EU needs security for citizens, not to fuel the military-security complex
GUE/NGL MEPs highlighted the expense and ineffectiveness of the EU Regulation (2017/458) on the reinforcement of checks against relevant databases at external borders, during this evening's debate in the European Parliament.
French MEP, Marie-Christine Vergiat, told the plenary:
“A month after the systematic border checks were introduced, here we are back in plenary discussing the difficulties that have been encountered in implementing this new system.”
“It is clear that systematic checks have an impact on traffic at borders. We said this in advance and reality has proved it. In airports where the number of customs officers has not been increased, the queues get longer and the airlines become irritated.
“The same problem occurs at land borders at the edges of the Schengen area around Austria, Croatia, Slovenia, Romania and Bulgaria.
“The only solution provided for by the regulation is to switch from systematic controls to targeted controls, with total disregard for the stated safety objective.
“Under pressure from the Council, once again, a system has been adopted and put in place quickly without any proof of its reliability, even if only through an impact study.
“We need to have a reliable system and we need to do it on the basis of an impact assessment, otherwise we will simply replicate the same mistakes as we made with the Schengen information system and PNR.”
Greek MEP, Kostas Chrysogonos, explains the disprortionate impact on southern European countries:
“Controlling external borders does help to maintain security within the EU. However, the imposition of massive and excessive controls forces many member states to upgrade their security systems, including increasing security staff when they don't have the resources for this due to the financial crisis and the constraints imposed upon them.”
“At the same time, there is a risk of increased delays during busy periods – especially for southern European countries that rely on mass tourism. And this virtually increases the risk of terrorist attacks.
“The existing plan is expensive, excessive and its impact is uncertain. The risks threatening Europe are numerous, so we must implement policies with a reasonable chance of success without going too far.”
Spanish MEP, Miguel Urbán, adds:
“We need to consider not only this proposal, but also the philosophy behind it. We are seeing more and more proposals for regulation that create a binding link between security, terrorism and migration. That is not only an inaccurate connection, it is fuelling the rise of the extreme right.”
“Nobody can be against the security of our citizens, but security means far more than just border checks. In fact it is part of the military-security complex. These are powerful lobbyists that don't want to protect EU citizens; they want to protect their own interests and profits.
“In Europe we have stopped combatting poverty, we are now combatting poor people. We need to change that,” Urbán concludes.