Merkel's party says EU must become area of security again

The European Union must once again become an area of security and justice, a senior member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative coalition said in a report on Saturday.

Hans-Peter Uhl, of the Bavaria-based Christian Social Union (CSU) and a member of the German parliament's Council of Elders, made the call as conservatives rally in support of improved intelligence exchange across Europe.

Discussion over the relaxation of data privacy laws was a "grotesque debate," Uhl, who is also the conservatives' legal advisor, told Die Welt daily. "Bombs are going off and we're worried about data privacy," Uhl said.

In the wake of the Brussels terrorist attacks, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has called for better data protection laws to fight terrorism.

The minister criticized data privacy laws for preventing exchange of information between intelligence agencies in Europe.

Germany has allowed over 1 million people to cross the border unchecked with terrorists among them, Uhl said.

"We now must recognize that Europe needs not only to be an area of freedom, but most of all it needs to become a space of security and justice again."

Wolfgang Bosbach, a lawmaker from Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), sister party to the CSU, said "a continuous, cross-border exchange is of immense importance to the defence against the dangers of terrorism."

On Thursday, EU ministers responsible for security and justice pledged to step up their fight against terrorism following the Brussels attacks, which some argue could have been prevented by more intelligence sharing and still-pending legislation.

"Many national authorities do not want to share their information with all the others," German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said. "This mentality must change."

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49

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