Responding to the US Attorney General Loretta Lynch's comments that it is 'highly concerning' that the EU is undermining the sharing of information vital in the fight against serious crime and terrorism, Vote Leave Director Stephen Parkinson said:
'We should all be concerned that the US Attorney General has warned that EU judges and politicians are undermining our ability to work with America to combat terrorism.
‘The recent head of Interpol has also warned that the EU’s inability to manage its border-free zone is making life easier for terrorists. ’
As a member of the EU, the UK does not have proper control over our borders and key powers to fight crime and terrorism - which makes us less safe. If we Vote Leave we can take back control.'
Notes to editors
The United States Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, warns the EU is undermining UK security: ‘It is certainly highly concerning to us that data privacy legislation advancing in the European Parliament might further restrict transatlantic information sharing. [This] ignores the critical need for that information sharing to fight terrorism and transnational crime, but also overlooks the important steps forward that the Obama administration and Congress have taken to protect privacy... It was particularly disappointing that the European Court of Justice - in a case based on inaccurate and outdated media reports - recently struck down the Safe Harbor Agreement’ (Reuters, 9 December 2015, link).
Former Head of Interpol, Ronald K Noble, warns lack of EU control over borders ‘is like hanging a sign welcoming terrorists to Europe’: ‘Europe’s open-border arrangement… is effectively an international passport-free zone for terrorists to execute attacks on the Continent and make their escape… The open borders arrangement should be suspended, and each of the participating countries should begin immediately to systematically screen all passports against a database of stolen and lost passports maintained by Interpol, the international police organization. Leading up to these latest attacks, none of those countries systematically screened passports or verified the identities of those crossing borders by land or at seaports or airports. This is like hanging a sign welcoming terrorists to Europe. And they have been accepting the invitation... what once seemed a sensible idea now offers real and present danger. Stolen, doctored and fake passports from the Schengen area are among the most sought-after forms of identification by terrorists, drug smugglers, human traffickers and other criminals. As of last year, eight Schengen countries were on the list of the top 10 nations reporting stolen or lost passports in Interpol’s databases. Not one of those countries systematically screened passports at their borders’ (Source: New York Times, 19 November 2015, link).
The Government accepts European Court of Justice jurisdiction over policing is the risky choice: A recent Government Command Paper acknowledged that ‘accepting [Court of Justice of the EU] jurisdiction over measures in the field of policing and criminal justice is not risk free. This is because the CJEU can rule in unexpected and unhelpful ways’ (Home Office, Command Paper 9149, November 2015, p. 51 link). David Cameron once promised to take back control, saying ‘we will want to prevent EU judges gaining steadily greater control over our criminal justice system by negotiating an arrangement which would protect it. That will mean limiting the European Court of Justice's jurisdiction over criminal law to its pre-Lisbon level’ (BBC News, 4 November 2009, link). Yet ending ECJ jurisdiction over criminal justice forms no part of the Government's renegotiation.