Parliament Speeches

Atkinson on the electronic mass surveillance of EU citizens

It is clear that the privacy of our citizens and our fundamental rights should be adequately protected. Institutions snooping on all of us without proper controls is something that has no place in a democratic society, but it is up to our national parliaments and national courts to strike the balance between upholding civil liberties of our citizens and ensuring our nationʼs security. Let us not forget that it is exactly the EU Commission’s Safe Harbour Agreement with the USA that gave citizens a false sense of security and national supervisory authorities that had such a passive role. This is one of the main conclusions of the ECJ ruling.

While I hear the European Parliament pointing out the dangers of mass surveillance of citizens by the US in Member States, what actually worries me more is the EUʼs ambitions to set up its own secret service agency – in fact, a spy agency. Indeed, it was even Mr Juncker who has suggested earlier this year that he would like to establish an EU spying agency. The last thing we want is Big Brother spying on the EU Member States and their citizens. The European Parliament has no jurisdiction whatsoever to involve itself in any way in how the nation states are running their security agencies. It is up to the Member States, not the EU, to uphold their own data protection laws and negotiate proper agreements with the countries.

However, I do pose an alternative. I strongly suggest that the Commissioners watch the new James Bond film, Spectre. Perhaps Mr Juncker would consider applying for Mʼs position and Mr Timmermans, with his many languages, might apply to replace Daniel Craig as 007. If so, they will be under the control of the British Government and not the EU, which is as it should be.

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