You shall not trespass! EU ‘plots European FBI’ with powers across member states

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In its new ‘Code of Police Cooperation’, Brussels has proposed giving police officers from one member state the power to pursue and arrest suspects in EU states outside their national borders. With many organised crime networks operating in multiple member states, the Commission believes that only being able to operate in one sovereign territory can hamper investigations.

It argues that, in order to fight crime in Europe, member states should draw up a “common list of crimes for which cross-border pursuits are possible and secure messaging tools that allow police officers to communicate with their counterparts while carrying out operations in other EU countries”.

The proposals have not been universally welcomed.

Italian MEP Fulvio Martusciello told Giornale.it: “We remain very cautious about the possibility that foreign police may in the future enter Italian territory for operations.

“I think that any crime can be prosecuted on the territory by the police of the state where it takes place, without the need for reinforcements.

“We are waiting for the final proposal and we will take action to ensure that the principle of state sovereignty is respected, from which we will not allow any exceptions.

“In other words, coordination is possible, but within the limits of state prerogatives. “

Fellow Italian MEP Annalisa Tardino was also sceptical.

She said: “The need for greater cooperation and collaboration between police forces of different countries is certainly desirable, but always respecting their respective competences at national level, without overlapping.

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“Talking about a ‘European FBI’, today, seems excessive.

“We will work in Parliament and present our proposals to improve the package of measures presented, in an attempt to maintain the objectives, which are shared, but correcting all the strains.”

The proposals were put forward three years after French police caused a diplomatic spat between Paris and Rome when they entered Piedmont to return some migrants.

Speaking at the time, Matteo Salvini, then interior minister, demanded an explanation from French President Emmanuel Macron.

And the leader of Italian party Fratelli d’Italia Giorgia Meloni called for the “arrest” of anyone who “trespassed with a foreign uniform inside the national territory”.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega

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