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Summary

  1. Europol director Rob Wainwright appeared before MEPs in a special sitting of the Civil Liberties Committee.
  2. He gave evidence to the committee about what the security response should be to last week's terror attacks in Paris, ahead of an emergency meeting of EU home affairs ministers tomorrow.

Live Reporting

By Paul Seddon

All times stated are UK

  1. Good bye

    And with that, our broadcast of this meeting of the Civil Liberties Committee comes to a close.

    MEPs will be meeting for a plenary sitting next week in Strasbourg, when the reaction to the Paris attacks is sure to remain high on the agenda. 

  2. Commissioner: we have shown 'measured response'

    Replying for the Commission, Matthias Ruete says the EU executive is not reacting "in a panic", but is rather showing a "measured response" to the security threat. 

    In particular, he says that they must be careful "not to put Schengen into question", adding that the passport-free zone must still be seen as viable by EU citizens. 

    However, he adds that there may be "some elements of change" in the future to make this possible. 

    Matthias Ruete
  3. Governments must 'reassure' public

    Reacting to some of the points raised by MEP, Christian Braun - the permanent representative of Luxembourg's presidency of the EU Council of Ministers - says that the concept of a "proportionate" response can cut both ways. 

    He adds that whilst there is a need to ensure a balance between security and freedom, there is also a need to recognise the "brutal" nature of the attacks. 

    He also tells MEPs that there is a need for governments to agree measures that will "reassure" their populations that the fight against terrorism is being taken seriously. 

    Christian Braun
  4. Call for more information-sharing

    Dutch liberal Judith Sargentini, meanwhile says there is a need to understand the consequences of the fact that it seems the majority of those involved in Paris held European passports. 

    She adds that it shows the need to better fund anti-radicalisation efforts within EU countries, and give them better funding and resources. 

    She also lends here support to Mr Wainright's call for greater sharing of information between national security agencies, that generally "like to get information, not to give information". 

    "If we do not solve that, we're nowhere", she adds. 

    Judith Sargentini
  5. Security reaction must not 'undermine' freedoms

    French left-wing MEP Marie-Christine Vergiat says that whilst there is an obvious need to protect people, there is a need for politicians to remain "reasonable" in how they react.

    She says that, amongst the grief after the attacks in Paris, she was also struck by the desire to continue with "our normal way of life". 

    She adds that further security measures must be careful not to "undermine basic freedoms" otherwise they will simply be "playing into the hands of IS".  

    Marie-Christine Vergiat
  6. Background on the EU’s PNR deal

    Top of the agenda at the meeting of home affairs ministers tomorrow will be renewed efforts to find a deal on the EU’s controversial plan to make airline companies hand over passenger name record – or PNR – data to national security services.

    Under the scheme, airlines would have to hand over information such as such as passengers’ names, contact numbers and credit card details to help security agencies screen passengers for potential terror or serious crime suspects.

    Despite being favoured by national governments (including the UK), and the European Commission, the legislation has been blocked for four years because of opposition from MEPs.

    MEPs are now committed to securing a deal before the end of the year, but have made their support conditional on measures to strengthen EU data protection law.

    Some MEPs are also insisting that the scheme could break a ruling by the European Court of Justice from April last year, which said mass collection of data proposed by a telecoms law would violate the right to privacy. 

    Plane
  7. Europe facing biggest threat 'in over ten years'

    Europol director Rob Wainright tells MEPs that Europe is currently facing its most serious terrorist threat "in over ten years". 

    He says the kind of attack perpetrated in Paris - involving multiple terrorists acting together using automatic weapons - was exactly the kind of attack the European security services had been fearing since the 2008 attacks in Mumbai. 

    He says the scale and co-ordination involved in this kind of attack means it is "more sophisticated and threatening" than the techniques that had mainly been used before. 

    Although he says national governments are co-operating in a "much more intensive form" on tackling firearms, there is still a need to increase the extent to which national agencies share information. 

    He says that sharing information "will often be the difference" in whether a suspected attack is discovered in time or not. 

    Rob Wainright
  8. Commission official: existing measures 'not enough'

    Matthias Ruete, a senior EU official who heads the home affairs department of the European Commission, outlines to MEPs some of the measures the Commission has proposed in the area of counter-terror security. 

    He says, however, that what has been proposed so far is "not enough", and that they need to be "much more modest on what we have actually achieved" so far. 

    He also briefs MEPs on two anti-firearms measures the Commission announced yesterday.

    The first would introduce new common standards for decommissioning firearms in the EU. 

    The second, which would have to be agreed with MEPs and national governments, would ban the sale of semi-automatic guns to private citizens. 

    Matthias Ruete
  9. Need for 'new ways' to fight terrorism

    Christian Braun, who is the permanent representative of Luxembourg's presidency of the EU Council of Ministers, outlines some of the main topics for tomorrow's meeting. 

    He says that a number of measures agreed after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris last January have still not been implemented. 

    He adds, however, that ministers are agreed on the need for "new ways of combatting terrorism". 

  10. Minute's silence

    Minute's silence
    Image caption: At the request of acting committee chair Kinga Gal, MEPs observe a minute's silence at the start of the meeting
  11. Good Morning

    Hello and welcome to coverage of this special meeting of the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee.

    This morning, MEPs are going to be taking evidence from Rob Wainright on what the EU response should be to last Friday’s terror attacks in Paris.

    EU home affairs ministers are due to hold an emergency meeting in Brussels tomorrow to discuss potential responses to the crisis.

    France has already mobilised 115,000 security personnel in the wake of the attacks, and French President Francois Hollande has tabled legislation to extend the country’s state of emergency