Terrorism across Europe can only be addressed by preventing radicalisation, enhancing cooperation, data exchange and giving strong support to victims of terrorism. Concrete proposals on such priorities can be found in the more than 140 recommendations put forward in the Report of the European Parliament’s Special Committee on Terrorism, being presented today by Monika Hohlmeier MEP, co-author of the Report.
Monika Hohlmeier explained that the draft Report is the result of intensive work, research, meetings and discussions over the past 9 months. “The terrorist threat posed by Daesh, Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups requires well-coordinated, elaborate and robust answers. The EU must be able to anticipate and react swiftly to constantly evolving threats. This is why we have pushed forward several recommendations in order for the European Union and its Member States to step up awareness, preparedness and resilience to terrorist threats.”
Cooperation and the exchange of information between Member States as well as with European agencies such as Europol and Eurojust is key. “Europol must become a real European information hub. We can only achieve this role for Europol if all Member States guarantee the broadest possibility for contacts between Europol and the respective authorities dealing with terrorist attacks. The sharing of information also necessitates common ground in the EU on data retention. We therefore ask for new EU binding rules for minimum data retention periods, which would take into account the needs of law enforcement and security authorities. Coordination to disrupt financial flows of terrorists is also essential. All these measures are in the interest of the EU as a whole as well as the individual Member States”, said Hohlmeier.
Another focus is to prevent and counter radicalisation, according to Hohlmeier: “We call for the creation of an EU Centre of Excellence for Preventing Radicalisation which should coordinate and facilitate cooperation among Member States, policy-makers, practitioners and experts. We cannot turn a blind eye to situations which may lay the ground for major terrorist attacks. There is no place in the EU for the extremist practices of Islamists, or for hate preachers inciting violence and radicalism inside and outside mosques, and therefore, such places of worship should be closed down. Every Member State must develop effective measures to stop extremist organisations and terrorist propaganda and prevent vulnerable young people from being radicalised, also including the screening of chaplains.”
The EPP Group also emphasises the need for strong support for victims of terrorism and their families. “We demand swift action, including coordinated expertise at European level by establishing an EU Coordination Centre for victims of terrorism, automatic and appropriate compensation and status recognition, a single European website in all EU languages with information about rights, as well as assistance for victims”, she concluded.