Wednesday

23rd Oct 2019

Hirsi Ali to receive protection across Europe, says Frattini

The EU's justice chief on Thursday (28 February) said that Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born former Dutch MP and target of death threats from Islamic fundamentalists would be offered protection across the European Union's 27 nations, Europe's justice chief announced on Thursday.

Justice, freedom and security commissioner Franco Frattini said EU member states were to draft special measures to guarantee freedom of movement across the Union for Ms Hirsi Ali and other individuals similarly targetted for what they have written or said, according to a late evening report in UK daily the Guardian.

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

  • EU capitals are to draft special measures to guarantee freedom of movement across the Union for Ms Hirsi Ali (Photo: European Parliament)

However, the next day, the commissioner's spokesperson clarified further Mr Frattini's statement, trimming back the presumed scope of the pronouncement.

The paper had reported that Mr Frattini had said a "unanimous" decision on the matter had been reached at a lunch of the EU's 27 justice ministers and that host countries were to bear the cost of providing police protection. The agreement was to be "effective immediately" but no new laws would be necessary.

"Commissioner Frattini said that the commission's commitment to protecting freedom of expression is a fundamental right in the charter, and is protected by laws and legal systems of the member states," said the commissioner's spokesperson, Friso Roscam Abbing in a briefing to journalists.

"If a Danish cartoonist under threat wanted to attend a conference in Rome on freedom of expression, for example, then this should be done without this person facing any dangers," said Mr Roscam Abbing. "On the principle of solidarity, member states would assist each other in providing that protection, so that the cartoonist would arrive there and be protected by Italian authorities."

However, he added: "The protection of people vulnerable or under threat is under the full competence of the member states."

Challenged by a reporter that this in the end did not amount to much, the commission spokesperson insisted the commissioner's announcement was nonetheless "significant".

He did however concede that the justice ministers had had a "very general discusion for which there is no legislative follow-up at all."

Ms Hirsi Ali, who has been the subject of numerous death threats as a result of her blunt attacks on Islam, a fortnight ago visited the European Parliament to request help to fund her round-the-clock protection.

The Dutch government had been picking up the €2 million annual tab for her protection so long as she lived in the Netherlands, but wrapped up this support some time after Ms Hirsi Ali moved to the United States to take up a post with the neo-conservative thinktank the American Enterprise Institute.

She has since returned to Europe.

Some 100 MEPs earlier this month called on EU member states to pay for her policing needs.

The critic of Islam was first targetted after she collaborated with Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh on a short film about the abuse of women under Islam. The director was subsequently shot and had his throat slit by an Islamic extremist while bicycling to work in the east end of Amsterdam.

A note, attached to his body with a knife, threatened Jews, Western governments and Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Belgium's EU nominee still embroiled in legal feud

Cache of 18 secret documents and allegations of death threats in fresh legal complaint surrounding Belgium's EU nominee, Didier Reynders, shortly after a low-level prosecutor cleared his name.

EU sides with Google in data protection case

The European Commission suggests the French data protection watchdog overstretched its remit to make Google delist names on a global scale from search query results, as part of the 'right to be forgotten' rule in the EU's data protection regulation.

News in Brief

  1. MEPs criticise Juncker over climate and tax policies
  2. Juncker defends commission record on Greek crisis
  3. Croatian MEP criticises EU parliament for trusting Šuica
  4. Brexit is waste of time and energy, says Juncker
  5. Abortion and same-sex marriage become legal in Northern Ireland
  6. Germany wants internationally controlled zone in Syria
  7. EU parliament refuses to debate Catalonia
  8. Four businessmen charged in Slovak journalist murder

Stalling on VAT reform costing billions, says Commission

German media outlet Correctiv, along with other newsrooms, have revealed how criminals annually cheat EU states out of billions in VAT fraud. The EU Commission says solutions exist - but member states refuse to budge on tax unanimity.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  3. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  4. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  5. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  7. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  11. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work

Latest News

  1. EU open to imminent Brexit extension, Tusk indicates
  2. EU centrists ally with far right on migrant rescues
  3. MPs vote on Johnson's latest push for Brexit deal
  4. Macron breaks Balkans promise in quest for EU dominance
  5. Snap elections in North Macedonia after EU rejection
  6. UK opposition MPs attack new Brexit deal
  7. Deep divisions on display over post-Brexit EU budget
  8. Juncker: 'Historic mistake' against Balkan EU hopefuls

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us