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