France and the European Commission to strengthen security in Europe
On February 9, Bernard Cazeneuve, Prime Minister of France, received Julian King, European Commissioner for the Security Union, in order to discuss questions of security in Europe.
They insisted on the urgency of rapid implementation of recent advances reinforcing European citizens’ security:
- The reform of the Schengen Border Code, enabling control of all individuals, including Union nationals, entering or leaving the Schengen Area, with consultation of security files.
- The directive on counter terrorism aiming to ensure European-level harmonization of criminalization of individuals leaving for or returning from combat zones in Syria or Iraq.
- The agreement regarding the amended directive on firearms, which enables a stepping-up of the fight against firearms trafficking by prohibiting the most dangerous varieties and imposing strict supervision of the use and circulation of all others.
The Prime Minister thanked the European Commission for its new proposals, which, in extension of measures already adopted, enable further strengthening of controls at the Union’s external borders. Such measures include reform of the Schengen Information System and setup of a European ESTA system (ETIAS) enabling all necessary controls to be carried out on travelers from third countries not requiring a visa prior to their arrival on European soil.
Referring to the system of recording entries and exits at the EU’s external borders, the Prime Minister drew attention to France’s request that a record be kept of all individuals crossing external borders, including European citizens, under conditions ensuring full respect of personal data. The European Commissioner confirmed that examination of the request by a group of competent experts was underway. The same group is also working on proposals enabling greater interoperability of files through increased use of biometry and a common search interface.
The Prime Minister and the European Commissioner also reasserted the need to take European measures to enable judicial authorities’ access to encrypted data when carrying out investigations. As regards cyber attack risks, they have agreed to strengthen work at European level to combat cyber crime and further improve infrastructures’ resistance. Finally, the Prime Minister and the European Commissioner underlined the importance of stepping up the fight against radicalization, including on the Internet, and, in particular, of dealing with the subject of women and children returning from combat zones.
Bernard Cazeneuve and Julian King stressed the French Government’s and European Commission’s unwavering determination to further reinforce European citizens’ safety in the present context of terrorist threat.