Counter-terrorism is EU's highest security priority
23 June, 2017
Counter-terrorism is the highest security priority for the EU, foreign affairs ministers declared at their meeting last Monday, as they debated the EU response to the recent attacks across continent. The Council stressed the need “to continue expanding our network of counter-terrorist experts in our delegations, focusing on some geographical priorities namely Middle East, North Africa, Western Balkans and Turkey but also Sahel, Horn of Africa and Gulf,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said.
“In one year, we have seen that the world needs the EU much more than we even imagined one year ago,” she said adding that the EU had started to “translate our common vision into common action, namely on security and defence, strengthening the European defence pillar, also in partnership with NATO.” Noting that terrorism constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, the Council stressed that counter-terrorism structures need to be reinforced in order to strengthen the EU capacity to enhance cooperation.
The Council stance coincided with botched attacks in Brussels and Paris. Last Tuesday evening a suicide bomber planning to explode a large bomb caused only a minor explosion in Brussels' central station, while a day earlier a car rammed into a police van at the famous Champs-Elysees.
The Brussels attacker, whose device was filled with nails, was shot dead by soldiers patrolling the station. The man, who was from Molenbeek, shouted Islamist slogans before detonating the bomb. Fortunately no one was hurt. The Paris attacker died in the crash, which was described by the Interior Minister as an “attempted terror attack”. French police launched a major security operation following the attack and arrested four of the driver's family members. The man was on the government's list of potential extremists.