MEPs risk handing terrorists another gift by cancelling crucial EU-USA terror agreement

09-Oct-2013 @ 13:0

No items found.

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

After the Head of MI5 warned that Edward Snowden's leaks had provided the 'advantage' to terrorists and were a ‘gift they need to evade us and strike at will', MEPs risk handing them another gift if they vote to suspend a crucial counter-terror agreement off the back of the NSA allegations, Timothy Kirkhope MEP, Conservative Justice and Home Affairs spokesman, warned today.

MEPs are debating later today whether to suspend the so-called Terrorist Tracking Finance Programme which provides information from the Belgian-based Swift financial network to track terrorist activity through international financial flows. It comes after unconfirmed allegations were made that the US Government is tracking money flows through a separate database.

The so-called Swift agreement between the EU and USA was signed in 2010, yet not before the European Parliament had rejected a temporary transatlantic deal at the start of the year.

Speaking in a debate in the European Parliament in Strasbourg today, Mr Kirkhope will call on MEPs not to make life easier for terrorist groups by cutting off their noses to spite their faces. He said that if there is a case to answer then it should be answered with all of the facts available, not based on allegations made by one man. MEPs will take a vote on the matter at the end of the month, following a debate today in the parliament.

The EU and USA have set up an ad-hoc working group on data protection yet MEPs have also insisted on setting up an inquiry despite their clear lack of powers regarding national security issues.

Timothy Kirkhope, a former UK Home Office Minister, will say this afternoon:

"The European Parliament is becoming a worryingly irresponsible and irrational body when it comes to counter-terrorism policy. Yet it has real powers under the Lisbon Treaty.

"On the basis of a media report and few facts MEPs are trying to suspend a major counter-terror agreement. Suspending the Swift agreement should be the nuclear option. Global terror and significant global financial transfers go hand in hand, so tracking them is a sad but necessary part of modern day counter-terrorism policy.

"The EU and the USA are establishing the facts together. If MEPs cancel the Swift agreement without knowing all of the facts then they will be cutting off all of our noses to spite their faces.

"The Head of MI5 has already made it clear that the Snowden allegations have given terrorists a ‘gift they need to evade us and strike at will'. Let's not hand them another one."

« Back