On Thursday, MEPs set out Parliament’s views on a common approach to fight terrorism and organised crime, child abuse, disinformation and hybrid threats.
The non-legislative resolution was adopted with 543 votes in favour 64 votes against and 82 abstentions. It presents an overview of current security issues, as identified by the Commission for the period 2020-2025 in the EU Security Union strategy, including 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.
MEPs consider that any new legislative proposal should be accompanied by a comprehensive impact assessment, in particular on fundamental rights aspects. They also stress 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.
Countering radicalisation to prevent terrorist attacks
MEPs welcome the Commission’s recent Counter-Terrorism Agenda and stress 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 believe.
Enhance Europol’s role
On 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.
Step up the fight against child abuse online and offline
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.
Assess encryption rights and challenges
MEPs 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.
The rapporteur Juan Fernando LÓPEZ AGUILAR (S&D, ES) said : “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. 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.”
Procedure: non-legislative resolution