EU Com­mis­sioner for Mi­gra­tion, Home Af­fairs and Cit­i­zen­ship

Told The Malta In­de­pen­dent that “ter­ror­ism knows no borders – so nei­ther should our ap­proach,” stress­ing that frag­men­ta­tion makes the EU vul­ner­a­ble. The Com­mis­sioner is cur­rently in Malta on a visit, and was in­ter­viewed by this news­room. writes.


Asked what new tech­niques and forms of co­op­er­a­tion are be­ing de­vel­oped in or­der to tackle and counter ter­ror­ism, he said: “The EU has come a long way on se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion. Since April 2016 we are work­ing on the ba­sis of cre­at­ing a gen­uine and ef­fec­tive Se­cu­rity Union – some­thing which would have been un­think­able a few years ago.

“Now we have, for ex­am­ple, the Euro­pean Counter Ter­ror­ism Cen­tre with Europol, which has fa­cil­i­tated the in­for­ma­tion ex­change be­tween Mem­ber States. We will strengthen the Cen­tre fur­ther, and bring it even closer to the op­er­a­tional ac­tion in the Mem­ber States.

We also put in place, in record time, the Euro­pean Bor­der and Coast Guard to strengthen our ex­ter­nal bor­der. We pre­sented nu­mer­ous mea­sures to bet­ter con­nect the dots, from re­haul­ing our in­for­ma­tion sys­tems, to Di­rec­tives on ter­ror­ism and firearms, to sys­tem­atic checks at the ex­ter­nal borders for EU cit­i­zens, to beef­ing up the Rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion Aware­ness Net­work into a cen­tre of ex­cel­lence”.

He ex­plained that the big­gest chal­lenge in all of this was the ini­tial lack of trust.

“But ter­ror­ism knows no borders – so nei­ther should our ap­proach. Frag­men­ta­tion makes us vul­ner­a­ble, and it is only as a Union, and through an ef­fec­tive Se­cu­rity Union, that we can ef­fec­tively pre­vent and fight ter­ror­ism”.

The fear of Is­lam is still present in Europe, what mea­sures do you think need to be taken in or­der to fur­ther in­crease un­der­stand­ing and in­te­gra­tion?

In times like to­day, it is im­por­tant to recog­nise but also ad­dress cit­i­zens’ fears – and not con­trib­ute to them. Is­lam has a long his­tor­i­cal pres­ence in Europe, and so have mi­grants from all over the world, in­clud­ing Mus­lim mi­grants. The EU is a tol­er­ant, open and di­verse society –and it should con­tinue to be so. How­ever, our tol­er­ance can never come at the ex­pense of our val­ues, our free­doms, or ul­ti­mately our se­cu­rity.

In­vest­ing in in­te­gra­tion is crit­i­cal if we want to main­tain and im­prove our so­cial co­he­sion – all the way from ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion, em­ploy­ment, ba­sic ser­vices, to over­all ac­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion and

Dimitris Avramopoulos

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