- Title: FRANCE-SHOOTING/EU European Union looks to respond to threat of radical Islam
- Date: 19th January 2015
- Summary: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (JANUARY 19, 2015) (REUTERS) HAMMOND ENTERING COUNCIL
- Embargoed: 3rd February 2015 12:00
- Location: Belgium
- Country: Belgium
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVA6UTJATDNYSZJO2IKCBVU45D87
- Story Text: EU foreign ministers pledged on Monday (January 19) to counter radical Muslims returning from Syria and Iraq with a better strategy at home and abroad, but ruled out sweeping new laws in the wake of the January 7 Paris attacks.
Following the deadliest assault by militant Islamists on a European city since suicide bombers targeted London's transport system in 2005, Europe is seeking a united response without new legislation or a prolonged military presence on its streets.
"We will all be determined to do what is necessary to keep Europe safe from the terrorist threat. We'll be talking about the challenge of extreme Islamism today and how we deal in our counter-terrorist response with it," British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said as he arrived for the meeting, adding that better sharing of airline passenger data was one way to do that.
Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders, whose country foiled an Islamist plot to murder police last week, urged lawmakers at the European Parliament to agree to establish a passenger name record.
"I hope the European Parliament will change its attitude in that regard and authorise the setting up of a PNR (Passenger Name Record) at a European level and also in collaboration with other partners, such as the United States and Canada. The approach above all is really this exchange of information. We showed it in the operations which took place in Belgium these past few days; we must exchange information in Europe and outside of Europe to have a real follow-up to be able to prevent certain acts which could be committed on our territory," he said.
Foreign ministers, in their first decision of the day, agreed to appeal against a European Union court ruling that the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas should be removed from the bloc's terrorist list.
Ministers will lay the groundwork for a string of meetings culminating in an EU leaders' summit on February 12-13 in Brussels to set out the bloc's strategy to deal with Muslims heading to Middle East war zones or returning radicalized from the region.
Priorities include a crackdown on arms trafficking, support for police in the Middle East and North Africa, trying to stop EU citizens leaving to fight abroad and seeking to curb radical Islam on the Internet to stop EU citizens from bringing violence back home.
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