointment of new EU Security Commissioner shows UK continues to have strong, positive role in Europe

The appointment of a new British Commissioner to the Security Union portfolio will ensure the UK continues to have a strong, positive role in Europe, Labour MEPs have said ahead...

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