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Fight against terrorism/France’s action at European level

Published on February 1, 2016
Reply by M. Bernard Cazeneuve, Minister of the Interior, to a question in the Senate (excerpts)

Paris, January 28, 2016

The three questions you’ve asked me are the ones we wanted to put on the Justice and Home Affairs Council’s agenda. Before that meeting, I sent a letter to Commissioner Timmermans to inform him of our priorities.

The first subject relates to control of the European Union’s external borders. There’s no chance of saving Schengen without stepping up this control. That’s what was obtained from the Commission on 15 December 2015 when it decided to embark on the reform of the Schengen Borders Code by modifying its Article 7-2, which allows systematic, coordinated checks at the external borders.

If we want to achieve this goal, we must also strengthen Frontex. A €250-million budget is a first step: the coastguards, the border guards we decided to mobilize. France is making a substantial contribution to Frontex, because we supply border guards and colleagues at the EASO, the European Asylum Support Office.

Regarding the second subject, databases, border controls serve no purpose without the opportunity to consult the Schengen Information System, SIS. So the approach must be systematic.

However, this is pointless unless all the EU countries contribute to the database. Countries with information on the terrorist nature of certain individuals’ activity are highlighting them as criminals and not terrorists, thus completely compromising the effectiveness of our counter-terrorist action.

Finally, it’s necessary for databases to be interconnected – particularly the SIS with the major criminal databases – and for us to be able to use Eurodac for security purposes.

Regarding the third subject, the fight against false documents, Daesh [so-called ISIL] has recovered a lot of them and has a factory that produces such documents. I’ve proposed establishing a task force made up of our best police experts, to identify those documents when external borders are crossed.

Yesterday I was at the German cabinet meeting in Berlin, where I proposed this along with my colleague Thomas de Maizière, who picked up on these proposals. We’re going to turn them into Franco-German proposals, so that the JHA Council on 25 [February], which will be decisive, picks up on this agenda and sets down a strict implementation timetable./.

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