Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Fight against International Terrorism

Delivered in Plenary - March 31st 2004

The fight against international terrorism is the EU's greatest challenge. In my London Constituency yesterday British Police arrested 8 British citizens of Pakistani descent with half a ton of bomb making material.

We need stronger measures to combat this scourge and my party will even accept the appointment of a Counter Terrorist Coordinator if it can be shown to improve security. I fully support cooperation between law enforcement, judicial and intelligence agencies not just within the EU but globally with allies such as the USA but also with other powers such as Russia and China who have their own domestic Islamist problem in Chechen and Uighur Terrorists connected to Al Quaeda.

I reluctantly accept the need to implement the European Arrest Warrant but only for terrorist offences not the other 32 crimes listed. What I do not accept is that this problem has anything to do with 3rd world poverty as many terrorists come from wealthy middle class backgrounds and indeed the poorest areas of the world like Africa have been victims of foreign terrorism as we saw in the Embassy bombings in Kenya.

We need strict enforcement of anti-moneylaudering legislation, and on the freezing of terrorist assets and the ratifying of the Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters concerning the monitoring of bank accounts. Europol's anti-terrorist unit needs beefing-up, but we dont need a European Public Prosecutor and the UK is wise to stay-out of Schengen. The European public fully accepts that security comes first and that their cherished freedoms including privacy will be curtailed in this fight. Lastly I call for more condemnation by Muslim leaders of terrorism and rejection of extemism. I was particularly disturbed to read that 13% of UK muslims support suicide bombers.