The European Parliament has set out a series of EU counterterrorism proposals to address the rising issue of terrorist attacks in the EU.
MEPs raised concerns about the current lack of data exchange between law enforcement bodies, Member States and authorities; and emphasised that the new EU counterterrorism proposals must be implemented with the appropriate respect for data protection and civil liberties.
The measures recommended in the EU counterterrorism proposals include:
- Building an EU-wide watch list of radical preachers;
- Instituting anti-radicalisation programmes in prisons and educational facilities;
- Removing printed and online propaganda which explicitly incites violence;
- Restricting the carrying of knives; and
- Implementing a European licensing system for buyers of explosive precursor materials.
The EU counterterrorism proposals come in the wake of a mass shooting in Strasbourg on Tuesday, which left two people dead and 13 wounded. Co-rapporteur Monika Hohlmeier said: “Yesterday’s attack on the Christmas market in Strasbourg was an attack on European citizens and the common EU values and principles in the worst possible way. The incident has shown us again that we need to leave empty slogans and unrealistic measures behind and concentrate our activities on what really makes Europe safe. Despite all the efforts made over the past years, there are still gaps and ways to make the fight against terrorism more efficient. This means wider cooperation and information exchange between intelligence services and authorities, more prevention measures against radicalisation, tougher legal instruments and better protection of the rights of victims.”
The Strasbourg shooting – the latest in what the European Parliament described as an “unprecedented wave” of terror attacks, which it is hopes will be addressed to some degree by the EU counterterrorism proposals – is believed to have been carried out by Chérif Chekatt, a 29-year-old with a string of petty convictions who is thought to have become radicalised while in prison. Chekatt, who escaped the scene of the shooting in a taxi, is still at large; a manhunt is underway across France and Germany.