Future of EU Intelligence and Internal Security: Time has come for stocktaking. Ágnes Hankiss MEP

Future of EU Intelligence and Internal Security: Time has come for stocktaking. Ágnes Hankiss MEP

2011. 03. 31.

"There is bilateral, multilateral and international cooperation among Member States as well as third countries that can be permanent or task-oriented, operational or strategic but it may not be efficient enough and perhaps, sometimes too fragmented. The weakness of the exchange of information and common, joint action is exploited by the counter-interested parties, especially organised criminals and terrorists, who, by the way, are connected more and more", highlighted Ágnes Hankiss MEP, Member of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and the Subcommittee on Security and Defence.

"A clear distinction and division of tasks and responsibilities is needed between the 'external' security policies and 'internal' legislative and political measures and tools while at the same time the appropriate forms of cooperation and collaboration need to be defined", emphasised Mrs Hankiss.

"A coherent common policy is needed with regards to security", underlined Manfred Weber MEP, Vice-Chairman of the EPP Group in charge of Justice and Home Affairs, in his welcome speech. "One of the preconditions to this is the deepening of trust between stakeholders. The forms of parliamentary control over intelligence and EU agencies are yet to be defined, one possibility is the creation of a subcommittee", he added.

Several speakers agreed on the necessity of leveraging the potential of a proactive and intelligence-led approach between national secret services, EU agencies and other competent authorities with the aim of safeguarding the interests of the European Union and maintaining security. The possible forms and structures of a gradual shift from fragmented national intelligence to a deeper cooperation and the more comprehensive change of information under the umbrella of the EU was barely disputed.

Mrs Hankiss said in her closing remarks: "The principle of subsidiary is laid down in the Treaties and with regards to national security it remains the full responsibility of the Member States. While the Lisbon Treaty and the mentioned principle must be respected, we need to do some soul-searching to find out what could be done in the future to start shifting from often isolated bilateral agreements to a multilateral, common EU policy. Naturally, it will take a lot of time but the work should begin at European level."