Update 25/03/2016: In the wake of the recent bombings in Brussels, both Poland and Hungary have announced a raft of tough new anti-terror laws giving the police increased surveillance powers and allowing the prolonged detention of suspects. Critics, however, warn that the laws will be open to abuse, especially given that both governments are accused of taking an increasingly authoritarian turn.

However, the attack on the Belgian capital has drawn accusations of intelligence failings. The Turkish government reports that it had warned Belgium about one of the attackers, but Belgian intelligence had been unable to move fast enough. In addition, EU ministers agree that more needs to be done in terms of cooperation and intelligence sharing between the 28 EU Member States.

Where does the right balance lie between security on the one hand, and civil rights and privacy on the other? Should the police be given new powers to monitor and detain suspected terrorists? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Original 07/03/2016: There are an estimated 5,000 EU residents fighting for terror organisations in Syria and Iraq. Last year’s bombings and shootings in Paris, in which all of the attackers were European citizens, was a stark reminder of the threat facing the continent.

Critics argue that efforts of law enforcement agencies to prevent attacks is complicated by the fact suspects can cross borders faster than intelligence agencies can share information. Given that radicalised fighters travel freely throughout the Schengen area, is there a need for greater coordination and information sharing between intelligence agencies in the EU?

Should there be a coordinated European approach to tackling radicalisation? Are there better ways to prevent the publishing of illegal content online? And should there be tougher laws to stop the radicalisation and recruitment of EU citizens by terrorist groups?

We had a comment sent in from Ramsy arguing that any online contact with radical extremists should result in fines, monitoring and prison time. Would this work? Or would it be a breach of civil liberties? Who decides how much contact is sufficient for prosecution? Will innocent citizens be judged “guilty by association”?

To get a response, we spoke to Hilde Vautmans, an MEP and member of the Subcommittee on Security and Defence. What would she say to Ramsy?

For another perspective, we spoke to Anna Fotyga, MEP and Chair of the Security and Defence Subcommittee. How would she respond to Ramsy’s suggestion?

Finally, we had a comment sent in from Sybille, arguing that we shouldn’t change our values in the face of terrorism. She believes we should always try to capture and prosecute terror suspects, rather than killing them. How would Anna Fotyga reply?

Does Europe need tougher anti-terror laws? Is there a need for greater coordination and information sharing between European intelligence agencies? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Ray Forster

75 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar

    Fine they are European citizens but their mentality is certainly not European, they are ungratefull and they are traitors and as such they should be stripped of their citizenship. Their Islam is what drives their seditious behaviour to travel vast distances to dangerous war zones to fight in what they consider to be holy war to create a Caliphate.

    • avatar

      So yes we need tougher laws but only because we let them in in the first place.

  2. avatar

    These ”European” Terrorists should certainly be targeted on the battlefield and eliminated, if we dont they will eventually return and we will face a very dangerous situation. You cant keep on pink glasses when dealing with mass murderers who despise us simply for existing.And we need to acknowledge the fact that were not liked very much in their part of the world and stop migration and asylum with them until the hatred cools down,which will take atleast 1-2 Generations.We cannot put pollitical correctness above our security.

  3. avatar
    Bart Van Damme

    Unless you start building physical walls, you cannot stop terrorists by closing the borders. At best, it will make it slightly more inconvenient to get in. Terrorism is a problem, but we must remain vigilant that the “cure” doesn’t become a form of terrorism itself.

  4. avatar
    Tarquin Farquhar

    Yes – here’s my offering:

    Just cancel the SCHENGEN AGREEMENT and check ALL cross-border persons.


  5. avatar
    Steven Cutit

    No. The existing laws are OK.
    This is pure populism and you don’t fight terror with populism.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Steven Cutit
      Populism gave the UK the NHS, universal suffrage, free education, free social care.

      You don’t fight terror by degrading the concept of populism!

  6. avatar
    Vinko Rajic

    Not yet ! We need more Arab refugees , after that all police officers are going to have job.

  7. avatar
    Paulo Especial

    Yes! We can have and should implement better and safer measures to scrutinise possible terrorist actions and groups.

    That doesn’t block access from immigrants but helps sort either from them as from our actual populations those who help and support terrorism!

  8. avatar
    Rozalija Baricevic

    Let’s stop debating, face the reality outside of the EU offices, come out with all we have experienced and learned so far. Don’t hide anything. Decision-makers must see the EU as one country which is in the serious danger from terrorism. Still there’s some time to prevent all future terrorisms. If the EU continues to debate, the worst is yet to come, I’m afraid.

  9. avatar
    Chris Pavlides

    In Greece we use to live with open doors until we enter EU. Now days a criminal has more rights than a family man. So “tougher” means nothing actually.

  10. avatar
    Gustaaf Van den Boeynants

    No. We have always had terror, it’s as old as the street: Rote Armee Fraktion, brigada rossa, Bende van Nijvel/Tueuries du Brabant, CCC, GIA, FIS, and most of them were helped by or at known by the CIA. Just read on the strategia della tenzione and Gladio (Italy, Belgium, Luxebourg, …)

  11. avatar
    Børge Rahbech Jensen

    No. It’s like one of 101.600 EU residents. In fact, the most important result of tough anti-terror laws is reminding the citizens of the risk of terror and essential supporting the fear. Meanwhile more people die or are injured in various ways every day.

  12. avatar
    Satsuma Angel

    why? More people get killed by furniture falling on them than terrorists in Europe. We need tougher furniture laws!

  13. avatar
    Franco Alajmo

    We do not need more restrictive laws against terror, nor we need walls to keep people out from our countries. More understanding of real problems of peoples are necessary, as well as more human rights, more cooperation, export of knowledges (not weapons)

  14. avatar
    Larry Lart

    No! Look at the stats, it’s thousands of times more likely to be hit by a car or be killed by “domestic” criminal than a terrorist. Actually, the odds that you will be killed by a terrorist are more or less on par with winning the lottery. So any budget/taxpayer money/time spent in that direction should be proportional with the actual real risk by numbers.

    Terrorists are getting the prime time both in media and politics, where by looking at the numbers it should only read … “in other news … some disturbed individual(s) .. end”. This is what they really want, to pose as a mighty treat, where in reality by numbers they are nothing but or not even on par with the usual scum domestic criminals.

    Tree winner here: media, politicians and the terrorists all profiting and thriving from this.

    And one big loser … everyone else – with a mind screwed and flushed with fear by the media, limited freedom, more taxes and less everything else, by politicians and the treat of even more wackos in the pursue of “fame” …

    • avatar
      EU reform- proactive

      Larry, not so simple, no fear, no Russian roulette!

      “State security” is the responsibility of- and- a serious State matter- paid for by all taxpayers as the State’s duty and an (a) & insurance against the political unforeseen! It cannot be left to random- a “chance” to occur or not. Most (other) private mishaps are personal “insurable risks” and can be countered through comprehensive or other commercial insurance products. No commercial insurance covers one against insurrection, riots or war- or do you know one?

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Larry Lart
      Larry Lart
      Your words lack art
      Your shady stat
      is political shat.

      FYI 152 people died in France last year as a result of terrorism.

      There are 66.6 million people in France ergo the rough chances of getting killed by a terrorist in France are 440,000 to 1 – that’s 2 orders of magnitude better than the odds of winning the Euro Millions lottery.

    • avatar
      Larry Lart

      @EU Reform- Proactive
      I am not saying to leave this at random and/or literally ignore. But the response and the expense has to be proportional with the real risk/numbers.

      Look, in US, on 9/11, the real damage was actually done after actual attack. With all the respect for any single life lost, trillions of dollars were wasted in what I will call hunting mosquitos with bazookas. How many lives could have been saved with that money and how many kids could have gotten a better education?
      So, yes, a handful of lunatics kneel a country of nearly 500 million people with a huge bill. And it was not because terrorists are such a super powerful/dangerous treat, it was all because bad political decisions/politicians.

      @Tarquin Farquhar

      Yes, if you looking at data on that specific year, however when you estimate real risk you need over at least a few years’ worth of data.
      France has a domestic murder rate of 1.0 per 100,000 population – which comes around 600 murders/year, rape rate around 16.0 per 100,000 people (around 70,000 rapes/year) – and that is every year not an exceptional series of events.

    • avatar
      EU reform- proactive

      Larry sorry, certain fundamentals in life (for me) are none negotiable & very, very serious! Definitely unworthy a consideration of “proportionality” in terms of $$$, nor worth any bartering for any other (good) cause! Such principles are mutual exclusive.

      I agree to blame it on bad political decisions- made by those in power who think to be safe from a backlash by voters. To send THEM such “condoning” & “funny” messages (car crash, heart attack, falling furnishes etc)- is to relief them from their serious governing responsibility & accountability and only strengthen them in their arrogance and perception that voters are a bunch of fools- to deserve no better!

      However, i trust & have full confidence in the State security apparatus (who is an existing permanent institution- never voted in or out) that is staffed with committed professional, solid, loyal and well experienced people- who have to counter the mess what unworthy career “Joker” politician leave behind.

      Let these professionals decide if they have all- or enough tools to protect us to do their job according to the ever changing thread level.

      Should you not be convinced what future threat the coming avalanche of Islamic refugees/migrants with their “peace loving” Islamic religion- firmly embedded since early childhood- packed in their ancient culture will have on our mostly unprepared naive & Atheistic Europeans will have- please read a bit of Qumran in your spare time.

    • avatar
      Larry Lart

      @EU Reform- Proactive

      I have nothing but respect for all victims! Every single life matters! What happens is not right – and is the same when your domestic burglar stabs you to death or rapes someone close to you – and this happens way more often.
      Anyway, as a politician/administrator you need to balance between the rights to life for all your people.

      Say, someone hurts a member of your family, and sure you will be mad and ready go to any lengths to punish wherever is responsible for that. But will you run the rest of your family into to the ground to achieve that?

      I am talking about the millions for which governments don’t have money, to offer, say, a better life/education for kids, instead they are wasting billions in a war machine in the name of “terror” trying to hunt “mosquitos” with battle cruisers and medium range missiles.

    • avatar
      EU reform- proactive

      Larry, we are going in (kitchen) circles- are we?……last time:

      ”someone hurts (or kills) a member of your family………..”

      In general: Such is a criminal offence & a police matter (maintenance of law & order). After the deed, the police will open a case, investigate & the state prosecutor will prosecute according to the criminal law of the land. The victim- in addition- may sue the offender in a private law suit for damages. For these instances a country has an established police force, a prosecution authority and several levels of courts of law, plus a private legal infrastructure – but balanced- according to its statistical need & history.

      Any “external threat”- any kind of terrorism- be it religious or whatever, spying, attempt to topple the state- or any threat to the STATE is handled differently- it is the domain of the “State Security Agency” who has a different array of duties & departments. (look it up)

      It is the State’s / Government’s DUTY to adhere to its “Constitutional obligations”- whatever the cost! Any dereliction or transgression by government is handled & presided over by its Constitutional court. The less “dumb political decisions”- as lower the cost to taxpayers! The more naive voters- the more dumb politicians.

      If a government fails by cutting its Police or Security budget- it FAILS its Constitution & its people. No choice! No batering. No if’s and but’s!
      The rest follows! Understood?

    • avatar
      Larry Lart

      @EU Reform- Proactive
      Look, I know the theory and I think you misunderstood me. My argument was to assess the real risk and balance the expenditure accordingly. And this because they are operating within constrains of a limited budget – where in most cases they need to make cuts in other areas (education, health, etc) to accommodate an increase.

      Do you think what US did after 9/11 was right? Spending trillions of dollars with all that might army and the big guns to hunt a bunch of, literally, mosquitos by comparison?
      And how did that pay off for them? If anything terrorism is on the rise ever since – Osama was only to be found a decade later, when they decided to do it the proper, smart way.

      And as tax payers, since we are paying for all this fun in the end, we have the right to argue governments’ decisions and ultimately express that by casting a vote in one direction or another.

      I for one, if I could, I would redirect most of my taxes towards education, as I think, in long run, that would make the real difference.

      And sure, I might be wrong, and maybe I don’t have all the data, so if they can provide real proof, numbers, that clearly shows why we should consider terrorists as a real risk and on par with other risks, and worth to paying for, then I am sold.

  15. avatar
    Chris Brown

    “Does Europe need tougher anti-terror laws?”
    No, not half as much as it’s population, politicians and media need a sense of proportion.
    If you are going to meet premature death in the EU, what is going to be the cause? Heart attacks and road traffic accidents are up near the top.
    Why aren’t these getting the headlines and the attention, then?
    Because terror isn’t primarily about killing people. It’s about scaring large numbers of people so they stop thinking and behaving rationally.
    And on this the terrorists are winning, when to beat them it is only necessary to refuse to be terrified, to go on with normal lives, ans to know that the problem (like a rat infection) is being dealt with (without much attention, if you please.)
    Let them starve for lack of publicity, rather than encourage them with massive media coverage at every possible occasion.
    We lose if we react like headless chickens. The reaction required is not reacting but quietly carrying on. Or worrying a bit more about drivers, and whether we eat healthily. The big issues.

  16. avatar
    EU reform- proactive

    The political Domain “EU- SCHENGEN INCORPORATED”- can & will only work in a perfect “EU ELYSIUM”! Even Adam & Eve lost their paradise long ago. A rejuvenated EU copy of a 2nd “coming” in form of a Schengen man made BUBBLE is doomed to fail. Schengen is a flawed political construct, endangering the stability of ALL of Europe in future. Money will be wasted by the political fire brigade to jack up on state security through the folly by politicians.

    And us usual, all responsible parties are in denial, act innocent & ask dumb questions.

  17. avatar
    Ben Bijker

    The current laws are ok
    No we need people to do their job and enforce these laws..

  18. avatar
    Alan Rutherford

    No – just
    common sense, you cannot let millions upon millions of people into Europe , many of whom hate you and have links to terrorist organisation, then expect to remain safe – controlling your borders should be your first priority.î

  19. avatar

    Yes in principle. Most “advanced” democracies in western Europe are to blame for their lax attitude and legislation regarding radical Islam. That should eventually change, the sooner the better. The south east of Europe, in the other hand, was considered “primitive” by the “civilized” westerners for centuries, because of their alleged religious “intolerance”. Oh dear, isn’t that ironic ?

  20. avatar
    Mark Richert

    No! What a stupid idea in the situation when Europ invite around or over milion imigrants whitout control, after riots, after bombing atack in London, Madrid, Paris.

  21. avatar
    Julia Hadjikyriacou

    Instead of spying on everyone which violates our rights to privacy and sounds costly and difficult I suggest yiu create an anti-terroism EU-wide team that creates fake terroist websites and twitter accounts everywhere and on the dark web. Then when members of the public connect get their details and create a reform program for them to de-radicalize them, put them on a watch list and have the team keeping an eye on them. Radicalisation is a form of brain-washing and careful education is required.

  22. avatar
    Alfredo Iannuzzi

    As a former expert in antiterrorism, my opinion is that tougher antiterror laws are totally useless.
    First of all because terrorists are not afraid to die for their cause, and any measure don’t scare them and cannot stop them from achieving their aims.
    More over anything and anywhere is a possible target for them consequently it’s impossible to provide a full protection.
    The only solution is prevention which can be obtained through efficient intelligence.
    For EU a good advise could be to establish a common coordination center to collect and disseminate the information from each national intelligence agency similar to NSA in USA (avoiding the distortions and degenerations of that agency, of course)

  23. avatar
    Stuparu Georgel-Gerula

    Try some 9/11 maybe we accept your fuking corporate governs. Just inforce the law, not new laws. Inforcing the law at its full extent its expensive, but no more expensiv than a war. Oooh I forgot, you all want a war to wipe clean all the shit you’ve been doing until now. New, younger politicians always uncover the old oneas dirty deeds before doing their own.

  24. avatar
    Christian Bonneville

    OK for a deeper European coordination. The first priorities have to deal with finance and communication. EUROPOL has to be strength and member states need to cooperate ASAP

  25. avatar
    Paul Warren

    We need tougher laws to prevent the terrorist acts perpetrated by our officials. We need a People’s Prosecutor and clear, enforcible civil rights.

  26. avatar
    Mario Ghezzi

    L’Europa deve essere solo una espressione geografica non una prigione come la ex URSS

  27. avatar
    Leonardo Acqualagna

    And i think laws are the major problem in the western society.
    Laws are the only thing that allow super rich people to control our “democracy”.
    In Italy, greece and spain the only real problem is the political class.
    People must work for bare surviving, and we do not have vote rights on our government.
    The europe is in the hands of the french american and germanian industry owners.
    Terrorism it’s just a way to create confusion.
    I’m italian sorry for my tipical bad english

  28. avatar
    Leonardo Acqualagna

    Terrorism is only an excuse made up to create confusion.
    The real problem is the money.
    We need to cooperate as humanity.
    We do not need another enemy.
    Crazy people will always exist.
    Fear is the only real enemy.
    Governments turn us one against the other to create the illusion that allows them to seem necessary
    And they steal from us time in form of money using taxes and selling us usless things as cristoforo colombo did to american natives

  29. avatar
    Vitaliy Markov

    anti-terror laws (such as patriot act in the US) don’t stop terrorism, they just decrease our freedoms

  30. avatar
    Jose Quintans

    What’s wrong with knowing them? I also would like to talk to some of them and I’m not a terrorist, nor they would “convert” me.
    But yes, Europe needs tougher anti terrorist laws.
    And less Political Correctness, there are hundreds of ways of delivering speech in a rational non-offending manner without being a coward neglecting the truth.

  31. avatar
    Enric Mestres Girbal

    There are enough laws but nobody seems to imply them…police, justice, politicians in a week they will have forgotten… but they are frighten to be signaled by the comunist “human rights” or any ONG pro arab.

  32. avatar
    Luchian Melnic Dumitrache

    Is that a question or a statement ? Absolutely yes. But, the EU current leaders are the equivalent of leukemia for an invaded organism, dismantling Europe defences against attackers with their fatal errors. Either we overthrow them or we will perish as a civilization.

  33. avatar
    Lia Mina

    Νο, anti terrorist laws offer nothing more to protection whereas they endorse totalitarianism

  34. avatar
    Yulia Amariei

    So, first we feed/ make terrorists and than we need stronger laws? What for a hypocrite question is that? I do not agree with the all thing. What are you actualy need us for? Checking out our level of stupidity by the now moment?
    Sorry, I can not help. As I didn’t agree with this system of making up terrorists in the first place. 😔
    Wake up, world!

  35. avatar
    Olivier Dutreil

    No we just need the laws to be enforced by our coward governments…and we should not respect few laws from european court of justice which are in favour of terror and murderers,,

  36. avatar
    Pedro Cav Cav

    Yes, although I’m not sure if new laws or new political guidelines and more courageous politicians. I’ve heard many times that the terrorists were second generation immigrants that didn’t felt integrated in their “hosting” society, did anyone thought that refugees in a couple of decades will produce second generation unfitters?

    09/05/2018 Sebastien Maire, Chief Resilience Officer of the City of Paris, has responded to this comment.

    09/05/2018 Aurelien Legrand, Paris Departmental Secretary for the anti-immigration Front National (FN) party, has responded to this comment.

  37. avatar
    Vlasta Peric


  38. avatar
    Rosy Forlenza

    It needs to suspend Schengen – this certainly would make sense. It also needs to ensure due process but differently, being able to hold people for longer, one guy was let out because not enough evidence??? You cannot use the same legal framework. It needs intelligent laws not stupid ones Jose but agree with you on that.

  39. avatar
    Philip M.

    Hi. Didn’t know there were such things as ‘anti-terror laws’! I thought terror was widely recognised as evil already without the EU alerting us! Aren’t ‘anti-terror-laws’ the same as anti-killing-people laws? Aren’t they the same rules? There are some seriously questionable, erm…questions, kicking up around this website! How about some ‘anti-terror-propaganda’ laws?! Now that might make a difference. These laws would then put off terrorists advertising their ideology and also the media who feed people fear by shoving terrorist propaganda down our throats, left-right-and-centre, and these laws would also put off politicians from fear-mongering, which also helps the terrorist cause in spreading fear. So I think tougher ‘anti-terrorism-propaganda’ laws are a good idea all-round; however, I think we could also include abortion as coming under these laws, too?

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