The interior ministers of the EU countries issued a joint statement in which they outlined their plan of action against the background of the growing terrorist threat.
The ministers condemned the recent attacks in France and Austria and stated that they would jointly and resolutely fight terrorism in all its forms.
“The attacks that we have seen — and not only in recent weeks — have demonstrated the magnitude of the threat from all forms of terrorism. Given the fact that terrorist networks are transnational, it is clear how important and necessary action at the pan-European level is … At the beginning of December at the ministerial meeting Justice and Home Affairs, we will present the conclusions of the EU Council on Internal Security and EU Police Partnership. It will also talk about the main issue — the prevention of extremism and the fight against terrorism, “- the ministers say.
Ministers pledge to “preserve freedoms but act decisively” — to take measures to protect common European values and lifestyles while respecting fundamental freedoms and the rule of law.
The first direction of action envisages strengthening security within the Schengen area — through the establishment of cooperation between law enforcement agencies of different countries, strengthening of specialized services, and, above all, strengthening control on the external border of the Schengen area. Common law enforcement databases will play a key role in this.
Among other things, the ministers will propose to the European Commission and the European External Action Service to create a mechanism to more quickly expel potential terrorists outside the EU.
Secondly, they plan to take care of improving the physical protection of public places and religious institutions — churches, mosques, etc.
The third direction is the fight against extremism on the Internet and a set of actions in order to prevent the spread of radical views.
“We want to complete negotiations on a regulatory action to control terrorist content on the network by the end of the year, and we also want to develop an effective tool for the cross-border removal of terrorist content,” the ministers noted.
In this context, the European Commission will propose to strengthen the obligations of Internet companies to combat illegal content but establish criteria that would not violate the right to freedom of expression.
They also propose to monitor public and religious organizations more closely. In particular, ministers note, organizations that act in violation of current legislation and support content that contradicts fundamental rights and values should not receive government support or support at the EU level. It is also proposed to limit the non-transparent financing of religious organizations from abroad.
In addition, it is proposed to thoroughly investigate what are the root causes of the emergence of extremist ideologies in Europe and how they spread; promote religious education, which would be harmonized with the fundamental rights and values of the EU, improve the opportunities for the integration of migrants into European society.