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Summary

  1. MEPs on the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee questioned Sir Julian King, the UK's next nominated European commissioner.
  2. The committee will meet on Tuesday to assess his performance, before the whole Parliament votes on his appointment on Thursday.
  3. Sir Julian has been nominated to replace Lord Hill, who resigned in the wake of June's referendum vote to leave the EU.
  4. During their main plenary sitting today, MEPs debated EU energy policy, spending of cohesion funds and EU investment in Africa.

Live Reporting

By Paul Seddon

All times stated are UK

  1. Hearing finishes

    Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    After what committee chair Claude Moraes describes as a "marathon session", Julian King makes a short closing speech to MEPs. 

    He thanks members for "bearing with me" - and adds that there is "much work to do" in his policy area. 

    He tells MEPs that the EU needs a comprehensive and co-ordinated response, and that if confirmed he will "work heart and soul" to try to make Europe safer. 

  2. King: Europol 'an excellent organisation'

    Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Dutch Christian democrat Jeroen Lenaers asks how important it is for Europol that the UK chooses to continue as a member of the EU policing network after Brexit. 

    He asks whether a decision to opt out could "potentially undermine" his policy role at the European Commission. 

    In reply, Sir Julian King says that there is a "decision to make" on whether the UK continues to contribute to the agency after leaving the EU, and that he cannot pre-empt the result of talks.

    However, he says that he considers Europol to be an "excellent organisation".

    He says that there may be a "problem" if there is a gap between an UK exit and any decision to opt back in, and that it would be "in everybody's interest" to ensure such a gap did not open up. 

    Jeroen Lenaers
  3. King does not rule out further legal proceedings on EU schemes

    Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Slovenian social democrat Tanja Fajon says that EU states are "failing to use" existing EU-wide schemes such as the Schengen Information System to share information. 

    She asks Sir Julian what "concrete measures" he plans to take in this area, and whether he would consider legal proceedings against member states that fall short. 

    He says the best way to do this is to "encourage effective implementation", but that he does not rule out taking cases against national governments, replying:

    Quote Message: It's not just about infringements, but if necessary - yes."
    Julian King
  4. MEP questions national anti-terror co-operation

    Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    French left-winger Marie-Christine Vergiat says she is less hopeful than him when it comes to promoting greater co-operation between the French and Belgian security services. 

    She says the two countries are "still far off from the shared responsibility to which you aspire".

    In reply, Sir Julian says he agrees there is an "implementation question" and that more could be done to encourage interaction between national agencies. 

    Marie-Christine Vergiat
  5. Commission 'should shine light' on national application of EU law

    Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    German Green Jan Philipp Albrecht asks how Sir Julian intends to ensure that existing measures are properly implemented by national governments.

    Sir Julian replies that there is a "very clear role" for the EU to help and "if necessary, to enforce" application of the bloc's legislation at a national level. 

    He adds that he also supports the right of the Commission to "shine a light" on where member states are falling down when it comes to implementing EU policies. 

    Julian King
  6. MEP questions privacy provisions for new measures

    Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Hungarian social democrat Peter Niedermuller asks Sir Julian how he will ensure the Commission does not table legislation that is later deemed contrary to privacy law by the EU courts. 

    He replies that any new measures proposed by his department will have to "stand the test of time", and that he hopes the committee will be able to help him in this area. 

    However he also notes that there remains much to be done to implement existing legislation. 

    Peter Niedermuller
  7. MEP questions rights standards with non-EU countries

    Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    British Green MEP Jean Lambert asks Sir Julian what his "key principles" will be when it comes to co-operating with non-EU countries on security schemes. 

    He replies that the standards would be "the same I would want to apply among member states" of the EU. 

    He says that he believes security co-operation with the United States has moved "in a very positive direction" in recent years and is now "on a sounder footing".  

    He adds, however, that actions such as rendition should be always be "unreservedly criticised". 

    Julian King
  8. 'More to be done' to tackle cybercrime

    Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    French Liberal Nathalie Griesbeck asks Sir Julian what his priorities will be in the area of cybersecurity and protecting children online. 

    He replies there is "more to be done" at an EU level to beef up cybersecurity resilience, particularly through the network and information systems directive, which came into force last month. 

  9. UKIP MEP questions EU oath

    Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    UKIP MEP Gerard Batten picks up on the issue of the oath that Sir Julian is obliged to swear to serve the European interest before becoming a commissioner. 

    Gerard Batten asks how he would see his position if there is a conflict between the positions of the EU and the UK during Brexit talks, asking: "Which master will you serve?"

    Sir Julian replies that as a commissioner he is obliged to act independently. He adds that he will not give a "running commentary" on the state of Brexit talks. 

    Gerard Batten
  10. King 'not a representative' of UK government

    Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Noting Sir Julian's long career as a diplomat, Dutch Green Judith Sargentini asks why the UK government has decided to appoint a "non-political" figure. 

    She asks whether this shows that the UK is intending that the Brexit negotiations are conducted largely with national governments rather than through the EU Commission. 

    Sir Julian replies that although he has been a diplomat, his work has been carried out whilst "swimming in a political sea".

    He adds that he is "not here are a representative of the British government" and cannot comment on the future course of Breixt talks. 

  11. King will 'work with' final ruling on EU-Canada data deal

    Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    German left-wing MEP Cornelia Ernst asks Sir Julian how he intends to delineate his role from Greek commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, whose policy brief covers migration.

    He replies that he would consider himself an "extra additional resource" in that policy area, as in others - such as education - that could be related to his policy brief. 

    He also adds that he will "work with" a forthcoming final ruling from the EU's Court of Justice on a proposed EU flight data sharing scheme with Canada.

    An interim ruling from an advocate-general of the court delivered last week warned that the proposed scheme could violate the bloc’s data protection law in its current form. 

    Sir Julian
  12. King: 'A lot we can do' within current EU treaties

    Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    British Conservative MEP and former home office minister Timothy Kirkhope asks Sir Julian how he will ensure security proposals from the EU Commission do not stretch "beyond its competencies".

    Sir Julian replies that he is committed to acting "within the framework" of the current EU treaties, but notes that there is "a lot we can do" within the current treaty rules. 

    Timothy Kirkhope
  13. MEP questions Commission plans for passport management

    Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Maltese centre-right MEP Roberta Metsola asks Sir Julian whether the Commission is looking into banning passports for dual-citizen "foreign fighters" returning from terror groups based outside the EU. 

    Sir Julian replies that the issue of passports and of nationality "is for member states" - and that governments already have the right to ban entrants on the grounds of public safety. 

    Maltese centre-right MEP Roberta Metsola
  14. What will Sir Julian's role be?

    Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    With Lord Hill’s financial services brief having been handed to Latvia's Valdis Dombrovskis, Sir Julian has been given a role covering EU security and counter-terror co-operation.

    He will initially report to Frans Timmermans, the Dutch ex-foreign minister and “first vice-president” of the EU executive, who serves as Jean-Claude Juncker’s right-hand man.

    He will be responsible for implementing EU security policies, which include encouraging EU states to share more intelligence information and overseeing EU-led counter-radicalisation schemes.

    He has also been asked to strengthen Europol’s European Counter-Terrorism Centre, launched earlier this year. 

  15. UK Commission nominee 'fully committed' to EU rights charter

    Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Sir Julian continues that he is "fully committed" to the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights.

    He adds that his experience as a diplomat in Northern Ireland taught him that peace can only be fully guaranteed when it is "rooted in the respect for human rights".

    He says he wants EU agencies to play a stronger role in supporting national security agencies, and that more should be done to tackle "terrorist propaganda". 

    He tells MEPs he would like to explore whether more can be done to get social network companies to take down offending material. 

    Julian King