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EU to submit new counter-terrorism proposals after Paris attack

Thursday, January 8, 2015 - 23:08
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The European Commission will submit new proposals to fight terrorism in the next few weeks following the deadly Islamist attack in France, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Thursday.

[RIGA] The European Commission will submit new proposals to fight terrorism in the next few weeks following the deadly Islamist attack in France, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Thursday.

"I know from experience that one should not react on the moment to such events given the risk of doing either too much or too little," Mr Juncker told a press conference in the Latvian capital Riga, which has assumed the rotating EU presidency.

Mr Juncker added that the commission, the EU executive arm, "plans to submit new anti-terror proposals in the coming weeks".

EU officials meanwhile said foreign ministers will meet in Brussels on January 19 and interior ministers will meet in Riga on January 28 to discuss counter-terrorism efforts in response to the gun attack that killed 12 people Wednesday at the Charlie Hebdo satirical newspaper offices in the French capital.

In Brussels, commission spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud gave no details of the talks but said that the commission will "throw its weight behind the negotiations" with a reluctant European Parliament on forging a Passenger Name Record (PNR) system.

The PNR would enable the 28 EU countries to collect and share data on all airline passengers in a bid to trace would-be militants, but it is opposed by civil libertarians who have strong support in the parliament.

EU counter-terrorism chief Gilles de Kerchove is a leading proponent of the PNR as a way to track EU citizens who travel to Syria and Iraq to wage jihad.

They are perceived as a potential threat to their home countries as they will return battle-hardened veterans trained in the use of weapons.

Cherif Kouachi, the 32-year-old hunted along with his older brother Said for the attack on Charlie Hebdo, is a jihadist who has been well-known to French anti-terror police for many years.

Cherif, who was born in Paris not far from where the attack took place, had already been jailed in 2008 for his role in sending fighters to Iraq.

AFP

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