EU on High Terror Alert: Macron Calls for Tighter Borders, Italy May Deploy Ships, Planes off Tunisia

Written by | Wednesday, November 11th, 2020

EU countries have stepped up their terrorist investigations across the bloc following a series of Islamist attacks in France and Austria. Out of 15 suspects that have so far been arrested in connection with the terrorist attack in Vienna last Monday (2 November), eight had previous convictions, including for terror offences. The investigation has extended to Switzerland, where one of the suspects was caught, and a second, unnamed country. Meanwhile, two minors were recently arrested in Belgium on suspicion of attempted terrorist attack and participation in a terrorist organisation, while a 27-year-old jihadist from Tajikistan has been arrested in Greece by the country’s Counter-Terrorism Service.
With Europe now reeling from two deadly terrorist attacks, France and Germany recently demanded closer EU cooperation in fight against terrorism but on Tuesday (3 November) French President Emmanuel Macron went a step further calling on Europe to rethink its open-border Schengen area, including a more robust protection of the zone’s external frontiers. “I am in favour of a deep overhaul of Schengen to re-think its organisation and to strengthen our common border security with a proper border force,” Macron said during a visit to the Franco-Spanish border, adding that these measures were needed to curb clandestine immigration and activities of criminal gangs illegally trafficking migrants into Europe, which were often linked to terror networks. Macron also stressed the recent attacks were a warning to Europe that “the terrorist risk is everywhere”.
In a separate but related development, Italy said last week that naval, aerial assets would be deployed off Tunisia to monitor sea migration flows to be able to alert Tunisian authorities to the departure of clandestine boats ferrying migrants north to Italian shores. Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese said on Friday (6 November) that the aim of the proposed plan is also to strengthen information channels between the two countries to halt the departures. The proposal is part of an “operational plan” that Italy would like to submit to Tunisia on strengthening cooperation against human trafficking and undocumented migration. More than 27,000 refugees and migrants – over 11,000 from Tunisia – reached Italy via the sea from for the first ten months of this year, compared with 9,533 in the same period last year, according to Italy’s Interior Ministry data.

Article Categories:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.