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.
Neena Gill MEP said:
"This demonstrates 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."
It is a welcome sign that we 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.
My Labour colleagues are fighting to make 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.
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