Conservatives fight derailment of key anti-terror deal

25-Nov-2014 @ 12:45

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Conservative MEPs today condemned attempts in the European Parliament to derail plans for an important new security agreement to boost counter-terrorism.

Conservatives opposed attempts by Liberal, Green, Socialist and Communist MEPs to undermine the proposed EU-Canada deal on the transfer and processing of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data. The left groups of the parliament are attempting to question the legality of the agreement by suggesting that it breaches the Data Retention Directive and the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the European Treaties. Despite Conservative opposition, the Left succeeded in pushing though a vote referring the proposals to the European Court of Justice for an opinion.

Timothy Kirkhope, Conservative spokesman on Justice and Home Affairs, said: "Unfortunately these are people who put their own political ideology ahead of the urgency of tackling terrorism. They are more worried about proving a political point over human rights and personal privacy than they are about the real-life problems of protecting the public from the very real and current threat of terrorists and organised crime."

Currently, EU citizens’ data is being exchanged with Canada under the old agreement (2006), which has fewer legal and administrative rights and lacks comprehensive independent oversight. Therefore Conservatives have always supported the swift adoption of the new EU-Canada PNR Agreement. The request for an ECJ opinion could delay the adoption of the agreement by years. The fact that the left are happy for data to be exchanged for possibly another couple of years with fewer legal rights for citizens than if the new agreement was adopted, shows the hypocrisy of their arguments, and their willingness to compromise the rights and safety of Europeans to prove a political point.

Mr Kirkhope added: "In fact, the ECJ has already given its opinion on the Data Retention Directive before the summer. The European Conservatives and Reformists Group has always supported international PNR Agreements in order to combat the threat of serious organised crime, child exploitation, human trafficking, drug smuggling and terrorism. These agreements are particularly important to the security of the EU given the current threat of EU foreign fighters. We cannot afford this delay, which will leave the World much less safe."

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