The members of the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee have called for an enhanced EU approach to terrorist threats, in the wake of several terror attacks across Europe.
Their call came on Monday, during a discussion with Home Affairs Commissioner, Ylva Johansson and Christian Klos, from Germany’s Interior Ministry, whose country currently holds the rotating six-month EU Council Presidency.
It followed a series of terror events across Europe, that started with the killing of Samuel Paty, a history teacher who was beheaded by a Moscow-born Chechen refugee for showing cartoons of prophet Mohammed during a class on freedom of speech, and further escalated with the killing of three people in the French city of Nice, at the heart of the Notre-Dam Basilica and most recently, with the attack in front of the main synagogue in Austria’s capital, Vienna, that left four people dead and dozens injured.
During last week’s plenary session, MEPs stressed the need to further develop the bloc’s counter-terrorism strategy, along with additional efforts to promote fundamental freedoms and integration. To this end, the Civil Liberties Committee is preparing a resolution on the EU Security Union Strategy, that will reflect the parliament’s priorities over the next five years.
Earlier in November, senior members of the European People’s Party (EPP) had called for legislative action on tackling extremist propaganda on the internet, stressing the need to break the “political stalemate” over the regulation on preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online.
The issue was extensively developed by Commissioner Johansson, who highlighted the importance of information exchange and police cooperation, with MEPs asking for reinforces security checks at the EU’s external borders. While recognising the need for information exchange, some lawmakers voiced concerns over the extensive collection of personal data and the interception of communication, warning that this could have a significant impact on fundamental rights and freedoms.