Estonian presidency of the EU Council, free movement of data, fight against cyber crime and terrorism were spoken about at the meeting of the European Union Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) with European Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King.
Chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee Toomas Vitsut gave the Commissioner an overview of the conferences and priorities of the Estonian presidency, emphasising the discussion about the future of the EU and the roles of national parliaments. Speaking of security, Vitsut said that it was a very extensive sphere where it was necessary to concentrate on some narrower issues in order to achieve better results.
In Commissioner King’s opinion, cyber security and fighting against cybercrime could be such issues. The Commissioner said that all these different challenges require strong willingness to cooperate and exchange of information between the Member States.
According to King, new solutions on how the Member States of the European Union could share security information better are expected from the European Commission. He expressed hope that Estonia would purposefully move on with these issues during its presidency. He mentioned biometric data and travel information of people as examples of the information that should be quickly available to the police and border guard officers.
Member of the Committee Marianne Mikko raised the issue of balance between the fundamental rights of citizens and sharing of data necessary for ensuring security. She recalled that only recently the balance had been in favour of fundamental rights in Europe. Mikko wanted to know if this balance had changed with the changing security situation. Commissioner King said the debate about it was still going on.
Member of the Committee Taavi Rõivas emphasised that connecting of data bases and exchanging of data made it easier to prevent the activities of terrorists and capturing them on the borders. “This is much more than a technical issue, because very much depends on the readiness of states and security authorities to take data exchange to a new level,” Rõivas said, and acknowledged Commissioner King for the activities belonging to his competence. Rõivas added that in the field of cyber defence it was possible for the EU to cooperate with NATO, whose Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence was located in Tallinn.
Member of the Committee Oudekki Loone spoke about preventing organised crime, especially in the context of cyber crime and smuggling of human beings. King also considered it an important issue, where the cooperation of Member States would guarantee success, referring to the soon to be published action plan based on the Europol report.
Chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee Toomas Vitsut presented Commissioner Julian King the invitation to be the keynote speaker at the security panel of the Conference of European Affairs Committees, which will be held in Tallinn in November within the framework of the Estonian presidency of the Council of European Union.