European Parliament must introduce a system of security clearance for sensitive information - Kalniete

  • 2024-04-09
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - The European Parliament (EP) should introduce a system of security clearances for sensitive information, similar to the system in the national parliaments of the European Union (EU), believes MEP Sandra Kalniete (New Unity).

The MEP's assistant Elina Bivina told LETA from the next parliamentary term a system should be introduced to guarantee that in the wake of the current hybrid war conditions those MEPs who meet the highest criteria for the right to work with sensitive information are the ones who work on issues of particular importance.

"At a time when, thanks to the work of independent investigative journalists, the fact that we in Latvia have long known about Tatjana Zdanoka's direct links with Russian special services and open service to the interests of the Kremlin was highlighted and confirmed, we, several MEPs elected from Latvia, addressed the President of the European Parliament with a request to immediately strengthen the EP's internal security systems against Russian interference in order to prevent Russian agents of influence from using the European Parliament's resources to disseminate hostile and damaging content. One of the tools to make the work of the EP safe from unwanted influences in times of hybrid war is to ensure that MEPs who work on, for example, the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Subcommittee on Security and Defense, have to obtain special clearances. Perhaps such a criterion should also apply to those MEPs who work on legislative acts to prevent and avoid the EU's geopolitical strategic dependence," stressed Kalniete.

As the EP began debating a resolution demanding that MEPs make public the names of Russian agents of influence and shed light on their activities, Kalniete said that the naivety and vulnerability of EU institutions towards Russian agents who operate with democratic values - freedom of expression, respect for different opinions and tolerance - was shocking.

"Zdanoka is not the only one who, in Strasbourg and Brussels and in the capitals of EU countries, is smoothly pursuing a policy of Russian interference aimed at undermining the unity of our society, sowing hatred, creating distrust in European values, and promoting populism and extremism. The network of Russian agents of influence in Europe is vast and toxic. The Kremlin has inherited it from the Soviet Union and has successfully developed it, including through EU political elites, MEPs and municipal leaders of all sizes," the MEP said in the debate.

Since Russia's aggression against Ukraine, the European Union has been increasingly exposed to a wide range of hybrid attacks, so the presence of foreign agents in the European Parliament and other EU institutions, as well as their free access to EU security issues, poses significant risks. "The EP's platform and resources must not be used to undermine EU values and push-up authoritarian regimes," Kalniete added.