The Paris and Brussels terror attacks have stunned Europe. The continent had experienced terrorism in the past (including the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris earlier that year), and attacks of a similar scale are depressingly common around the world (twin bombings in Lebanon killed up to 43 people the day before the Paris attacks). However, the recent attacks have brought home the reality of the fight against ISIS for many people.
All of the known Paris and Brussels attackers were EU citizens. However, some of them had apparently exploited Europe’s migration crisis in order to enter the EU undetected, using forged Syrian passports to pose as refugees. Some had previously visited Syria and been trained or radicalised there. With an estimated 5,000 EU citizens fighting for terrorist organisations in Iraq and Syria, how can Europe protect itself from a repeat of Paris and Brussels?
What do our readers think? We had a comment sent in from Ljubomir, asking simply: “What are you going to do to prevent such attacks in the future?”
We also had a comment from CL, arguing that a better approach is needed in the face of threats from so-called Islamic State and other terror groups: “The attacks of Paris have shown the vulnerabilities of the system, with two terrorists having used fake Syrian passports pretending to be refugees…”
How would YOU prevent another terrorist attack in Europe? We asked Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from all sides of the political spectrum to stake out their positions on this question, and it’s up to YOU to vote for the policies you favour. See what the different MEPs have to say, then vote at the bottom of this debate for the one you most agree with! Take part in the vote below and tell us who you support in the European Parliament!
The EU’s deliberate strategy in the fight against terrorism is the restriction of democratic freedoms and individual liberties, based on a false dichotomy between freedom and security. These measures that undermine fundamental rights and freedoms go hand-in-hand with the increasing militarisation of international relations and interference in and destabilisation of sovereign states.
This approach feeds the growth of racist, xenophobic and fascist forces and their terrorist actions in Europe. Heinous crimes such as those perpetrated in Paris and those across the world require policies based on peace and respect for international law. We must put an end to interference in and aggression against sovereign states, particularly in the Middle East.
Terrorism and asymmetric attacks against free and democratic societies are a real threat for those societies. There are ways to protect ourselves better. We could have better cooperation between police agencies… or we could do more to prosecute or monitor people who belong to or are associated with terror networks.
But, to be honest, there is no perfect solution against people who want to attack our free societies. In the case of France, for example, there needs to be more effort to integrate French citizens who have a migration background. The case of the French banlieues, or a places like Molenbeek [in Belgium], shows perfectly that something is wrong internally in our societies. So, we need to make more effort at integration.
Well, the main duty for any government is to make sure that citizens are safe, and they can rest assured that the government is taking the appropriate measures to ensure security and stability. But I don’t like that we mix up refugees with the question of terrorism, because people who are fleeing from wars and persecution are just people like you are me. And the terrorists in the Paris attacks, of course, were born in France, so they have nothing to do with the refugees at all. Those are different issues…
We need to act calmly but also be decisive in our actions. .. We need an agreement on PNR (Passenger Name Record), but we also need a review of the EU Data Protection Directive. We need EU data storage legislation and we need to stop the funding of terrorism. We need results. We know this is a challenge for Europe as a whole. It is now time for action, not just words. When I hear the French Socialist Government calling on the European Parliament to act on PNR at long last, I say to them: please talk to your Socialist colleagues in the European Parliament! The EPP Group is ready to deliver.
It is not Islam, not Muslim people that are the problem, it is these barbarous terrorists. Just like refugees coming into Europe are not the perpetrators of terrorism, they are its victims. The fact that certain politicians are trying to create a general climate of suspicion around Muslims and refugees is unacceptable.
Mike Hookem (EFD), Member of the European Parliament :
There is never a simple answer to avoiding a terrorist attack as we saw in Paris but we have to have a series of combined solutions including a properly funded military and security services and the ability to know who is in our country.
We know from Paris that some of the murderers came into Europe by disguising themselves as refugees, taking advantage of the non existent border checks in Greece and Italy. We are vulnerable to these people who wish us harm too even outside of Schengen and we know there are people traffickers being paid thousands to get illegal migrants into the UK via Calais and now Belgium. We also know there are ISIS terrorists in these camps in northern France and also in the refugee camps where David Cameron said the refugees Britain would home would come from.
But we also know that we have a problem with home grown extremism and that is where UKIP believe that multiculturalism has failed. Everyone who lives in this country should assimilate into our society, accept our culture and our laws. We must end these Islamic schools and courts which treat women as second class citizens and we must stop ghettos which encourage extremist groups to flourish.
Curious to know more about terrorism in the EU? We’ve put together some facts and figures in the infographic below (click for a bigger version).
IMAGE CREDIT: CC / Flickr – Sr. X
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