Sarah speaking about negotiations between the EU and the US with regard to visa exemptions

April 23, 2008 12:30 PM
By Sarah Ludford in European Parliament

Mr President, I want to know if the Commission and the Council will give an assurance that the EU will not, as part of the negotiations, allow access to EU databases like the Schengen Information System and the Visa Information System (VIS). As rapporteur on the VIS, I achieved a general ban on transfers to third countries from the VIS database, and I want to know if that is threatened in any way.

Secondly, do the Commission and Council accept that going down this blind alley of mass surveillance and collection of personal data on everybody - 99% of whom will be completely innocent - risks being a distraction from trying to catch the 0.1% who may be a terrorist danger or an organized crime suspect?

Today, a top anti-Mafia prosecutor in Italy is warning that Mafia crime is spreading its tentacles across Europe because it is being neglected for lack of proper cross-border cooperation and criminal justice systems not working together. Is that not our top priority? And it is not being done because it is a harder nut to crack.