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ECR

Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee

17 December 2013

Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee

The ECR Group believe in a clear and common sense approach to Justice and Home Affairs.

MAIN ECR PRIORITIES

The ECR Group believe in a clear and common sense approach to Justice and Home Affairs.

The European Parliament’s Justice and Home Affairs committee deals with a wide variety of issues, ranging from data protection, to immigration, to combating crime and terrorism. On all of these issues, our approach is the same; that the EU is not there to replace national systems, but to assist them.

The EU has changed in so many ways over the last 20 years, this has presented massive economic opportunities, but it has also presented National Governments with new challenges.

We are a political group that believes you can provide protection for EU citizens and maintain safe and secure borders without full harmonisation of the criminal justice area. We believe that this can be achieved through Member State cooperation and communication with one another, whilst still maintaining the national sovereignty of their own legal and law enforcement traditions.

The ECR Group has 3 main priorities in this area:

A Europe of Safe citizens and safe borders: The ECR Group has taken a leading role in legislating on security and terrorism within the European Parliament. We believe that the EU can help the EU’s national police forces by exchanging information which can help speed up the capture of criminals, and help prevent crimes committed across European borders. Ease of travel and increased use of the internet has presented the EU with new vulnerabilities; however, the quick exchange of information between Member States can be a vital and powerful tool.

A sensible approach to immigration: We believe that a “Firm but Fair” approach to immigration is the best one. Member States should seek to cooperate with Europe to protect Europe’s borders, to offer asylum to those who are genuinely in need of our help and protection, and to take a firm stance with those individuals who seek to exploit the system. The challenges faced by different Member States with regard to immigration are so varied across the Union that a single European system cannot be an effective solution for everyone. Instead, the EU can help support individual countries by helping them fulfil their international obligations, and provide support through returns programmes, resettlement programmes and the European Asylum Support Office. Immigration is a complicated issue, and the final say should always lie with national Governments who best understand those challenges.

Helping Business: We believe that tackling fundamental issues like data protection and the fight against money laundering, corruption and financial crimes are key issues in helping the European economy and businesses grow. The new Data Protection Regulation has an enormous impact on the lives of citizens and the way businesses work. Whether you go to the bank, the supermarket or use Facebook, you are constantly handing over information about yourself. Our daily lives depend on the fact that we can trust businesses and institutions to handle our data appropriately. As individuals we must be protected, but that should not come at the cost of small and medium sized businesses being able to trade. That is why we are putting forward practical solutions. Protection and profits can coexist, and that is why we will argue for rules which are easy to implement and understand.


MEMBERS

ECR Members of the LIBE Committee:

– Timothy KIRKHOPE MEP (UK), ECR Coordinator
– Helga STEVENS MEP (BE), ECR Deputy Coordinator
– Jussi HALLA-AHO MEP (FI)
– Branislav ŠKRIPEK MEP (SLO)
– Beatrix VON STORCH MEP (DE)
– Valdemar TOMASEVSKI MEP (LT)

Substitute Members:

– Daniel DALTON MEP (UK)
– Marek JUREK MEP (PL)
– Ruza TOMASIC MEP (HR)
– Kazimierz Michal UJAZDOWSKI MEP (PL)
– Anders VISTISEN MEP (DK)

CURRENT WORK BY ECR MEMBERS

Timothy KIRKHOPE: Timothy Kirkhope is the Parliament’s leading Member on the EU-PNR Directive, an essential anti-terror measure which allows European airlines to safely exchange specific and well protected passenger data between airlines and law enforcement authorities, whilst establishing high level guarantees and respect for individual privacy. Similar systems are already used in some Member States and have aided up to 95 percent of drug seizures, and have proven essential in the capture of dozens of murderers and terrorists. By creating a European system we would significantly reduce gaps in national systems which are currently exploited by criminals.

Timothy Kirkhope is Vice President of the Organised Crime Intergroup and the Children’s Rights Intergroup. These are two areas which the ECR committee has been a leading voice in the European Parliament in both this Parliament and the last.

Timothy Kirkhope is also one of the Parliament’s lead Members on the new money laundering legislation. We aim to deliver an approach which will allow businesses to trade; whilst creating a system which not only is better able to detect money laundering, but ensure that criminals can be prosecuted and punished across national borders.

Helga STEVENS: ECR Member Helga Stevens was elected by the new Members of the LIBE committee to be their representative on the Cross Committee Task Force of the European Parliament, to ensure the implementation of the UN Convention on the rights of persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD).

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