Monday

23rd Jul 2018

EU to tighten borders after counter-terrorism summit

  • The Charlie Hebdo murders saw an outpouring of solidarity (Photo: villedereims)

EU leaders meeting next week (12 February) aim to tighten border crossings and crack down on inflammatory online content in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo murders.

The draft summit conclusions, seen by EUobserver, say member states plan to make “a targeted amendment of the Schengen Borders Code, to allow for systematic checks against all relevant databases in order to detect and disrupt suspect movements, notably of foreign terrorist fighters”.

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.

... our join as a group

They call for “monitoring and removal of content promoting terrorism or violence on the internet”.

They also urge MEPs to “adopt urgently the proposal on European Passenger Name Record (PNR) with solid data protection safeguards”.

The PNR scheme - on sharing the private data of suspect travellers - has been stuck in the European Parliament for the past three years due to concerns on privacy and on its compatibility with EU law.

The summit is the first after Islamist gunmen killed 17 people at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and in a Jewish shop in Paris earlier this month.

The conclusions describe the murders as an attack on “the fundamental values and human rights that are at the heart of the European Union … including freedom of expression”.

Given the rising popularity of anti-Muslim and far-right groups in Europe, the text adds the EU will “protect all from violence based on ethnic or religious motivations such as xenophobia, anti-Semitism, or anti-Muslim intolerance and racism”.

An EU diplomat told this website the text is at an early stage in the drafting process, with member states still “sending in their amendments”.

Most of the measures in the paper were already floated by EU officials and interior ministers in recent weeks.

But one idea mooted by the EU’s counter-terrorism co-ordinator, Gilles de Kerchove - to make internet firms hand over the keys to their encryption systems - has not made the cut at this stage.

The other steps to be endorsed at the top level include: increasing police and intelligence co-operation; increasing intelligence sharing with Arab countries; tightening EU laws on illicit firearms; and strengthening the bloc’s anti-money laundering regime.

Echoing plans to counter Russian war propaganda, the leaders also call for “communication strategies to promote tolerance, non-discrimination, fundamental freedoms and solidarity throughout the EU, including through stepping up inter-faith and other community dialogue”.

They say “initiatives regarding education, vocational training, job opportunities, social integration” will also help stop “radicalisation”.

The summit is to feed into the EU’s revision of its internal security startegy, due in April.

Leaders also aim to follow up at a summit in June “on the detailed implementation of these orientations”.

With developments in the Ukraine conflict and on Greek debt fast unfolding, the 12 February meeting is likely to stray off the official agenda.

A second EU diplomat told this website the European Commission is expected to give an oral update on potential new economic sanctions on Russia.

But the contact noted the EU institutions are unlikely to have detailed plans ready in time, with another summit, in mid-March, to examine Russia relations in more depth.

MEPs break deadlock on airline passenger bill

Police are a step closer to gaining broad access to the personal details of anyone flying in or out of Europe after EU lawmakers on Wednesday agreed to break a deadlock on a stalled EU bill.

Schengen at stake in Austria-Germany talks

German interior minister Horst Seehofer is in Vienna on Thursday - as his plan to reject some asylum seekers was met by an Austrian threat to close its borders too.

Polish PM defends judicial witch-hunt

Poland's judicial purge was meant to punish former communists, its PM has said, in an angry EU debate that saw him ultimately promise to respect EU court rulings.

News in Brief

  1. Greece FM warns of Russian interference in Balkans
  2. Minister: No Franco-German disagreement on US tariffs
  3. UK Brexit minister warns of 'no-deal' preparations
  4. Munich: large protest against CSU's anti-migration line
  5. Libyan PM rejects EU migrant camps idea
  6. Italy's Salvini to sue critical anti-mafia writer
  7. EU countries send aircraft to Sweden to help with wildfires
  8. British ex-commissioner's jobs called into question

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  2. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  4. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  6. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  8. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  9. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  12. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs

Latest News

  1. Far-right Bannon to open EU campaign group
  2. Russia sanctions: test of EU commitment to international law
  3. Malta's PM cleared of Panama Paper wrongdoing
  4. EU wants answers to de-dramatise Brexit talks
  5. Juncker White House trip trumps the agenda This WEEK
  6. Italian populists try to sink EU migrant mission
  7. EU urges no-deal Brexit preparation
  8. Turkey ends state of emergency but continues crackdown

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us