Nigel Farage criticised for using Brussels attack in EU debate


28 March 2016
UKIP leader Nigel Farage has defended his suggestion that the terrorist attacks in Brussels were linked directly to EU migration rules.
Prime Minister David Cameron has criticised Farage for using the attacks in Brussels to lend further argument to the EU referendum debate. However, the UKIP leader has said that the security issue had already been made a political tool following the Paris attacks last November by those arguing for the UK to remain in the EU. Farage also told Talk Radio that he felt Brussels was in a “state of lawlessness" and that it was the "jihadi capital of Europe.”
Farage has also argued that current EU border policy has led to an increase in criminal gangs and the free movement of both terrorists and weapons. However, the European Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, Lord Hill, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that debates around Schengen, which is the EU's passport-free travel zone, should be kept separate from concerns over terrorism. Hill said: "I think there are questions obviously about Schengen, how it's operating. It needs to operate better."
Hill went on to say that earlier examples of terrorist attacks, such as the London bombings in 2005, had involved terrorists who had been born in the UK and therefore happened despite the UK not being included within the Schengen zone. Former Conservative minister Peter Bottomley recently called for people to unite with "hope not hate" at Prime Minister's Questions. Bottomley has now tabled a Commons motion asking for Farage’s comments to be challenged both outside and within UKIP.
Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6 from 1999 to 2004, has said from a security point of view that: "the cost to Britain would be low”, if it were to leave the EU. He went on to say: "Brexit would bring two potentially important security gains: the ability to dump the European Convention on Human Rights... and, more importantly, greater control over immigration from the European Union."
Former director of Europol, Rob Wainright, said that security across the EU had improved significantly over the past decade; including the creation of the European Arrest Warrant, which has facilitated faster extradition procedures. Wainright also explained that the UK was able to access the details of hundreds of thousands of missing people and wanted criminals through the Schengen Information System. He told the BBC: "These EU instruments are clearly helping the UK deal with the threats involved.” He followed by saying that leaving the EU would likely cause significant disruption to the UK’s security interests.
The terrorist attack at an airport and metro station in Brussels on Tuesday left 34 people dead, with four Britons among the many injured. As a result, security has now been stepped up at key sites across the UK, and on Wednesday morning Mr Cameron attended a second emergency Cobra meeting. Home Secretary Theresa May, in a statement to MPs, has called for the UK and its allies to respond with “greater urgency and joint resolve" to defeat terrorism.
The UK is to hold a referendum on 23rd June to decide whether or not to stay in the EU. Mr Cameron is currently leading the Remain campaign, while Mr Farage is representing the opinions of the Leave campaign.


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