UK influence and scrutiny of EU security policy at risk after Brexit, warns senior Euro-MP

MEPs and representatives of national parliaments met today to discuss the framework of EU internal security policies and the democratic oversight and scrutiny of Europol’s activities – something British parliamentarians will no longer be involved in after Brexit, Labour MEPs have warned.

UK MPs and peers, including Yvette Cooper – chair of the home affairs select committee – were among those who questioned the Security Union Commissioner, Sir Julian King, and Europol director Rob Wainwright on the development of an EU Security Union and best practices for parliamentary scrutiny at the national level.

The meeting comes after the UK government’s recent confirmation it will remain part of Europol and continue to opt into cross-border crime fighting measures.

Claude Moraes MEP, chair of the civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee, said:

“The decision that Britain will remain part of Europol is important for our security and safety, and recognises that the agency has a crucial role to play in effectively targeting cross-border crime and combatting terrorism.

“It is, however, equally important that European and national parliamentarians continue to have a role in scrutinising the agency to ensure that the delicate balance between security and civil liberties is maintained – yet for the UK, our ability to scrutinise key measures and influence policy will be at risk after Brexit.

“The discussion was also an opportunity to debate how to make the security union a reality with key British officials working in this field, Commissioner Julian King and Europol director Rob Wainwright – and once more, as a consequence of Brexit, we will lose this influence.”

Mr Moraes added:

“Today’s meeting was an opportunity for European and national parliamentarians to emphasise the need for existing legislation to be implemented and acted upon by national governments. We will only be able to derive the benefits of greater cooperation in the field of security if anti-terror and anti-radicalisation measures are fully implemented by all EU countries.

“We met with national parliaments in order to discuss EU internal security policies and develop the format for the democratic scrutiny of Europol, which represents a major plank of Britain’s security arrangements with the EU. The meeting was an opportunity to discuss the Europol regulation which will establish a Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group to ensure proper democratic oversight of Europol’s activities by MEPs and national parliamentarians.

“The new regulation will strengthen Europol to ensure it is fully equipped to fight terrorism, cybercrime and the rise in cross-border crime, and that MEPs and representatives from national parliaments will scrutinise the agency in order to ensure that fundamental rights are upheld.”