EPP group accuses Left of siding with terrorists; Left strikes back
Left-wing MEPs have hit back at EPP group criticism after it accused them of helping terrorists by delaying new security legislation.
Following last weekend's tragic events in Paris, which killed more than 120 people and left dozens of others critically injured, many MEPs were quick to take to Twitter to express their grief and shock at the attacks, using the trending hashtag, "#NousSommesUnis" - French for "we are united".
EPP group Chair Manfred Weber had also said; "To all those ideologists and extremists who are already trying to exploit these terrorist attacks for their own political goals, we are saying very clearly: all democrats will go against any cynical attempts to exploit these events."
It has been less than a week since the deadly assault, but sadly, it's already time to get back to dealing blows to political opponents. Failing to observe their leader's promise or show any sense of unity in the European Parliament, the EPP group today issued a press release titled, 'Paris attacks: terrorists would gleefully vote Left'.
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EPP group MEP Monika Hohlmeier said; "It seems that for the Socialists, the Liberals, the Greens and the Communists, it is business as usual. For them, there's no lesson to be drawn from the Paris attacks. These left-wing groups are basically inviting terrorists to use loopholes in our safety and security legislation in order to perpetrate other terror attacks."
"It is imperative that appropriate steps are taken swiftly and weaknesses in our security legislation identified. The movements of terrorists have to be monitored, their financial sources have to be drained and their encrypted communications must be accessed. In order to do that, it is imperative that we change legislation."
She added; "A faster and more coordinated analysis of flights (PNR) in and out of Europe is an important step to uncovering and tracking the movements of suspicious persons. Data privacy is an important priority, but protecting the lives of innocent people in Europe takes precedence."
Discussions on implementing an EU-wide PNR system have been ongoing since 2011; some MEPs left of the EPP group are worried it may jeopardise people's right to privacy.
The centre-right grouping is now laying the blame for the delay at the door of Parliament's S&D and ALDE groups. Alain Lamassoure said, "an EU PNR system should have been in place since 2011. How many tragedies are necessary to convince the social democrats and the liberals in the European Parliament to act?"
According to Manfred Weber, "in the past, Social Democrats and Liberals have unfortunately constantly blocked legislation on security for ideological reasons. But Daesh will not be fought with nice speeches and good intentions. We call on Social Democrats and Liberals to immediately support our proposals in the fight against terror. These decisions should be made before the end of the year."
These accusations were quickly rebutted by S&D group Chair Gianni Pittella, who branded Weber's comments, "simply untrue. As the EPP group well knows, we voted in favour of this legislation in Parliament and trilogues are ongoing as planned. We must resist using a tragedy to score political points. Let us stand united and defeat terror and extremism together."
Socialist MEP Birgit Sippel added, "contrary to the EPP group, the S&D group is not abusing the Paris attacks to gain political points, but rather aiming for a thorough approach to PNR."
Greens/EFA group deputy Jan Albrecht also blasted the EPP, tweeting, "the victims of the Paris attacks aren't even buried yet as the EPP group campaigns on their backs."
Meanwhile, Greens home affairs spokesperson Judith Sargentini explained that her group opposed measures such PNR because they, "are inefficient and a massive drain on resources that are badly needed elsewhere." Instead, she suggested strengthening cooperation between member state intelligence services, something all groups support.
Building intelligence into borders will be key to the effective use of PNR data, says Ray Batt.
There are different reasons why people believe in extremist ideologies or join extremist groups, explains Alexander Ritzmann.
Europe is lagging behind in exploiting the potential of its helicopter sector, argues Jaime Arqué.