Tuesday

26th Oct 2021

EU reconsiders anti-terrorism response

  • EU anti-terror chief Gilles de Kerchove: "More Europe and more Schengen are necessary" (Photo: Council of the European Union)

EU interior ministers are expected to hold an emergency meeting in the wake of Tuesday's attacks in Brussels, as European authorities try - again - to find ways to address the terrorism threat.

The Dutch presidency of the EU Council on Tuesday morning could not confirm the timing of the meeting, but it is expected to take place on Thursday (24 March).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Four months after similar meetings in the wake of the Paris attacks in November 2015, the ministers will again discuss control of EU's external borders, the use of existing databases and the launch of a new EU-wide air passenger name record (PNR) system.

"The PNR is not the solution to everything, but it is an essential instrument," the EU's counter-terrorism co-ordinator Gilles de Kerchove said on French radio on Wednesday morning.

An EU directive on the PNR was adopted last December under French pressure after many months of discussion, but it has still not been adopted by the European Parliament.

Social-democratic, liberal and green MEPs want two other laws on the protection of personal data to be voted at the same time as PNR.

French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Tuesday that is was "irresponsible to delay" the adoption of PNR.

But the plan is not being put on hold, as EU interior ministers have already decided to "anticipate the operational implementation" of the passenger database, De Kerchove said on Tuesday.

The EU anti-terrorism chief said that the EU should "do more" against the threat.

"More Europe and more Schengen are necessary," he told Europe 1 radio.

De Kerchove said the EU needed more controls on its external border and more biometric security checks.

"He said EU states should "invest more in Europol", the EU's police agency, and make a better use of Europol and Schengen databases, referring to the Schengen Information System (SIS), a way of red-flagging criminal suspects in the EU’s passport-free travel zone.

"EU databases are not yet sufficiently supplied," he said, while adding that “significant progress" had been made on the use of SIS in recent months.

The same measures were already said to be priorities when interior ministers met several times after the Paris attacks.

The European Commission is due to present a proposal in spring on so-called smart borders to improve electronic control of external borders.

But the Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi said on Tuesday that stepping up security at EU borders was not enough.

"Those who fool themselves by saying ‘let's close the borders' don't realise that the enemies are already within our cities," he said.

For Renzi, the EU "should go all the way" and create "a unified security and defence structure".

Following Tuesday's bombing in Brussels airport, which killed 14 people and injured around 100, the commission is also considering proposing security checks at airport entrances, according to German daily Die Welt.

"All airports visitors would be checked before entering the terminal," a commission official was quoted as saying by the paper.

Asked to comment on Tuesday morning, the commission did not reply.

Belgium in mourning after 'murderous madness'

The country will "not be the same," the king of Belgium said after the attacks, claimed by Islamic State, at Brussels' Zaventem airport and Maelbeek metro station killed over 30 people.

EU pushes for flight data bill after Brussels attacks

Leaders are asking for more intelligence sharing among EU states. But the message appears lost on some as EU states scramble to find a response to the intelligence gaps in the lead up to the Brussels attacks.

Analysis

Why is road safety not higher on EU agenda?

The European Commissioner in charge of transport fell short of begging journalists on Thursday (31 March), pleading with them to write about road safety.

EU to discuss airport security next week

Potential models include Moscow, where passengers and luggage are screened prior to entering the terminal, or Tel Aviv. Screening at metro stations considered to costly.

Feature

Covid-hit homeless find Xmas relief at Brussels food centre

The Kamiano food distribution centre in Brussels is expecting 20 people every half hour on Christmas Day. For many, Kamiano is also more than that - a support system for those made homeless or impoverished.

Top court finds Hungary and Poland broke EU rules

EU tribunal said Hungary's legislation made it "virtually impossible" to make an asylum application. Restricting access to international protection procedure is a violation of EU rules.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew report reveals bad environmental habits
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersImproving the integration of young refugees
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals

Latest News

  1. How to break the political deadlock on migration
  2. Hedegaard on the hazards of stalling climate action
  3. Belarus exiles in EU fear regime-linked murderers
  4. No place for Polish 'war' rhetoric, Commission says
  5. Nine countries oppose EU gas market reform
  6. EU-UK impasse on top court in post-Brexit customs talks
  7. Erdoğan orders out US and EU ambassadors
  8. EU banks play 'major role' in deforestation, report finds

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us