GUE/NGL has described the setting up of a Special Committee on Terrorism as the wrong approach and a hollow victory for right-wingers.

This followed a vote on Thursday in which MEPs voted in favour of the establishment of this temporary special committee after the EPP and ALDE groups joined forces to push through the vote.

GUE/NGL’s Cornelia Ernst – group Coordinator on the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) – has long described existing EU measures on terrorism as ineffective but has also opposed the establishment of a Special Committee into the matter.

She is concerned that such a committee’s mandate would be undermined by right-wingers who will then propose more law enforcement, more EU legislative security-oriented countermeasures as well as linking the whole debate to radicalisation as well as migration and refugees. All the while, little attention will be paid into looking at the root-causes of terrorism in Europe.

Instead, Ernst had argued in favour of an own initiative report – modelled on the NSA Inquiry in Germany – which would be a more limited, more neutral inquiry committee which investigates factually into what antiterrorism measures are actually necessary and efficient.

But the EPP-ALDE alliance scuppered not only that but also the next best option of a committee of enquiry. Thursday’s vote in Strasbourg means it is now full-steam ahead for the new Special Committee on Terrorism, and speaking after the vote, Ernst said:

“I have consistently asked for factual, in-depth evaluation of all counter-terrorism measures that have been put in place by the European Union. We still don’t know which measures work and which don’t, nor do we know which measures have actually been implemented in the member states and which haven’t.”

“What we do know is that the majority of terrorist attacks in Europe in recent years have been committed by persons who were already known to the police. But there’s been a failure to follow up on those trails, or information not being shared amongst member states. Unquestionably, an evaluation of the existing measures and an assessment of what measures are actually used is painfully overdue. As is already the case with some member states' parliaments, the European Parliament should have its own inquiry into this,” Ernst continued.

“However, the Special Committee on Terrorism that has been adopted today will not achieve this. Its mandate is extremely vague and does not ensure that an actual investigation into the facts and of possible failures of Europe's police authorities will be properly covered. Of course, all serious investigation of the problems that exist can be avoided if the majority so wishes. But instead, the whole thing will be turned into a committee of fearmongering where we will have armchair discussions about the perceived terrorist threat – but never investigate where our policies have failed,” she argued.

“This committee will be a fake investigation. We therefore proposed to set up a committee of inquiry instead – with a clear cut mandate to investigate, what information exchanges took place, and how effective they were.”

“It is a shame that other supposedly progressive forces in this house have supported this right-wing political sideshow. This committee will deepen the EU's failed approach to counterterrorism policies that are free of facts, with increasing mass surveillance and one that never evaluates what actually works,” she concluded.

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