The director of Europol, Rob Wainwright, today laid out the benefits of the European Union in the fight against terrorism, people smuggling, and other cross-border crime. He was addressing MEPs from the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament.
Claude Moraes MEP, chair of the civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee, said:
"Europol is a major example of the added value of the European Union. The organisation demonstrates the clear benefits of European cooperation in order to detect and prevent terrorism and respond to the migration crisis.
"Despite being only a modestly-sized EU agency, it has been effective in dealing with anti-terrorism without extra funding. Europol has also been clear in not exaggerating the link between migration and terrorism, showing there is no systematic evidence conflating the two issues. However, Europol is vigilant in all migration-related terror threats where they may exist.
"As a former British police and intelligence officer, Rob Wainwright's comments on the benefits of closer EU integration are significant and show the need for closer cooperation between EU countries in sharing information from the police and intelligence communities.
"Labour MEPs have reiterated their support for key anti-terrorism and anti-radicalisation measures including the EU Passenger Name Record (PNR) system as well as the Prüm convention on the cross-border exchange of information.
"Today, what Rob Wainwright has said shows the EU is vital to our security and not a threat to it. It is important for national governments to effectively target cross-border crime and combat terrorism. The European Parliament also has a clear role to ensure the use of sensitive data complies with fundamental rights practice in any new anti-terror initiatives."
Glenis Willmott MEP, Labour's Leader in the European Parliament, added:
"The comments by the head of Europol are yet more evidence that our streets are safer as members of the EU. Mr Wainwright, who used to head up Britain's Serious and Organised Crime Agency, is absolutely right to point out that our membership of the EU makes it easier for the police to prevent terrorist attacks and fight organised crime.
"His remarks echo the warnings from 13 of Britain's most senior former military commanders today that we must stay in the European Union to protect ourselves from 'grave security threats'. The experts are clear. We are safer and more secure as members of the EU."