At the plenary meeting of the Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs of Parliaments of the European Union (COSAC) held in Tallinn on Tuesday, politicians of the parliaments of EU member states and the European Parliament found that cooperation was necessary to ensure European security and prevent illegal migration.
European Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King discussed the establishment of a common security union, the prevention of terrorism and radicalization, cyber security and the fight against cyber crime, as well as combating organized crime and money laundering as the primary issues in this field, according to a Riigikogu press release.
According to King, all of these challenges require a strong willingness to cooperate as well as the exchange of information between EU member states. He noted, for example, that people's travel information and biometric data should be better available to police and border guard officers. At the same time, however, he stressed that this did not mean the loss of privacy, adding that measures to increase security must respect fundamental freedoms.
EU member states have made progress in preventing terrorism, found the commissioner, but there was still much left to do. "We cannot achieve zero risk in our fight against the terrorist threat, but together we can considerably reduce the risk," he said.
King also highlighted radicalization taking place online. "As much of this horrible radicalizing propaganda is carried online, we are working with big internet platforms to try and get better at spotting and taking down this material or, if possible, to stop it going up in th first place," he said.
European Union Affairs Committee member Marianne Mikko said that debate of the panel on security had testified that the EU had reached a common understanding of the importance of cyber security. "Hopefully the delegates of national parliaments will take home the message from Tallinn that, fighting against the cyber threat as a united front, we will be unbreakable," she said.
Deputy Director General for Migration of the Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs of the European Commission Simon Mordue underlined that, thanks to common efforts, the number of migrants arriving in the EU had decreased and the external border was better protected, but added that cooperation had to be continued even more intensively. According to Mordue, Europe needs a single and efficient asylum system. It is also necessary to increase financial support to the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex and its role, he added.
Chairman of the Foreign and European Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives of Malta Edward Zammit Lewis pointed out that, to mitigate the migration and refugee crisis, it was necessary to cooperate with third countries and to conclude agreements on return.
Chairwoman of the Grand Committee of the Parliament of Finland Anne-Mari Virolainen compared the migration and refugee crisis to a flood, where dams are only temporary. Europe needs far-reaching solutions, she found, and for that, the root causes of the migration and refugee crisis must be tackled. "The EU is only 14 kilometers away from the African coast, and thus it is our common interest that stability and welfare would reign in African countries," she said.
Jaak Madison, who moderated the debate, said that an efficient migration policy included activities within the EU as well as contributing to third countries. At the same time, he found, the moderate number of returns of persons who do not need protection continues to be a problem.
The Estonian delegation at the COSAC plenary meeting included Chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee Toomas Vistut and members Monika Haukanõmm, Marianne Mikko, Kalle Palling, Jaak Madison, Tiina Kangro and Oudekki Loone.
Editor: Aili Vahtla