Monday

18th Mar 2019

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.

News in Brief

  1. Third Brexit vote this week only if DUP will support it
  2. Germany's two largest banks confirm merger talks
  3. Serbian pro-democracy protests reach 15th week
  4. 'Yellow Vest' riots leave Paris shops vandalised
  5. European woman older when having first baby
  6. Majority of Germans want Merkel to stay on
  7. Asylum applications in the EU down to 580,800 in 2018
  8. Children's climate school strikes turn global on Friday

Stakeholders' Highlights

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

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us