Today the EU faces the threat of terrorism. Everyone can agree that security should be a top priority. Organisations such as Europol combat terrorism, while others like Fenvac take care of the victims' families. Improving border systems, increasing communications between Member States and criminalising acts associated with terrorism are a few examples of the steps the EU is taking this year.
On the night of November 13th 2015, the Bataclan in Paris was the scene of one of the bloodiest terror attacks Europe has seen. A total of 130 people died that evening. French association Fenvac helps victims of terrorism deal with their ordeals. It assisted in the aftermath of the Bataclan attack. These events inevitably have a European if not international dimension. Beyond the borders, even within the European Union there are often obstacles to accessing the victims, to informing them of their rights. This is a real issue: Europe's ability to protect European citizens. For the EU, protecting citizens from terror attacks is a vital priority. Since 1999, the EU's law enforcement agency Europol has played a key role in coordinating the work of national police services. And last year they created a specific Counter-terrorism Centre that aims to improve the investigative cooperation between national police forces. Through its counter-terrorism directive the EU also aims to criminalise acts such as: receiving training, travelling or attempting to travel for terrorist purposes. Providing and collecting funds and facilitating such travel or training will also be considered crimes, as will searching the Internet for bomb-making information. With the Schengen Agreement, EU Member States created not only a free movement area, but also a mechanism that enables EU Governments to exchange key information on suspicious people crossing the EU's internal and external border. Concern about terror attacks remains high, which is why the European Parliament is committed to a number of initiatives to improve the security of EU citizens. These include creating a 'Smart Borders' system that will streamline procedures for people travelling to and from the EU, introducing an automated European Travel Information and Authorisation System, and extending the European Criminal Records Information System on the exchange of information on third country nationals.