Fundamental rights, says Claude Moraes, must "be at the heart of the EU’s policy". As chair of parliament’s civil liberties, justice and home affairs (LIBE) committee Moraes is responsible for "ensuring the full respect of the charter of fundamental rights and the European convention on human rights within the EU". This is no small task and, as Moraes tells the Parliament Magazine, "LIBE is responsible for the vast majority of the legislation and democratic oversight of European justice and home affairs policies".
Only a few months into the new legislature and the British MEP says MEPs have already begun their "heavy workload in the LIBE committee". "Over the coming months," he says, "we will be tackling issues such as the fight against international crime and terrorism, the protection of fundamental rights, ensuring data protection and privacy in a digital age, fighting discrimination based on racial or ethnic origin, religion, belief, disability, age or sexual orientation, among other issues." Moraes also highlights the committee’s continuing work from the previous legislature, which includes "the students and researcher directive, the final aspect of the current, temporary migration package that went through our committee and started with my own report, and finally on seasonal workers".
"[I intend to] steer the LIBE committee to tackle all our legislation with fundamental rights at the centre, whether we are dealing with security or antidiscrimination legislation"
Speaking personally, Moraes underlines his intention to "steer the LIBE committee to tackle all our legislation with fundamental rights at the centre, whether we are dealing with security or anti-discrimination legislation". "As rapporteur on the electronic mass surveillance inquiry following the Snowden revelations," says the S&D deputy, "one of my other key priorities will be to ensure that the parliament’s resolution adopted last March is followed up and that we implement a digital bill of rights to safeguard citizens’ right to privacy. In addition, I will push for the completion of the data protection package." Moraes is also keen to underline the importance of tackling migration, which he plans to approach "in a more holistic manner, assessing all the interlinked policies and issues".
Finally, Moraes outlined his hopes for "good cooperation with all the commissioners whose mandate falls within the LIBE remit". "This cooperation will include regular committee meetings with the presence of the commissioners for their relevant areas of responsibility," he concludes.
Claude Moraes is chair of parliament’s civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee