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At the discussion in Tallinn today, the politicians of the parliaments of the European Union Member States and the European Parliament found that it was necessary to cooperate in ensuring security and preventing illegal migration.

Plenary Meeting of the LVIII COSAC about migration and security

The European Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King mentioned the establishment of a common security union, prevention of terrorism and radicalisation, cyber security and the fight against cyber crime, and combating organised crime and money laundering as the main issues in that field.

King said that all those challenges required strong willingness to cooperate and exchange of information between the Member States. For example, the travel information and biometric data of people should be better available to police and border guard officers. At the same time he stressed that that did not mean loss of privacy, and the measures to increase security had to respect the fundamental freedoms.

In King’s opinion, Member States have made progress in preventing terrorism, but no doubt there is still a lot 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 pointed out the radicalisation taking place online. “As much of this horrible radicalising 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 the first place,” King said.

Member of the European Union Affairs Committee Marianne Mikko said that the debate of the panel on security had testified that the European Union 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,” Mikko 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 into the European Union had decreased and the external border was better protected, but the cooperation had to be continued even more intensively. In his words, Europe needs a single and efficient asylum system. It is also necessary to increase the financial support to the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex and its role.

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.

Chair 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. In her words, Europe needs far-reaching solutions. For that, the root causes of the migration and refugee crisis must be tackled. “The European Union is only 14 kilometres away from the coast of Africa, and thus it is our common interest that stability and welfare would reign in African countries,” Virolainen said.

Jaak Madison, who moderated the debate, said that an efficient migration policy included activities within the European Union as well as contributing to third countries. At the same time, in his words, the moderate number of returns of persons who do not need protection continues to be a problem.

At the COSAC plenary meeting, the Estonian delegation included the Chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee Toomas Vitsut, and members Monika Haukanõmm, Marianne Mikko, Kalle Palling, Jaak Madison, Tiina Kangro and Oudekki Loone.

The conclusions and a summary of the meeting is available at parleu2017.ee website. The photo and video materials are available on the Riigikogu Flickr account and in YouTube.

Riigikogu Press Service
Epp-Mare Kukemelk
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