Speech by Michel Barnier at EU Agency for Fundamental Rights

Michel Barnier made the following speech at the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights in Vienna, on 19 June 2018.

Vienna, 19 June 2018


Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me first thank the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, and its Director Michael O’Flaherty, for this invitation.

Over the past 10 years, this Agency has contributed to the area of justice, freedom and security in the European Union.

  • This is an area with one external – but no internal – border.
  • This is an area where security is protected by common rules and operational cooperation between police and judicial authorities, notably extradition, border controls, travel visas, immigration and asylum policies.
  • This is an area where people – both EU and non-EU citizens alike – see their fundamental rights respected. And where the European Court of Justice plays an indispensable role in the protection of our rights.

The delicate balance between security and freedom has been tested and will be tested.

  • By the series of terrorist attacks that have hit our streets, concert halls, stadiums, bars and restaurants. People have been killed and our freedoms have been attacked. Let’s not forget.
  • By the increasing cyber-attacks targeting our economy and our democracy.
  • By other internal and external threats, such as radicalisation and organised crime.

These threats are common to European countries. And they call for European responses, including with the UK. After each attack – in Manchester, London, in Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Stockholm and Barcelona – our countries knew that they could count on the solidarity of their neighbours. And this solidarity contributed to avoiding more attacks, thanks to our close cooperation and swift information exchanges.