EPP and S&D groups at odds on EU security priorities

The non-binding resolution concerning the European Agenda on Security for 2015-2020 proposed by the Commission was adopted by a narrow margin by the European Parliament. This document  sets out the guidelines on how the Union can bring added value to support the Member States in ensuring security.

The text was adopted by 250 votes in favour 204 against and 184 abstentions. The socialist group and the liberals supported the final resolution. The majority of the EPP members abstained, together with the majority of the Greens and of the GUE/NGL. The conservatives, the eurosceptics and the new party group of Marine Le Pen voted against.

Click here to see how each individual MEP voted.

The resolution askes to the Commission to further address the root causes of crime like inequality, poverty and discrimination and stresses that adequate resources need to be provided to social workers as well as to the police and the judiciary.

MEPs voting in favour of the proposal called for the setting of the right balance between prevention policies and repressive measures in order to preserve freedom and justice. Moreover, they welcomed that the Commission decided to base the Agenda on the principles of full compliance with the rule of law and fundamental rights. Furthermore, the measures enabling the vast collection of personal data were condemned and doubts were expressed regarding the usefulness of mass surveillance measures. Through the resolution, the European Parliament committed to finalise the PNR directive by the end of the year.

EU parliamentarians also called for the inclusion of very strong humanitarian clauses in cooperation agreements with third countries and asked for cooperation with non-democratic countries to be reconsidered.

As regards terrorism, the MEPs welcome the measures put forward by the Commission in order to fight it and condemns the confusion made between terrorism, insecurity, Islam and migrants. The text says that the Commission should develop a thorough strategy as regards EU fighters, to make the prevention of radicalisation a priority for the EU. However, it is also specified that a security policy should promote political and religious tolerance, develop social cohesion and inclusiveness in order to be successful.

The resolution addresses also organised crime and cybercrime which constitute major threats to EU citizens and EU economy.

Groups’ position

The EPP Group decided to abstained because its member were deeply concerned by “the naive approach taken by the Socialists, Liberals, Greens and Communists which was thoroughly reflected in the Resolution.[1]” Ms Hohlmeier MEP, EPP Group Spokeswoman, said: “At a time of unprecedented threats to our security, the Socialists opt to safeguard criminals’ fundamental rights.”

The ECR did not support the resolution because they believe it “fundamentally fails to address the key security challenges facing the EU, such as terrorism, radicalisation, the rights of victims, child protection, human trafficking, and the resources, legislation and cooperation required to deliver this agenda.[2]

GUE/NGL members decided to abstain or oppose the resolution because they are of the opinion that the answer to current threats should not be “More weapons and surveillance”.[3].

[1] http://www.eppgroup.eu/press-release/If-criminals-were-MEPs-they-would-have-voted-with-the-Left

[2] http://ecrgroup.eu/week_ahead/6th-july-9th-july-2015-strasbourg/#more-12238

[3] http://www.guengl.eu/news/article/gue-ngl-news/terrorism-we-dont-need-more-weapons-and-surveillance-we-need-to-examine-the