New measures to better protect EU citizens

The European Commission has presented alongside its 11th Security Union Report a set of measures to better defend EU citizens against terrorist threats and deliver a Europe that protects.

The measures aim to address vulnerabilities exposed by recent attacks and will support Member States in protecting public spaces and help deprive terrorists of the means to act.

The Commission has stepped up support in protecting public spaces by promising to: increase financial support; issue guidance material; exchange best practices; and improve cooperation between local actors and the private sector.

The Commission, in an attempt to deprive terrorists of the means to act, is presenting short-term measures to: restrict access to substances used to make home-made explosives; support law enforcement and judicial authorities when they encounter encryption in criminal investigations; and tackle terrorist financing.

The Commission is also proposing to strengthen the EU’s external action on counter terrorism by: recommending to the council to authorise the opening of negations for a revised Passenger Names Record Agreement with Canada; and enhance Europol’s cooperation with third countries by presenting recommendations to the council to authorise the opening of negotiations for agreements between the EU and Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey.

Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President, said: “We will never give in to terrorists who attack our security and our freedoms. Europeans demand that national governments and the EU tackle these risks with determination. The new actions announced today will help Member States to deprive terrorists of the means to carry out their evil acts and will also better protect our public spaces, and thus our way of life.”

Dimitri’s Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, said: “Terrorism knows no borders. We will only be able to fight it effectively if we do so jointly – both within the EU and with our partners on a global scale. Effective exchange of information such as Passenger Name Records is critical for the security of our citizens, which is why today we recommend to the council to authorise negotiations for a revised agreement with Canada and why we will propose to have international agreements between Europol and key countries. We will also continue working with our Member States towards the creation of a future European Intelligence Unit."

Julian King, Commissioner for the Security Union, added: “Sadly there can never be zero risk of terrorism, but we are continuing to cut the space terrorists have to prepare and carry out their crimes. As terrorist tactics change, we are stepping up our support to Member States in meeting these threats: helping protect the public spaces where people gather, while cutting off terrorists' access to dangerous bomb-making materials, and sources of finance.”

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