During the recent Strasbourg plenary meeting, European Parliament (EP) voted upon a Resolution regarding electronic mass surveillance of EU citizens, a topic that issued a lot of debates all over Europe.
Unfortunately, the final text suffered significant modifications in relation with the initial goal. As an effect of the pressure coming from the socialists and the left-wing political groups, the voted Resolution ended as an illogic and unproductive melange. A Resolution dedicated to the issue of mass surveillance of European citizens ended up by calling for the suspension of the Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme (TFTP) agreement, suspension of the TTIP agreement negotiations and the replacement of proprietary software with open-source software in all the EU institutions.
EPP Group within European Parliament expressed its availability for negotiations and concessions and will continue to do so. Still, there are some red lines that cannot be crossed. This red lines have been crossed by the amendments backed up by the S&D, ALDE and Greens/EFA groups. This is why EPP Group voted against.
As the co-rapporteur of Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET) for this Resolution I advocated for the need to maintain an equilibrium in the final text, between the two priorities that seem to collide in this situation.
On the one hand there are the justified need of privacy and the right of personal data protection for the 500 million European citizens. On the other hand there are the new security threats, from cybernetic war to online recruitment and proselytism run by the terrorist groups.
In the middle lies a reality: the same way USA needs EU, European Union needs to have a strong and healthy relation with the Unites States. This partnership, despite the inevitable disagreements, gives strength to the both sides of the Atlantic and is envied by all of those who are the promoters of “divide et impera”.