European Parliament approves anti-terror report of Helga Stevens

12 December 2018
Helga Stevens

The continuing threat of terror in Europe requires a clear European direction in the fight against terrorism. Together with a colleague, MEP Helga Stevens has therefore drafted a report with recommendations. The report, which discusses all aspects of the fight against terror, was approved by the entire European Parliament. “The text contains innovative ideas and new proposals, recommends good practices and puts the focus on the victims of terror,” Helga Stevens says.

The attack on Thursday evening at the Christmas market in Strasbourg demonstrates that Europe is not nearly over the threat of terror that has been present for a few years now. The anti-terror report, penned by Helga Stevens, is therefore an absolute necessity. The report pays attention, among other things, to de-radicalisation, information exchange, financing, critical infrastructure, illegal weapons and support for victims.

Rental vehicles as modus operandi

For example, a better exchange of information could help prevent attacks. Car rental companies cannot currently exchange booking data with security services with a view to cross-checks. Nevertheless, attacks using rental vehicles is a known modus operandi among terrorists. “The report therefore asks the Commission to evaluate how a system can be set up to verify the identity of persons renting road vehicles, aircraft and boats,” Helga Stevens explains.

No Big Brother

Although the final text remained intact to a large degree, MEP Helga Stevens would nevertheless have preferred to see a number of matters worded differently. “For example, the call to prohibit foreign financing for religious communities that are guilty of hate speech didn’t make the cut.” That is countered by the fact that she successfully watched over a few fundamental liberties. For example, the Parliament successfully voted against an amendment that asked for every journey taken by an EU citizen, to or from Europe, to be recorded in databases. “For us, that was more than a bridge too far. Big Brother is not a solution,” Helga Stevens reacts.

Dedicated to victims of terror

All things considered, she is very satisfied with the final report and the majority it obtained at the European Parliament. “Finally, I am dedicating this report to the victims of terror, and I express my deepest sympathy for their friends and family,” she ends by saying. “Let us hope that it does not get pushed to the back burner, and that the governments and European institutions immediately start implementing it actively,” Helga Stevens concludes.

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