Sunday

26th Jan 2020

EU parliament robbery was 'inside job,' officials say

  • The European Parliament has been struck again by armed robbers (Photo: macspite)

Armed robbers have struck the European Parliament again, the third such attack in two years. Individuals close to the investigation say they are convinced it is an inside job.

Preliminary reports from parliamentary sources suggest that around 2:30 in the afternoon, two individuals entered the post office.

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Wielding a gun, the robbers reported forced the assistants in the post office to open the safe, according to individuals familiar with the events.

Parliament spokeswoman Marjorie van den Broeke confirmed to EUobserver: "There was a hold up this afternoon where two people robbed the post office."

No one was hurt, said Ms van den Broeke. The thieves made off with some €8,000.

The building was immediately locked down in the wake of the robbery. Police tape was finally removed at 5pm after forensic investigators had completed their survey of the post office.

Police have launched an inquiry in co-operation with the chamber's security services, who are now poring over CCTV camera tapes.

A senior parliamentary official involved in the investigation who did not wish to be named told EUobserver: "Obviously this is coming from people within the EU community. We are convinced."

"It's a Friday afternoon, there are very few MEPs or anyone about. It's the perfect time. The other robbery was when Gorbachev was here and the security was paying attention elsewhere in the building. How do you know these sort of things unless you are part of the EU community?"

"It could be assisants, there are dozens of companies that come in and out, journalists. Technically, it could even be MEPs."

In February, 2009, an ING Bank in the building was also help up and a female cashier was robbed in May 2010. The post office attack appears to be the smallest of the three operations, according to information from the postal services, although no figures have been released.

During the 2009 robbery, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev had been attending an international water conference only two floors above at the time.

Christofer Fjellner, Swedish centre-righ MEP told this site: "The building has a total of 1001 security cameras. How are we spending all this money on cameras and they don't help?"

The leader of the UK Liberal Democrats Fiona Hall was in the post office minutes after the assault: "I was looking for a leaflet on postage prices and I looked up and the poor woman seemed in shock. I asked her if she was all right and she said: 'No, we've just had a hold up.'"

"This is absolutely shocking. After the third robberty inside the parliament, it's clear that something seriously wrong is undermining the security."

Every day, thousands of officials, politicians, visitors and journalists must pass through metal detectors and provide identification to gain access to the bullding.

"It's too early to speculate whether this was an inside job, but we need a fundamental reconsideration of our security system."

British Conservative MEP Timothy Kirkhope called the robbery a disgrace: ""The security in the European Parliament has long been well-known as lackadaisical, but this is really ceasing to be a joke. It's about time something were done."

"This time is was a hold-up but how long before someone walks in with a bomb?"

The head of the parliament's press service, Jaume Duch, told this website that tightening security may not be the answer: "While this is shocking that this has happened again, we have to remember that this is a parliament, not Fort Knox, and it cannot be. It must be open to all citizens. Sometimes we have as many as 10,000 individuals in the building at a time.

"We can't say that, for example, a doubling of the number of security cameras would do anything at all. We have to balance security and openness."

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