Speech by Timothy Kirkhope MEP, Leader of the Conservatives in the European Parliament, during the debate on Terrorism at the European Parliament in Strasbourg
Mr President, this debate is about the safety of our people and the preservation of our way of life, our liberal democracy, the rule of law and the defence of freedom.
Terrorism strikes at the very heart of all of these things. In all its forms, terrorism defines the fight between good and evil, and we must remain ever vigilant. In Britain we had the IRA to deal with for three decades. More recently, we have had the London suicide bombings and the attempts to cause carnage in Glasgow.
My colleagues from Spain battle with the evil campaign of terror waged by ETA. They have our complete support in their courageous response. Tackling radicalisation is a major challenge, but we live in a world where the terror threat is constantly changing and becoming more sophisticated. The democracies of the world must remain vigilant, must share intelligence more effectively and must be prepared to take tough action.
Terrorism is an act of war on the fabric of our society. It is perpetrated by criminals and murderers who detest our liberal democracy and freedom. Terrorist groups must be banned, and those who perpetrate violence, incite terrorism or give succour to terrorists should be tackled. In terms of the action that EU Member States can take together, we saw at the weekend the arrest of ETA bomb-makers. This shows that joint investigation teams add value to the anti-terrorism fight.
Today we vote on the restriction of liquids on aircraft. The security of the travelling public must be our prime concern - the concern of ourselves, of governments, airport operators and airlines. But, as with all legislation, improvements can be brought about in the light of experience and I believe there is a case - and a good one - for a review of how that is operating.
At the same time we should rely fundamentally on available intelligence to assist legislators like ourselves in determining the nature and extent of the ongoing threat. I commend Commissioner Frattini's proposals, which are positive in that respect.
There is, I appreciate, a delicate balance, but in any event we must always do what we can to protect our people from the evil and murderous intent of terrorism.