Last week’s attempted murder on the Thalys Express has prompted a curious response from Brussels as it struggles for ideas on combating cross-border terror attacks.
Ayoub El Khazzani, the Moroccan national named as the attacker, was known to French, Belgian, German and Spanish intelligence agencies. Yet that did nothing to stop him boarding a high-speed train fully armed with automatic weapons. Instead of addressing the problems the Schengen zone has caused by creating a borderless Europe and allowing jihadist Khazzani to roam free, EU parliament members want funding for yet another security agency to be layered over member states complete with its own bureaucracy.
The leader of the grandly-titled Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) group in Brussels, Guy Verhofstadt, owns the idea. Verhofstadt believes the attempted massacre shows how “urgent it is that national intelligence agencies in the EU share information and work more closely together. ” He continued:
“In most major terrorist attacks over the past ten years, the perpetrators were known, but EU countries haven’t always worked together as effectively as they could have done to identify imminent security threats. A solution to this could be a fully-fledged EU intelligence agency, what we call a Eurintell.
“The Charlie Hebdo massacre earlier this year and last week’s Thalys attack highlight that the terrorist threat is increasingly “home-grown” and to defeat this we must now urgently agree a mechanism to better share intelligence across the EU.
“Europe must stand united and deal with the threat to our open societies, while at the same time protecting our fundamental rights and freedoms.”
How brilliant is that? When a bureaucracy as big and clumsy as the EU fails at its most basic task – that of protecting its own citizens – then the only solution seemingly worth considering in Brussels is asking for more money to fund more officials to look more closely at us all as we go about our day-to-day lives.
Forget for a moment that the EU’s grand and self-lauded scheme to do away with borders helped the jihadi roam without check. Put aside the realisation that INTERPOL already exists for the very reason that Brussels is espousing. No, the answer lies in more of the same insane bossiness for which EU is justly famous.
Sophie IN’T Veld MEP, First Vice President of the ALDE Group, is certainly on board with the scheme. She dismisses any notion of “dismantling Schengen or destroying our fundamental freedoms and the rule of law that are the cornerstones of the European integration.” Instead she states:
“We are currently in a race to the bottom where extremists are always one step ahead, we should rather invest more in better information sharing and better understanding of the reasons why young people engage in violent extremism.”
“Our response to the terrorist threat facing Europe must be real security, not symbolic measures. We need a full evaluation and re-think of European counter terrorism policies. We have created far reaching new powers for security authorities and put large amount of money into counter terrorism policies, but the effectiveness of those policies are far from clear.”
And David Cameron believes he can mount a compelling argument for the UK to stay within the EU and be part of such a confederacy of dunces.