Charles Tannock: UK must continue to cooperate with EU on security issues
UK MEP Charles Tannock has told a conference that security “must remain a priority” in the future relationship between the UK and EU.
Charles Tannock | Photo credit: European Parliament audiovisual
Speaking in Brussels on Tuesday, the ECR group member said it was important the EU could still rely on the “wealth of knowledge” the UK possessed on security issues after it leaves the EU in 2019.
Tannock, a member of Parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said, “At present, there is a real danger of no deal being negotiated and the UK falling off the cliff edge.”
He said that UK cooperation with the EU in the security area, including its participation of agencies such as Europol and involvement in the European arrest warrant, could be put at risk.
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The Tory deputy said, “My big fear is that access to such bodies may not be accessible unless agreement is reached early in the negotiations between the two sides. This aspect needs addressing now, not later.”
However, it was “praiseworthy”, he said, that UK Prime Minister Theresa May had said that security and the fight against terror “must remain a top priority”.
He said, “The UK has suffered no less than four terrorist attacks already this year and that is unacceptable and quite intolerable.”
“That is why we must continue to find ways to combat the threat to our shared security by terrorist groups like Isis.”
Tannock was speaking at a high-level conference organised by the Counter Extremism Project (CEP), which is based in Brussels but also has bases in other parts of the world.
Opening the event, Lucinda Creighton, a senior advisor to the CEP and a former Irish minister for EU affairs, highlighted the threat posed by online extremism.
She said this was behind a spate of terror attacks, including those in Brussels which claimed the lives of 32 people and the recent attack in Manchester in which 22 people were killed.
She said, “We are all too familiar with the horrific aftermath of the misuse of the internet by terrorists.”
She said that in the Manchester attacks, a video thought to have been disseminated by those behind the atrocity was still online two months after the outrage.
“We have seen, recently, a change in tone from some tech companies and this is welcome. The internet did not create extremism, but it has allowed it to flourish and that is why more needs to be done to tackle this particular issue.”
The two-day conference, ‘Building alliances - Preventing terror’, will hear from a range of security experts, MEPs and other officials and concludes on Friday.
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