Tuesday

17th Jul 2018

EU pushes to finalise security laws

  • Terror attacks in Belgium, France and Germany has helped lawmakers ratify new controversial laws (Photo: Full-tactical)

The European commission is hoping to push through three bills on security before the end of the year, amid intensive lobbying and criticism from experts.

Julian King, the commissioner for security union, told MEPs on Monday (29 November) that the EU must respond to terrorism, cyber-crime and serious and organised crime.

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

"Neither terrorism nor organised crime respects national borders," he said.

A directive on combating terrorism, a directive on firearms, and an amendment to systematic ID checks for every EU national are on track to be finalised in the next few weeks.

A senior EU source said "a stable text" had already been reached on the terrorism bill.

The proposal, which now awaits to be ratified, seeks to make it a criminal offence to travel to and from conflict zones with the "intention" of committing terrorist acts.

But leaked drafts of the bill have riled human right defenders for its wide definition of terrorism.

"Any glorifying remark you could make about Nelson Mandela or Che Guevara, in principle, it is part of the definition," Dr Marloes van Noorloos, assistant professor of criminal law at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, told this website last week.

A few outstanding issues also remain on efforts to reform EU-wide rules on firearms.

The bill restricts the circulation of heavy duty military automatic and converted semi-automatic weapons.

Vicky Ford, a British conservative MEP who is spearheading parliament talks on firearms, said further talks are needed to iron out differences on exemptions for the "legal shooting community" like sport shooters and hunters.

Another round on inter-institutional talks is set for the start of December.

The bill is being heavily lobbied by what one EU official has described as the European version of the "some harder edged NRA [US National Rifle Association] stuff".

"I mean it really is a libertarian movement, who seem to think that holding a gun, including heavy duty military automatic machine guns is somehow part of your right as a citizen," noted the official.

Moves are also being made to ID check every EU national who leaves and enters the European Union.

The plan is to amend the Schengen borders code to introduce systematic checks for EU citizens at the external borders of the EU free travel area.

But negotiators are having trouble agreeing on when EU states need to implement the new rules given the "transitional" requirements needed at some airports to make it work.

The new checks aim to catch any returning EU national who went and fought alongside the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

Europol, the EU police agency, says some 5,000 have gone. Other estimates suggest just half this number remain because many have been killed or gone missing.

New proposals

The EU commission also plans to introduce a first set of proposals before the end of year to reinforce an EU level police database known as the Schengen Information System (SIS).

The database is used by police and border guards but is riddled with problems and badly managed.

The proposal intends to make sure fingerprints are properly fed into the system and grant access to the new EU border and coast guard agency. They also want to create a new alert category for "wanted unknown persons".

"We need to introduce some kind of rigour of how people feed information into the system, so that it works better," said an EU official.

In 2017, the EU commission also intends to table a plan to make existing database systems for law enforcement and security "interoperable".

It also want to allow authorities to query all these databases from a "single interface". Another set of proposals is likely to step up the removal of terrorist propaganda from the internet.

EU split on semi-automatic weapons

Co-legislators disagree with EU commission plans to ban semi-automatic weapons that resemble their military grade counterparts.

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.

EU leaders still in search of migration plan

Select EU leaders met amid rising tension over migration, with Italy's PM, who had threatened to boycott the summit, putting forward a new plans to stop boats from leaving Libya.

Feature

EU and Turkey fight for 'lost generation'

Some 300,000 school-age Syrian children in Turkey are not enrolled in classes. Fears they may end up in sweatshops or forced to beg have triggered efforts by the EU, Unicef, and the Turkish government to keep them in school.

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. Putin asks Trump to go after British activist
  2. May caves in to Brexiteer demands, risking 'no deal'
  3. EU and China agree on words, not yet on action
  4. EU is 'foe', as Trump seeks to make friends with Putin
  5. Let's not be 'naive' with Chinese partner, says senior MEP
  6. Trump, trade, and Brexit in EU headlines This WEEK
  7. EU and China edge closer in Trump's 'America First' world
  8. How the World Cup exposed Russian chauvinism

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCooperation in Nordic Electricity Market Considered World Class Model
  2. FIFAGreen Stadiums at the 2018 Fifa World Cup
  3. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Work Together to Promote Sustainable Development
  4. Counter BalanceEuropean Ombudsman Requests More Lending Transparency from European Investment Bank
  5. FIFARecycling at the FIFA World Cup in Russia
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  7. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and Reconciliation Is a Process That Takes Decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  8. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  9. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  10. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  12. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us