Official speeches and statements - February 10, 2017
1. European Union - Fight against terrorism - Communiqué issued by the Prime Minister’s office (Paris - February 9, 2017)
On Thursday 9 February, M. Bernard Cazeneuve, Prime Minister, had a meeting at Hôtel Matignon with Mr Julian King, European Commissioner for the Security Union, to discuss security issues in Europe.
They stressed the urgent need to swiftly implement recent steps forward strengthening the security of European citizens:
- The reform of the Schengen Borders Code, enabling all people, including European Union nationals, to be monitored as they enter and leave the Schengen Area through the consultation of security databases;
- The directive on combating terrorism, aimed at a Europe-wide harmonization of criminal offenses for people leaving [to] or returning from combat zones in Syria and Iraq;
- The agreement on the revised Firearms Directive, enabling the fight against firearms trafficking to be stepped up through a ban on the most dangerous firearms and tight controls on the use and circulation of others.
The Prime Minister thanked the European Commission for its new proposals, which build on the measures already adopted and enable checks at the EU’s external borders to be further reinforced. Among other things, these measures relate to the reform of the Schengen Information System and the establishment of a European ESTA [Electronic System for Travel Authorization] (ETIAS [European Travel Information and Authorization System]), which will enable the necessary checks to be carried out on travelers from visa-exempt third countries prior to their arrival on European soil.
Regarding the system for registering entries and departures at the EU’s external borders, the Prime Minister reiterated France’s request for every crossing of external borders, including by European nationals, to be registered under conditions ensuring respect for personal data. The European Commissioner confirmed that the relevant group of experts is currently examining this request. This group is also working on proposals enabling the interoperability of databases to be increased through an enhanced use of biometrics and a common search interface.
The Prime Minister and the European Commissioner also recalled the need to take European measures to allow judicial authorities access, in the framework of investigations, to encrypted data. Regarding the risks of cyber attacks, they agreed to step up work at European level to combat cyber crime and further increase the resilience of infrastructure. Finally, the Prime Minister and the European Commissioner recalled the importance of strengthening the fight against radicalization, including on the Internet, and of dealing in particular with the return of women and children from combat zones.
Bernard Cazeneuve and Julian King reiterate the total determination of the French government and the European Commission to further strengthen our fellow citizens’ security, in the current context of terrorist threats.