On the initiative of the EPP, ECR and ALDE Groups and with the support of an overwhelming majority (527 votes in favour, 73 against, and 36 abstentions) in the House, the European Parliament today decided to set up a special committee on terrorism. This is the first time in its history that the European Parliament has created such a special committee exclusively dedicated to the fight against terrorism. The Parliament's committee will look at how Member States can improve the exchange of information between law enforcement authorities, and how to increase the interoperability of EU information systems in order to strengthen the EU's fight against terrorism and protect the safety of our citizens.

In a joint statement after the vote, the leaders of the EPP, ECR and ALDE Groups, Manfred Weber MEP, Syed Kamall MEP and Guy Verhofstadt MEP said:

“80% of EU citizens believe that the European Union should contribute more to the fight against terrorism. With today’s vote, and despite the hesitation of other political groups in the European Parliament, we have sent a strong signal to our citizens that we are responding to their security concerns.”

“With the aim of preventing fresh terrorist attacks, the European Union shall further analyse the threats posed by terrorism to our societies today and examine which measures can be taken collectively to strengthen the Union’s efforts to fight terrorism.”

“In particular, we need to look at how the exchange of information could be carried out in a more systematic and efficient manner. This also means looking at whether the databases that have been created over the last decades are interconnected and interoperable.”

“If it is to deliver results, this new committee will depend on close cooperation with national and EU authorities. For that, building confidence and trust with the law enforcement community will be key. The mandate agreed today creates the basis for this cooperation.”

“We now invite all institutions and bodies, national parliaments and the law enforcement community to cooperate with the special committee in order to achieve an outcome that enhances the security of EU citizens.”

NOTE TO EDITORS

The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 215 Members from 27 Member States

Background: The new committee will not only look at the exchange of information between Member States. It will also assess the work of the EU agencies and bodies active in this area including Europol, Eurojust and eu-LISA with a view to a more joined-up inter-agency and a cross-sectorial approach. It will look at the measures to address radicalisation, assess the human and financial resources available for the fight against terrorism at EU and national level, international cooperation, etc.

The mandate agreed today creates the basis for cooperation with the concerned authorities through ad-hoc resources to conduct a thorough undertaking which should include the possibility to make use of fact-finding missions, in camera meetings and access to confidential documents.

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