Saturday

22nd Sep 2018

EU tables anti-foreign fighters laws

  • The package against terrorism and arms trafficking is a reaction to the Paris attacks on 13 November (Photo: Reuters)

The European Commission on Wednesday (2 December) adopted a two-fold package to address the terrorist threat and fight arms trafficking in the wake of the 13 November Paris attacks.

The first item is a proposal for a directive on terrorism that focuses on the phenomenon of so-called foreign fighters, who are mainly EU citizens.

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

The proposed directive, which refers to foreign fighters as "people travelling to conflict zones, in particular to Syria and Iraq, to fight or train with terrorist groups,” introduces in EU law criminalisation of travelling and training for terrorist purposes, both within and outside the EU.

"The phenomenon is growing," the commission notes.

"By late 2014, the overall number of people who have departed from the EU to conflict areas was estimated to have exceeded 3,000 and is now assessed to have reached 5,000, while at the same time the number of returnees was reported to have increased in some member states."

The text also criminalises the funding, organisation, and facilitation of such trips, as well as the funding and logistical and material support to terrorist actions.

The second item of the package is an action plan against firearms trafficking and use of explosives.

Following measures taken in the wake of the Paris attacks to restrict acquisition of automatic weapons and introduce common and stricter standards of weapons deactivation, the commission is proposing to step up cooperation between member states to restrict access to firearms.

The EU executive asks for a greater role for Europol, the EU police support agency, against trafficking, through a recently established Internet Referral Unit.

The action plan also states that "organised crime and terrorist networks are known to evolve rapidly and to make the most of technological innovation" and says the commission will assess with member states, Europol, and the firearms and chemical industry "the impact of technological advancements on the potential availability of firearms and explosives.”

Member states are asked to carry out "risk-based controls on goods at the external borders,” to “explore the idea of prohibiting payments in cash for firearms sales" and t”o facilitate the exchange of ballistic information through a dedicated platform.”

The EU will develop cooperation with Middle East and North African countries as well as Turkey and Ukraine to fight arms trafficking.

The commission also told member states there is an "urgent priority" to fully implement a 2014 regulation on explosives to prevent acts of terrorism.

EU agrees on Schengen checks for all

EU "collective reaction must be ruthless," said French minister, as controls are to be stepped up for migrants and EU nationals.

Opinion

Building a Europe more resilient to terrorism

One year to the day since the terror attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, the commissioner for home affairs spells out what action the EU is taking now to protect against further attacks.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  5. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  6. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  7. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  8. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  9. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  10. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  11. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow

Latest News

  1. Brexit and MEPs expenses in the spotlight This WEEK
  2. Wake-up call on European Day Against Islamophobia
  3. Sound of discord at 'Sound of Music' Salzburg summit
  4. Salzburg summit presses for bigger Frontex mandate
  5. UK's post-Brexit plan 'will not work', EU says
  6. Airbnb agrees to clarify pricing for EU
  7. Libya keeps coast guards rejected by the EU
  8. EU divisions on menu at Salzburg dinner

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us