Labour MEPs to vote for greater EU crime-fighting cooperation

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Labour MEPs will vote today to strengthen Europol, the EU police agency. The proposals will enable further EU-level cooperation among law-enforcement authorities, aiding the fight against cross-border crime and terrorism.

Claude Moraes MEP, chair of the civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee, said:

"Europol demonstrates the clear benefits of European cooperation in helping national governments to effectively target cross-border crime and combat terrorism. The new regulations will strengthen the agency, which has a proven track record in dealing with crime and terrorism.

"The proposals provide legal certainty for Europol's activities and make EU countries' participation in the agency clearer and more systematic. It will also facilitate Europol's day-to-day activities by making it easier to set up specialised units - such as joint investigation teams - to respond to emerging threats.

"In addition, the new rules include strong data protection safeguards and democratic oversight tools - Labour MEPs have worked to ensure the regulation provides safeguards on the processing of information by Europol, and that it is fully in line with the EU data protection package which was approved by MEPs last month.

"The new law will also establish a joint parliamentary scrutiny group which will monitor Europol's activities, including any potential impact on fundamental rights and freedoms."

Mr Moraes added:

"Key figures such as the director of Europol, Rob Wainwright, a former British police and intelligence officer, have repeatedly shown how the EU is vital to our security and not a threat to it.

"This proposal will help us to achieve closer European cooperation on police and intelligence issues, while ensuring the use of sensitive data complies with fundamental rights practice.

"As we see with the comments from Mr Wainwright, as we have seen with the remarks this week by 13 former US secretaries of state and defence and five former Nato Secretaries-General, as we saw with the warnings from British military leaders - including three former Chiefs of the Defence Staff - to leave the EU would be to gamble with our security.

"Only by remaining in the European Union, only by working with our neighbours, sharing information, pooling intelligence, cooperating and acting together will we be able to most effectively fight crime and terrorism and keep Britain safe."

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