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!