Europe faces tricky balancing act over its departing jihadists

Security

Europe faces tricky balancing act over its departing jihadists

By Camino Mortera-Martinez, 18 June 2015
From Agence France Presse

Link to press quote(s):

http://www.afp.com/en/news/europe-faces-tricky-balancing-act-over-its-departing-jihadists

Bruxelles, et après ?

Bruxelles, et après ?


By Camino Mortera-Martinez, 14 June 2015

Know your enemy: How to break the EU’s gridlock on security measures

EU security measures

Know your enemy: How to break the EU’s gridlock on security measures

Written by Camino Mortera-Martinez, 03 June 2015

Terrorism and organised crime are serious threats to Europe. The EU is better placed than the member-states to deal with the transnational aspects of these threats. But disagreements between the Council and the Parliament result in gridlock over security measures. One reason is that sensitive information cannot be shared with MEPs, leaving them in the dark about both the threats and the means to deal with them. If the EU wants to tackle the threat of terrorism effectively, MEPs should be given adequate access to confidential information.

In February 2010, three months after the Lisbon treaty entered into force, the European Parliament rejected, for the first time, an international agreement concluded by the EU. The Lisbon treaty gave the European Parliament powers in the field of Justice and Home Affairs, including the power to ratify international agreements on security and counter-terrorism. The Parliament refused to ratify an agreement with the US on a Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP). The Council of Ministers and the US had spent the previous three years negotiating this agreement to trace the financial data of potential terrorists. TFTP used data provided by SWIFT, a Belgium-based company that processes international bank transfers. After the Council and the administration of George W Bush managed to reach an understanding, the European Parliament posed an unexpected obstacle. Amongst other things, the Parliament claimed that the Council had not provided MEPs with the necessary security information to show why the TFTP system was needed. The Council, however, was reluctant to disclose too much sensitive information on threats and foiled plots. And so the EU’s struggles in the area of privacy and security started.

Five years later, these struggles are far from over: institutional rows between the European Parliament and the Council have stopped the passage of several pieces of legislation (such as the EU Passenger Name Records directive (EU PNR), Europe’s system for exchanging information about airline passengers departing for or arriving from third countries). Revelations by former US National Security Administration contractor Edward Snowden on the breadth of US spying programme have eroded support for transatlantic data-sharing and other forms of co-operation (like the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP). For the first time ever, the European Court of Justice has annulled a directive (the data retention directive, which required telecoms companies to retain certain data for a period of up to two years and was championed by the UK). And international partners have definitely not figured out who to call in Europe to discuss security issues. The EU is suffering from a worrying paralysis on security measures.

This gridlock is risky: as exemplified by the recent attacks in Brussels, Paris and Copenhagen, terrorism and organised crime are, more than ever, international phenomena that require supranational responses; if the institutions do not manage to sort out the problems derived from the post-Lisbon arrangements, the EU’s security could be endangered.

When facing cross-border criminal activities, such as terrorism, having 28 different systems and legal frameworks in place is inefficient and expensive. Different standards in data sharing systems, for example, can lead to situations where information is not transmitted quickly enough between member-states. This can result in suspects being able to cross borders without being detected and make it harder to foil transnational plots. It also means more costs for the companies that need to implement the various standards (such as banks or aviation companies). Despite recent events, however, the current tendency seems to be towards less, rather than more Europe. Member-states retain many competences in the field of internal security. Unlike in other areas, such as Schengen, EU action is not compulsory. The blocking of the EU PNR directive, which has been under discussion since 2011, has prompted the adoption of national PNR systems, funded by the European Commission. While however, some member-states (like Germany) are very sensitive to data protection issues, others (like the UK) are not. Having several PNR systems in place, with different sets of safeguards and protections, will make the system less efficient and more expensive. An EU PNR system would ensure, in absolute terms, a more effective system with a higher level of data protection that would apply uniformly across the EU.

The gridlock over security measures in the EU is also detrimental to Europe’s transatlantic relations. The EU is currently negotiating a ‘Data Protection Umbrella’ agreement with the US. This deal will establish a general data protection framework applicable to all transatlantic data transfers for law enforcement purposes. With this agreement, the EU and the US hope to avoid having to negotiate data protection clauses every time a deal on information sharing is on the table.

The EU and the US are considering including transatlantic ‘data flows’ as part of the negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). In the wake of the Snowden revelations, there has been a public backlash against this move, due to concerns about the US framework for protecting private data. Dialogue between the EU and the US has become more constructive, but America is still unsure of who would be at the end of the line when it calls Europe to discuss security matters. And the US is getting frustrated by the institutional rows that break out every time security is at stake. The US may eventually bypass the EU as an institution and negotiate bilateral agreements directly with the member-states. This would be detrimental to the EU’s role in promoting global security, and to the efficiency of the fight against security threats in Europe.

There is a way to overcome this stand-off in the field of security. At present, the European Parliament is left in the dark about both the nature of the threats Europe faces and the kinds of tools law enforcement agencies and intelligence services need to combat them. The result is suspicion and misunderstanding. The Parliament should receive enough information to assess the real utility of security measures. This would help it to take informed decisions in the security field and contribute to a more productive dialogue between the Parliament, the Council and third parties, such as the US.

Under the current framework, the Council can only give access to confidential information to MEPs if they already have the necessary security clearances. Because security clearances are a matter of national competence, the process for obtaining them differs greatly from country to country. Some MEPs may find it easier to obtain their clearance than others. Some national administrations may not even want to issue clearances to their MEPs at all: in Ireland, for example, national MPs are not given access to any sort of confidential information. It would be difficult for the Irish administration to justify why its own national MPs do not get to access such documents while their European peers do. Moreover, many MEPs regard national vetting processes (which may include interviewing and researching friends and relatives) as highly intrusive. For these or other reasons, few MEPs are currently security vetted.

An EU security clearance system would help solve some of these issues. But such a system is currently out of the question: the EU does not have either the competence or a security agency of its own to conduct the investigations. One way to solve the problem of access to confidential information would be to set up a small group of MEPs with the necessary security clearances from their own states. The security-cleared body would have to have long-term, fixed membership. This group of MEPs would be responsible for evaluating the usefulness of tools such as PNR or TFTP on the basis of the confidential information it received. Such a group would facilitate communication between the Parliament and the Council, and would help to break the institutional gridlock, both within Europe and in the EU’s international agreements with partners such as the US.

For this system to work, both the Parliament and the Council would need to make concessions. The Council should step up its efforts to explain sensitive internal security matters to parliamentarians. It should also encourage national administrations, which may be reluctant to issue clearances for their MEPs, to do so. MEPs (and, specifically, members of the proposed security-cleared group) should accept that they will have to undergo the same security clearance procedure as any EU or national official who has access to confidential information.

The European Parliament is no angel, nor is the Council the devil. They represent different interests but they are both equally necessary for ensuring the EU’s security. They should put aside their differences over the Lisbon treaty division of labour and start working together. Europe’s security and transatlantic relations depend on this.

Camino Mortera-Martinez is a research fellow at the Centre for European Reform.

The migrant crisis on Greece’s Islands

migrant crisis

The migrant crisis on Greece’s Islands

By Camino Mortera-Martinez, Rem Korteweg, 22 May 2015
From The New Yorker

Link to press quote(s):

http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-migrant-crisis-on-greeces-islands

Internal security

Facing migration crisis, European leaders to meet in Brussels

Facing migration crisis, European leaders to meet in Brussels

Facing migration crisis, European leaders to meet in Brussels

By Camino Mortera-Martinez, 23 April 2015
From New York Times

Link to press quote(s):

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/24/world/europe/european-union-migration.html?_r=0

Can EU turn the tide of migrant deaths?

Can EU turn the tide of migrant deaths?

Can EU turn the tide of migrant deaths?video icon

Al Jazeera
20 April 2015
From Al Jazeera

Link to media:

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestory/2015/04/eu-turn-tide-migrant-deaths-150421194641699.html

After Paris: What’s next for the EU’s counter-terrorism policy?

After Paris: What’s next for the EU’s counter-terrorism policy?

After Paris: What’s next for the EU’s counter-terrorism policy?

Written by Camino Mortera-Martinez, 27 January 2015

In the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo shootings, both national governments and the European Union have announced that they will adopt new laws to combat terrorism. On January 29-30th the justice and interior ministers of the 28 member-states will hold an informal meeting in Riga to discuss what measures the EU should take. Rather than focusing on radical initiatives like the establishment of a European CIA, or the re-imposition of border controls, they should take some modest but important steps. In particular, they should overcome their differences on several key pieces of legislation which have been under discussion for some time and agree to use some powerful instruments that are already at their disposal.

Anti-terror legislation in the EU has traditionally evolved in response to events: urgent measures, like the European Arrest Warrant and the setting up of Eurojust (the Union’s agency for judicial co-operation) were taken after the 9/11 attacks. Then in the wake of the Madrid and London bombings, in 2005, the EU adopted its first-ever counter-terrorism strategy. That was followed in 2006 by the so-called data retention directive, which required communication providers to store data about their customers for up to two years. However the European Court of Justice (ECJ) recently declared this directive void, stating that its provisions violated EU rights of privacy and data protection.

In recent years, faced with the alarming phenomenon of returning jihadists, the Commission has tried to put in place a battery of measures which either the European Parliament or influential governments in the Council have opposed. These measures include sharing passenger data and a more effective use of the Schengen countries' internal database. The Paris events will undoubtedly help to unblock some of these measures. But what should be the EU’s priorities for a coherent and effective set of counter-terrorism policies?

High on the Council’s wish list is the controversial directive that seeks to establish an EU system for exchanging information about airline passengers departing for or arriving from third countries, known as Passenger Name Records (EU PNR). PNR data includes, inter alia, the name and address of the passenger, banking data, itinerary and emergency contact details. There is currently no obligation for airlines to transmit PNR data to member-states, although international agreements with the US and Canada oblige air carriers to share data on European passengers travelling to those countries with the authorities at the destination. The PNR directive, tabled by the Commission in 2011, introduces a requirement for air carriers to transfer PNR data to the member-state of arrival or destination. The civil liberties (LIBE) committee of the European Parliament has so far blocked the directive, on the grounds that it does not offer sufficient safeguards against violations of fundamental rights to privacy and data protection.

This argument is similar to the controversy in 2010 over the EU-US agreement on the Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme (TFTP), which ended with the Parliament blocking, for the first time in its history, an international agreement between the EU and a third country. The TFTP agreement was eventually adopted, once clauses safeguarding privacy – requested by the Parliament – had been introduced.

Both the Council and the Parliament should learn from the mistakes they made then, if they want to find a solution on PNR. The Council should make sure that national intelligence services brief security-vetted MEPs on the reasons why an EU PNR system is needed. This briefing procedure, which was made available to allow the Parliament to take informed decisions on security-related issues, has not yet been applied in relation to PNR.

The Treaty of Lisbon conferred full legislative powers on the Parliament in the field of Justice and Home Affairs, including counter-terrorism. The Council should now treat the assembly as an equal partner and involve it fully in the decision-making process. This could be done by explaining the value of the system to MEPs and trying to accommodate their demands to the greatest possible extent. Likewise, the Parliament should outgrow its sometimes naïve approach to security matters (as in the row over TFPT), and take a more responsible stance. It should avoid using security measures as a weapon in a test of strength with the Council and focus on the practical consequences of its vote. The Commission should act as an honest broker between the two institutions, ensuring that member-states do not use the Paris shootings to dismiss legitimate concerns about privacy and civil liberties.

One of the main demands of the European Parliament is that the PNR directive should not be adopted before the EU has completed the reform of its data protection rules. The reform includes the introduction of a specific directive covering the rules for the exchange of data between police and judicial authorities. The revised data protection rules would provide the general legal basis for all the privacy safeguards that MEPs would like to introduce into the PNR directive. The EU is set to complete this revision in the course of the next months. Early agreement on data protection reform will help institutions to find consensus on the PNR directive.

The EU is responsible for harmonising counter-terrorism measures in national criminal systems. The framework decision on combatting terrorism, adopted in 2002, requires member-states to introduce in their criminal codes provisions penalising terrorism and harmonising punishments for terrorist offences. It was amended in 2008 in order to criminalise offences related to provocation, recruitment and training for terrorist purposes. The decision now needs a comprehensive revision, among other things, to align its provisions with a United Nations Security Council resolution – UNSCR 2178 (2014) – on foreign fighters. The resolution requires countries to penalise travelling, or planning to travel, to foreign countries with the intention of preparing, or training for, a terrorist attack. It also criminalises financing and facilitating such activities. Harmonising legislation across the EU in order to tackle the problem of returning jihadists is crucial for the work of security forces and prosecutors. Some member-states, which take the threat from foreign fighters particularly seriously (such as France, Germany or the UK) have already adopted, or are in the process of preparing, relevant legislation; several other member-states, however, such as Hungary or Romania, do not share the same sense of urgency and lack proper legislation. This could lead to the creation of ‘safe havens’ where returning jihadists could find sanctuaries inside the EU.

In order to restrict the freedom of movement of potential terrorists, some member-states are pushing for systematic passport checks to be reintroduced on borders within the Schengen area, and for more stringent controls on Schengen’s external borders. The European Commission, however, opposes systematic checks and argues that member-states should instead make more use of the tools already at hand, like Schengen’s database, the Schengen Information System (SIS II). Member-states can input ‘alerts’ into SIS II to signal, for example, that a person is wanted for a criminal offence or that a firearm or identity document has been stolen. Such ‘alerts’ then pop up whenever the border authorities of a member-state perform a check on a person attempting to enter their country.

The Schengen Borders Code requires systematic checks at the external border while allowing for non-systematic checks within the Schengen area. Inside Schengen, border authorities can perform thorough controls (involving checking SIS II and other databases) on random samples of passengers, or on passengers identified as a ‘threat’.

The Commission has said that not all member-states are consistently performing such checks and that SIS II is being underused. SIS II is one the most powerful tools in the fight against terrorism, but member-states do not always enter the required data on suspected terrorists. This hampers the effectiveness of the system. The sub-optimal use of the SIS II database is closely linked to the reticence of national authorities to share intelligence information. Intelligence services are inherently reluctant to share information, but they may be missing the potential benefits of a more co-operative approach – for instance in the case of returning jihadists. The Commission and the Council can encourage such co-operation, by showing member-states the effect of entering more intelligence-based ‘alerts’ into SIS II. They can also make use of formal structures like Europol and the EU Intelligence Analysis Centre (EU INTCEN, part of the European External Action Service), and other initiatives. Federica Mogherini (the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy) has a plan to appoint security attachés in EU delegations in relevant countries. While the idea of a European CIA remains, for the time being, a fantasy, EU institutions have an important role in co-ordinating the input of national intelligence agencies in the fight against terrorism.

A vital factor in the success of the Charlie Hebdo killings was the terrorists’ access to weapons. The Kouachi brothers and their fellow terrorist Amedy Coulibaly reportedly acquired their arsenal near Brussels’ main train station and then brought the weapons into France. The EU regulates the free movement of weapons used for legitimate purposes and has also taken steps to prevent cross-border smuggling of firearms. The EU has imposed very strict standards for the import, export and transfer of firearms and their replicas and adopted very clear rules on the deactivation of weapons. Despite these efforts, relatively accessible black markets for firearms still exist across Europe, enabling terrorists to purchase weapons and move them across borders. The European Commission hopes to introduce stricter controls at the EU level and has called for a better exchange of information on the manufacture and trafficking of firearms. The EU should continue its efforts to strengthen oversight of the firearms trade in Europe and use the opportunity to urge member-states to share information on arms smuggling, not least through inputting alerts into SIS II.

The incidents in Paris and the subsequent counter-terrorism raids and arrests across Europe are a reminder of the need for a concerted European response to terrorism. The EU does not want to start a futile "War on Terror", as President George W Bush did in 2001. The events in Paris should not prompt governments and Commissioners to ignore legitimate concerns over the impact of security on civil liberties. But member-states and EU institutions can do more to ensure that they use the tools they have effectively and update criminal laws where necessary. That way, they can fight radical Islamism while still protecting fundamental European rights and values.

Camino Mortera-Martinez is a research fellow at the Centre for European Reform.

The European arrest warrant: A British affair

European arrest warrant: A British affair

The European arrest warrant: A British affair

Written by Camino Mortera-Martinez, 07 November 2014

On Monday November 10th, the British Parliament will vote on Britain’s participation in the European arrest warrant (EAW) and other important European measures to fight trans-national crime. This vote will determine the future of Britain’s role in the area of EU policy known as Justice and Home Affairs (JHA).

Member-states used to agree JHA policies on an inter-governmental basis. The Treaty of Lisbon introduced a revolutionary change to the system, by placing JHA matters under the competence of the EU institutions and the supervision of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). Acts adopted before the entry into force of the treaty in December 2009, however, were not subject to CJEU authority during a transitional period of five years. This period ends on December 1st 2014.

Britain feared the increasing “Europeanisation” of JHA, and during the negotiations on the Lisbon Treaty it persuaded its partners to give it a block opt-out from measures adopted before the enactment of the treaty. For measures adopted after December 2009, the UK continues to enjoy its right to opt-in on a case by case basis; that is, only to measures it chooses to. The block opt-out from all pre-Lisbon measures was to be exercised before the end of the transitional period. In July 2013, the British government declared its intention of opting out of 130 JHA measures. Simultaneously, it announced that, for reasons of national security, it would opt back in to 35 of these measures, including Europol, Eurojust and the European arrest warrant. After some opposition (mostly from Spain) both the EU institutions and the member-states agreed that Britain could re-join the proposed 35 measures by the December 1st deadline.

The problem is that having convinced its partners that it should be allowed to opt back in, the British government may now fail to convince its own parliament. The timing of the vote could hardly be worse: with the rise of UKIP making many Conservative backbenchers nervous about retaining their seats in next year’s general election, the Conservative-led government is struggling to contain a parliamentary revolt by its own party.

Britain’s eurosceptics seem blind to the benefits of cross-border police co-operation. The 35 measures in question will help national police and intelligence forces to fight trans-national crime. Most of them do not imply any further transfer of competences to European institutions; instead, they are based on operational co-operation and mutual acceptance of member-states' judicial systems as equally valid. The majority of these measures, like Europol and Eurojust, have contributed greatly to Britain’s security.

Despite the long list of measures that the UK plans to opt into, criticism has centred on one particular instrument: the European arrest warrant. The EAW has, however, made extradition procedures smoother, faster, and cheaper.

Ironically, the EAW is based on a British initiative. In 1998, the then British home secretary, Jack Straw, suggested that the principle of ‘mutual recognition’ could be translated from the internal market to the criminal domain. In the single market, the principle of mutual recognition means that member-states recognise and accept each other’s lawfully marketed products. In the criminal domain, it implies that national authorities recognise and execute each other’s judicial decisions. The British proposal was based on the assumption that, by promoting mutual recognition of judicial decisions, further intervention from EU institutions in the area of criminal procedures could be avoided.

The events of September 11th, 2001 hastened the adoption of the EAW. The warrant was a necessary tool to fight terrorist networks which were spreading across borders. Member-states acknowledged the need to replace the 1957 European Convention on Extradition, which had become obsolete. The procedures of the non-EU Convention, to which all member-states were parties, were lengthy, expensive and allowed for a great level of political discretion, which complicated extradition procedures for offences such as terrorism.

The EAW was adopted in 2002 and came into force in 2004. Under the system, a warrant is issued by the judiciary of one member-state requesting that another surrenders someone. The warrant can be issued in order to carry out a criminal prosecution or enforce a custodial or detention order. The average time for surrendering individuals in contested cases is around 48 days, and in uncontested cases, a maximum of 15 days. This contrasts with the 18 months required on average to extradite a suspected criminal under the 1957 convention.

Warrants cannot be issued merely for investigative purposes. Member-states mostly apply the principle of double criminality, that is, a warrant can only be issued when the offence exists in both member-states. That means that, for example, a British national cannot be extradited to Greece for blasphemy if the action does not qualify as an offence under British law.

Under the EAW system, the principle of double criminality does not apply to 32 serious offences, such as terrorism or human trafficking. In such cases, if the law of the member-state applying for extradition provides for a sentence of more than three years for the alleged offense, a suspect can be extradited without verifying that their action would have been criminal in the member-state where they were detained. One of the objectives of establishing a list of serious offences subjected to expedited procedures is to avoid political interference in an otherwise purely judicial issue.

In 2013, EU member-states surrendered 127 suspects to the UK under the EAW regime, in contrast with the 19 surrendered in 2004 when the EAW came into effect. Likewise, the number of people handed over by the UK to other member-states increased from 24 in 2004 to 1,126 in 2013. The overwhelming majority – 96 per cent – of suspects extradited by the UK were not British nationals.

The EAW has contributed to the smooth handling of high-profile cases, such as that of Hussain Osman. Osman, a British national, was a suspect in the 2005 London bombings. He was swiftly extradited from Italy after the British authorities issued a European arrest warrant, and subsequently prosecuted in the UK. The EAW has also contributed to reducing the number of British fugitives absconding to Spain’s ‘Costa del Crime’.

Like any other ground-breaking legal instrument, the EAW has flaws which have become more evident with time. Some member-states issue too many warrants for minor offences. Poland is the main culprit: its prosecutors are required to issue warrants for all offences, regardless of their importance. Reform is underway to tackle the issue of proportionality in a way that still acknowledges Europe’s legal diversity. In 2014, the European Parliament proposed the introduction of a proportionality test to reduce the number of warrants. Poland and other countries are also introducing reforms to address the problem.

The EAW’s critics also argue that the current rules do not ensure that the basic rights of suspects facing extradition are equally respected in all member-states. This argument is often used to underline the risk that UK citizens suspected of crime may be prosecuted in countries which have fewer procedural rights than the UK.

This is a question of mutual trust. An efficient extradition system cannot work if member-states do not rely on each other’s legal order. But trust can be improved through knowledge. Further efforts should be made at the European level to increase the understanding of other national systems among national authorities. The EU should have more ‘exchanges programmes’ of legal practitioners, so that they can learn about each other’s systems, and it should strengthen existing forums of judicial co-operation such as Eurojust (the EU agency dealing with judicial co-operation in criminal matters) or the European Judicial Network (a network of European national authorities for the facilitation of co-operation in criminal matters).

Member-states would trust each other more if fewer extradited people faced unfair or lengthy pre-trial procedures. There are currently a number of European and national instruments that can be used to that effect. As the CER has previously argued, the European Supervisory Order (ESO) could be used more efficiently. Under the ESO, the authorities of a member-state can ‘outsource’ the supervision of a suspect to their home member-state until the trial is opened. This would allow, for example, British suspects sought by other member-states to remain under the supervision of British police while awaiting their trial. The ESO has not yet been transposed into UK law, since it is one of the 35 measures subject to the December vote. The British Parliament has, however, already agreed on an amendment to the Extradition Act with the aim of delaying the extradition of suspects until trials are ready to start.

Finally, the functioning of the EAW also depends on the member-states’ willingness to move forward with the Commission’s 2009 ‘roadmap on procedural rights’. The roadmap foresees a number of legislative measures aimed at granting equal and uniform protection to suspects and defendants across Europe. Some of the measures envisaged by the roadmap (such as the directive on interpretation and translation) have been already adopted. Others, like the directive on the presumption of innocence, are currently being discussed. The UK has been very keen on the adoption of these measures.

If the UK opts out of the EAW, it could revert to the inefficient 1957 Convention system. Alternatively, the British government could seek to conclude bilateral extradition agreements with each of the other 27 member-states. But this would be very complicated. Other member-states are increasingly fed up with the UK trying to pick and choose between measures it likes and dislikes; Spain tried to block the UK’s opt-in to the 35 JHA measures because it argued that some of those the UK wanted to opt into were intrinsically linked to others it wanted to stay out of. Some member-states would have to amend domestic legislation to enable continued cooperation with a UK which was no longer in the EAW system. This may make bilateral agreements very difficult to conclude.

Another option for the UK, if it opts out of the EAW, would be to negotiate an extradition agreement with the whole EU, mirroring the one concluded between the European Union on the one side and Norway and Iceland on the other. But there are, at the very least, two problems with this idea. First, it is not clear that the EU can conclude such an agreement with one of its own member-states (the EU treaties currently only allow for agreements with non-EU countries). Second, the agreement foresees a system almost identical to that of the EAW (same surrender procedures, same list of 32 offences, same deadlines and so on). Therefore, if such an agreement was to be concluded between Britain and the EU, many UK concerns about the operation of the system would remain.

Opting out of the European arrest warrant would also be expensive. With longer procedures, and large numbers of foreigners waiting in detention facilities to be extradited, the UK would have to spend more money on extradition cases.

Finally, opting out of the EAW may also have a negative impact on the relationship between the UK and some of its key partners, not least the Republic of Ireland: under the 1957 Convention, politicians had more power over extradition cases and it was often very hard, for example, for the UK to extradite suspected terrorists from Ireland. Terrorist cases were regularly contested between member-states, mainly for political reasons, hindering effective co-operation.

Staying in the European arrest warrant should not be turned into a political argument for more or less Europe. The EAW should be seen for what it is: an operational measure designed to support regional co-operation against cross-border crime, in an age when global criminal networks do not respect borders or national powers. Opting back into the European arrest warrant would ensure national security while promoting fair and speedy procedures for British nationals abroad. It would also ensure that the UK does not become a safe haven for criminals. MPs, however eurosceptic they may be, should listen to the law enforcement experts and vote to opt back in.

Camino Mortera-Martinez is a research fellow at the Centre for European Reform.

Camino Mortera-Martinez

Camino Mortera-Martinez

Camino Mortera-Martinez

Research fellow

Biography

Job title: 
Research fellow
Profile image: 
Camino Mortera-Martinez

Camino Mortera-Martinez is a research fellow at the Centre for European Reform. Camino works on Justice and Home Affairs, with a particular focus on migration, internal security, criminal law and police and judicial cooperation. She is also interested in the institutional dimension of Justice and Home Affairs and the relationship between privacy and security both at EU and national levels.

Extras
Areas of expertise: 

Free movement of persons, Counter-terrorism policies, criminal law, police and judicial co-operation, migration policies, JHA's institutional structure, civil law and International Private Law.

 

Areas of expertise

Free movement of persons, Counter-terrorism policies, criminal law, police and judicial co-operation, migration policies, JHA's institutional structure, civil law and International Private Law.

 

Languages spoken

English, French, German, Spanish
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