Charlie reawakens Europe ” “Security, common good

After the facts in Paris and Brussels increased awareness of the fight on terrorism in Europe. The role of States and of the EU

The presence of European heads of Government and State, along with the presidents of the major European institutions, at the Republican march of January 11 in Paris, following the attacks against the news offices of Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket, the exceptional coverage of the events across European media and the impressive demonstrations in cities and capitals across Europe, show that the families of the victims are not alone in their mourning and in their attachment to freedom. The attacks (followed by the worrisome events in Brussels) have had world resonance – in particular, it can be noted the closeness of Northern America – but the level of the feeling of solidarity and belonging to the same community has been stronger in Europe. It’s also possible that for many citizens of the European Union, especially among the young, these past five days of January 2015 – from the homicidal attack against the news offices of Charlie Hebdo to the Sunday march – represent a unique moment to raise European consciousness; consciousness of the identical attachment to the values of freedom and at the same time painful awareness of the terrorist threat. This moment of unity, equally national and European, offers a hope of renewed balances between the national and European spheres. It will all depend on the ability of heads of Government and State to formulate, on the occasion of the next European summit of February 12-13 in Brussels, a credible response to terrorist threats. On January 19 the Foreign Ministers discussed the issue of terrorism at length. The informal meeting of ministers of Interiors in Riga next January 29-20 is another important event. In fact, the primary responsibility in the fight against terrorism lies within the Member States. However, the European Commission had envisioned in its 2015 working program to submit a new “national security agenda” next spring. It is expected that new impetus will be given to the PNR project (Passenger Name Record), currently deadlocked at the European Parliament in the name of the respect for fundamental rights and because of doubts over the effectiveness of the measure in the fight against terrorism. This project would allow airlines to notify authorities on the personal data of their passengers to or from a third country in the European Union. Another measure, less contested, regards strengthening controls of the EU’s external borders. Currently enforced controls do not take into account the validity of passports presented. It’s equally important to be able to cross-check travel documents through inputs on the police database. The overall purpose is to strengthen cooperation between police forces in the EU and step up the fight against the illicit trafficking of firearms. Finally, EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove, has announced the creation of a group of experts to provide policy advice to governments on the Jihadist propaganda and on the means to combat it. In particular, the testimonies of people who have abandoned Jihadism after having spent a period in Syria or Iraq would be used to counter the propaganda of the Islamic State and of other Jihadist groups that are very active on social networks. In short, innovative and bold solutions will be needed to organize the fight against terrorism, to secure the borders of the European Union and to keep it as a place of great freedom in the world. It’s the responsibility of the Heads of State and Government to provide guidance. They will be able to count for the first time, after many years, on the support of a large majority of Europeans, who now feel more united than ever, and realize that no country can tackle Islamic terrorism alone. Together, however, this becomes possible.

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