Tuesday, June 21, 2016 12:00 to 14:00
Transatlantic Dialogue Luncheon: Balancing Security Versus Liberty in the Age of Global Terrorism
The AJC Transatlantic Institute partnered with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation Europe for our latest Transatlantic Dialogue Luncheon: “Balancing Security Versus Liberty in the Age of Global Terrorism.” The discussion is as salient now as ever, as policy makers juggle security vs liberty responding to terrorist attacks in Orlando and Brussels with legislation such as the nascent European Passenger Name Record (PNR).
EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove discussed current European efforts to combat terrorism. De Kerchove defended PNRs, on the grounds that profiling airline travellers doesn't necessarily impinge on civil liberties, because the profiles were based on “evidence and experience.” Furthermore, De Kerchove stressed the importance of heeding the early signs of radicalization: “if you see something, say something.”
The Wall Street Journal Editor Joseph Sternberg highlighted the advantages the US Constitution confers on American policymakers weighing liberty vs security; because US constitution rights are inflexible, the debate on security vs liberty is easier to navigate. This lack of a gray area allows for a near political consensus on landmark legislation like the Patriot Act. Sternberg stipulated that only elected representatives can decide on the balance of liberty and security; In the EU, this means the European Parliament.