|European unity is essential to curb errorism|
Gianni Pittella is the Socialists & Democrats (S&D) chief in the European Parliament.
Pitella spoke with EurActiv’s Editor-in-Chief Daniela Vincenti.
Q: EU justice ministers on Thursday (24 March) agreed to set up a team of national counter-terrorism experts to strengthen Europol as a response to the Brussels attacks. Is that enough to deal the threats?
P: It cannot be enough. It is a positive step but there is a lot to do to make up for lost time. Paradoxically, the terrorism threat and the migration crisis could turn out to be an opportunity to finally turn Europe into a fully political Union.
Besides the shameful and clear shortcomings of the Belgium services, we must point the finger at the blind illusion of some national governments that think they can tackle global threats unilaterally. Intelligence services’ information is still jealously guarded and not shared amongst partners.
The sooner we realize that we need greater integration, the better we will protect citizensThis lack of cooperation is as evident as it is unjustified. It stems from the same silly attitude that prevents the setting up of a common European approach to the migration crisis.
The sooner we realize that we all need greater European integration, the better we will be able to protect citizens’ security and freedom.
Q: Some insist that successful counter-terrorism cannot be carried out by security forces, it needs to be carried out by intelligence services. What’s your view?
P: I couldn’t agree more. It is clear that security is a right that has no political colours. It belongs to all citizens. In front of tragedies such as those that took place in Paris and Brussels, European leaders should put aside their national selfishness and be ready to think and act differently.
They must deliver a European Intelligence Agency. Europol already has great potential and its database represents a unique and strong asset for Europe. The cooperation with National intelligence services must be strengthened, starting with data sharing.
Read more: Pittella: The ‘Trump’ of Europe hamper cooperation on counter terrorism – EurActiv.com