The European Parliament has agreed to adopt new legislative initiatives facilitating the detection and prevention of terrorism in the EU.
The Security Union counterterrorism measures, proposed by the European Commission, cover interoperability programmes which will enable better communication and coordination between security and border management authorities of Member States; and tighter regulation restricting the access of EU residents to chemicals which could be used in the manufacture of homemade explosives. The Commission has pledged to promote internal security within the EU and “close down the space” in which terrorists and other criminals operate by limiting the means by which offenders can obtain and share resources.
Julian King, Commissioner for the Security Union, said: “Today’s adoptions mark another important milestone in our work towards an effective and genuine Security Union. Interoperability will help those working in the frontline to keep EU citizens safe – ensuring police and border guards have efficient access to the information they need, including to fight identity fraud, enables them to do their jobs properly – and the new rules on explosive precursors are an important element of our work in closing down the space in which terrorists operate, preventing them from gaining access to the means they use to cause harm.”
The new Security Union counterterrorism measures pertaining to interoperability will enable law enforcement professionals to:
- Check identity documents and existing terrorism data through a single, EU-wide search portal;
- Use shared biometric matching software in tandem with a common identity repository of third country nationals and “multiple-identity detection” technology to cross-check and identify dangerous criminals; and
- Protect the fundamental rights of EU citizens and residents in terms of access to their data.
Meanwhile, the newly strengthened harmful chemicals regulation has been updated with a wider list of restricted substances, now including sulphuric acid and ammonium nitrate; and reinforces the restrictions on the licensing and screening of eligible purchasers of substances on the restricted list.
Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “The Security Union is steadily taking shape with a whole range of tools, actions and rules being put in place to protect our citizens on all fronts. I welcome that the European Parliament has given its final green light today to ensure that all our information systems can talk to one another and that terrorists and criminals can no longer get their hands on dangerous chemicals to produce homemade bombs. This is Europe at its best. This is Europe that protects.”