Monday

17th Jun 2019

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

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."

EUobserved

EU parliament's fading welcome

Two years ago Kurdish activists stormed the EU parliament, triggering new security measures. But they've led to visitors to have a bad first impression of the house of their democratic representation.

New 'ID' far-right EU parliament group falls short

The new far-right Identity and Democracy (ID) political group fails to muster enough support among other eurosceptics to become a heavyweight in the European Parliament. But with 73 MEPs, from nine EU states, it managed to secure the fifth spot.

Malta's ex-commissioner loses court case against EU

John Dalli was ousted as European Commissioner for health in 2012 over a tobacco-lobbying scandal. On Thursday, the general court of the European Union dismissed his case against the European Commission.

Analysis

Sibiu: EU leaders prepare post-Brexit show of unity

With the European elections just three weeks away, the EU-27 will try to set the agenda for the next years for the EU institutions. But with persisting divisions on key issues, unity will be an achievement in itself.

Magazine

The changing of the guards in the EU in 2019

The four most powerful EU institutions - Commission, Parliament, Council and Central Bank will all have new leaders in the coming ten months. Here is an overview.

Magazine

Explained: What is the European Parliament?

While domestic political parties often use the European Parliament as a dumping ground for unwanted politicians - and a majority of citizens don't bother to vote - the parliament, over the years, has become a dominant force in the EU.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  3. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  5. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  6. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  7. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  8. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody

Latest News

  1. Erdogan mocks Macron amid EU sanctions threat
  2. The most dangerous pesticide you've never heard of
  3. 'Russian sources' targeted EU elections with disinformation
  4. Top EU jobs summit dominates This WEEK
  5. EP parties planning 'coalition agenda' ahead of jobs summit
  6. MEP blasts Portugal over football whistleblower
  7. Catalonia MEPs are a judicial, not political, issue
  8. Meet the lawyer taking the EU migration policy to the ICC

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  2. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  4. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  5. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  10. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  11. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  12. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us