Recent terrorist attacks in the EU have raised concerns about security among European citizens. What needs to be put in place to protect us and enhance our security? What technological measures are already in use, and how can technology further secure our safety? How can we identify common threats and develop a common response?
Terrorist attacks in Europe have raised concern about safety among European citizens, and the majority wants the EU to do more to fight terrorism. It has become clear that common threats require a common response. How can we better protect our borders and prevent new attacks? How can technology enhance our security? The EU remains one of the safest places in the world, but terrorism has disrupted the paradigm of its security. There are naturally consequences from each attack. There have been improvements to security apparatus, and they have been equipped with better technology. Considerations have been made for further improving the connection between security agencies, in order to improve their coordination. Prevention is obviously important. The decisive factor is being able to recognise a potential attacker in time, secure them and keep them safer under control. Going forward, it's therefore crucial that we become better at sharing information among the member states. Security is an issue for everyone. Through better cooperation amongst all European and national stakeholders, we'll be able to take effective action against current threats. Whether helping to prevent or solve crime, Europol supports member states in their fight against terrorism, cyber-crime or organised crime. Since May 2017, the European law enforcement agency can more easily set up specialised units and exchange information with private companies, like asking Facebook to remove pages operated by the Islamic State. A landmark case for Europol, but for Europe unfortunately, was actually the Paris Bataclan attacks. This was when Europe realised that the terrorism threat is not singular, but it also changed in that, in not even 2 months, Europol got an additional centre: the European counter-terrorism centre, which now works together with the member states. We have a regulation, a new regulation for Europol, which accomplishes more in terms of law enforcement and police work in Europe. It's an important step. With a reinforced Europol, we are fulfilling our part at a European level. Now more is expected of the member states: more cooperation, more sharing of information, more use of the instruments that they have at their disposal. Train stations, metro lines and airports have been targeted by terrorists. A direct attack on the freedom of movement, in March 2016, terrorism hit Brussels international airport, highlighting the need to find new processes and new measures to ensure people's security. There is also new technology: automatic border control, the biometrics, and we have the PNR. The PNR is the Passenger Name Record, which will be an obligation amongst Europe, so that all airlines have to share information in a certain database with the government on who is travelling. At the European level, we need to work on having a better means of exchanging data, sharing knowledge, and coordinating with each other, cooperating. As a result, we need to improve security at the external borders. The introduction of systematic checks at the EU's external borders is a tool that can contribute to dealing with the increase in foreign terrorist fighters. This approach can only work if there is access to reliable data in EU databases. Thanks to border entry/exit systems equipped with automatic security gates, we hope, and it will undoubtedly be the case, to reduce waiting times at border controls and reinforce the quality of these controls by detecting fraudulent documents and identity fraud more easily. Exchange of information on people crossing the EU's external borders, staying in the EU, or applying for asylum, needs to be rapid and efficient. But the current system for collecting, processing and sharing of data is too complex and fragmented. The EU already has a lot of databases. Our problem is that very often these databases can't speak with each other. What we need is to combine this data. So that EU officials and law enforcement have the possibility to have the same dataset and that they can look into it. Today, more than ever, we need to take action. We need to measure up to our responsibilities and the confidence placed in us by the citizens of Europe.