MEPs prop up the priorities of the EU Security Union Strategy

New legislative proposals should assess impact on fundamental rights, they urge

Photo: EP Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar.

A resolution, presenting an overview of current security issues, as identified by the Commission for the period 2020-2025 in the EU Security Union strategy, was adopted by MEPs with 543 votes in favour 64 votes against and 82 abstentions. 

It includes the fight against terrorism and organised crime, child abuse on and offline, disinformation and hybrid threats, migrant smuggling, action against illicit drugs and firearms trafficking.

 

The EP welcomes the new EU Security Union Strategy but reminds the Commission that it must be grounded in the values enshrined in Article 2 of Treaty on EU, including the principles of democracy and the rule of law, and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, rapporteur Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar (S&D, ES) stressed. He underscored that there is already a significant legislative framework on internal security, which means that efforts should now be devoted to ensuring existing EU legislation is effectively implemented and enforced in all Member States.

According to MEPs, any new legislative proposal should be accompanied by a comprehensive impact assessment, in particular on fundamental rights aspects. They also stressed that gender equality is crucial to combat radicalisation, reduce domestic violence and child abuse. Gender equality should be included further into the strategy as a preventative tool, they say.

Welcoming the Commission’s recent Counter-Terrorism Agenda, the lawmakers stressed that terrorism, irrespective of its nature, is a threat to democratic societies in Europe and targets European values.

A holistic approach to preventing and countering radicalisation, combining security, education, social, cultural and anti-discrimination policies involving all stakeholders is necessary, MEPs said.

Concerning the recently tabled proposal to update Europol’s mandate, the resolution notes that the agency should have suitable tools to cooperate more effectively with all partners. This should be seen as an opportunity to strengthen Europol’s political accountability and enhance judicial and parliamentary oversight. Moreover, MEPs call for adequate funding and staffing of EU agencies in the Justice and Home Affairs field.

By June 2021, MEPs expect the Commission to present a legislative proposal to better detect and report online child sexual abuse.

They reiterate Parliament’s call to appoint an EU representative for children’s rights, who should serve as a point of reference for all EU matters and policy related to children.

The lawmakers ask the Commission to assess whether a regulatory solution could be found to enable lawful and targeted law-enforcement access to encrypted data while complying with fundamental rights. They stress that end-to-end encryption contributes to citizens’ privacy and is indispensable for investigative journalists and whistle-blowers.

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