25th Oct 2021

Anti-terror tsar urges EU states to implement laws

  • Gijs de Vries: "Europe is capable of overcoming its complexity" (Photo: European Commission)

In an interview with Le Monde on Tuesday (18 May), the EU's anti-terror co-ordinator Gijs de Vries has urged EU member states to better implement existing anti-terrorism laws, stressing the "high risk" of a terrorist attack in Europe.

"The risk of terrorist attacks remains high, the EU is vulnerable", said Dutchman Mr de Vries, who was appointed last March by EU member states.

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Mr de Vries, who works directly under the EU Foreign and Security Chief Javier Solana, will present concrete political and legislative proposals to the European Council of 17 and 18 June.

The implementation of existing anti-terrorism legislation will be a key priority in these proposals, he told Le Monde.

His main concern is to "fill the gap between the adopted legislation and its translation into facts".

Ratification of old UN conventions missing

The implementation gap is not confined to the EU's anti-terrorism laws following the attacks of 11 September - such as the common EU arrest warrant. It includes some more than 20-year old United Nations anti-terrorism conventions which have not been ratified by EU states.

Eight UN texts concerning for example the financing of terrorism, naval security and the fabrication of explosives have not been ratified by all EU member countries, Mr de Vries complained.

Belgium, Ireland and Luxembourg show the worst record.

Better intelligence sharing

Mr de Vries further hinted at plans to encourage EU member states to co-operate more closely in the field of intelligence sharing.

The Dutchman stated: "Terrorists themselves are not concerned with national borders and we have to improve our information gathering which currently takes place in more or less separated circuits."

He added, "We are more effective when working together, that is evident in the eyes of the citizens, who do not distinguish between the institutions".

"Europe is capable of overcoming its complexity".

The European Council of 17-18 June will be followed by an EU-US summit on 25-26 June in Dublin.

Terrorism promises to be the "the main point on the agenda of that meeting", Mr de Vries said.

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