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Justice and citizens' rights - Fight against Terrorism - 06/11/2007

Counter‑terrorism – EU steps up a gear

X‑ray view of briefcase and its contents, including a pistol

More action wanted on explosives, the internet and passenger name records.

The 2005 EU counter-terrorism strategy laid the groundwork for a concerted European response to terrorism. Today’s EU proposals focus on certain specific aspects of the problem.

These include a series of measures to make explosives more secure, stop terrorists using the internet and improve the sharing of passenger name records.

The new measures would install early‑warning systems to flag up all cases of loss, theft or suspicious transactions involving explosives, as well as a new network of experts to tackle the use of explosives for terrorist purposes.

A change to the EU counter‑terrorism decision would limit still further the room for manœuvre of would‑be terrorists, outlawing terrorism‑related incitement, recruitment (especially via the internet) and training.

And while international passenger transport is a favourite target of terrorists, it also plays a key role in facilitating their work. Many plots uncovered within the EU have involved one or more nationals from outside the bloc. The stakeholder consultations and impact analyses carried out by the EU have highlighted the need for accurately tracing all passengers. The amended counter‑terrorism decision would thus look to set up a Europe‑wide system for sharing passenger name records.

Alongside the new proposals, the EU is publishing its second report on the implementation of its counter‑terrorism decision by EU governments. The review urges them to speed up efforts to put EU law onto national statute books, in order to simplify the work of the law enforcement authorities.

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