Special Committee on Terrorism adopts ECR authored report and recommendations

The European Parliament's Special Committee on Terrorism has adopted its final report tonight that includes a series of recommendations aimed at better supporting Member States in the fight against terrorism.

The European Parliament’s Special Committee on Terrorism has adopted its final report tonight that includes a series of recommendations aimed at better equipping Member States in the fight against terrorism. ECR Flemish MEP Helga Stevens co-authored the Parliament’s report that was drafted following extensive research and contacts with police and intelligence services across Europe. Within the adopted text, the committee presented its vision of a more coordinated security policy that covers a range of policy areas as well as looking at what can be done at EU level to help tackle the terror threat.

Speaking after the vote, Stevens said:

“We all want to do all we can to prevent new terrorist attacks. That’s why the committee was set up, to identify action can be taken collectively at the EU level to strengthen Member States’ efforts to fight terrorism.

“We’ve adopted a range of proposals in this report. Specifically, we have identified the need for a European watchlist of hate preachers, so that Member States can share information about those who have been identified on an national level. The report also puts forward criteria to measure the efficiency of deradicalisation programs. Moreover, many Member States face difficulties in accessing information exchanged through communication channels such as WhatsApp and Messenger. In our report I am proposing the creation of a European ‘decryption hub’, a centre of expertise within Europol that can decrypt such messages so that crucial information becomes available for judicial investigation.

In order to detect and tackle radicalisation at an early stage, the report refers to instances of best practices from across Europe, including Belgium, which is Stevens’ home country.

“The Local Cells for Integral Security of Minister of the Interior Jambon focus on tracking down people in the early stages of radicalisation and setting up individual programmes to follow up on them. This human-scale approach has already been applied in different municipalities and the results have been excellent so far. We need this approach also on a European level.

The report also pays attention to the administrative consequences for terror victims as they go about rebuilding their lives. Stevens relied in large part on the personal testimonies of victims.

“They often have to go through the hassle of completing many administrative formalities to claim compensation and expenses they are entitled to. This comes on top of the recently sustained trauma due to the attack itself. The hospital bills keep piling up while they are waiting for reimbursement. I ask in my report that a European law is drafted with a standard form to claim reimbursement, clear obligations with deadlines for insurers and an automatic pre-financing, just after an attack, to the victims by the government to cover immediate expenses.”

This report will be put to a vote by the whole European Parliament in December.

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