EU Member States Vow to Enhance Cooperation in Countering TerrorismEU | March 25, 2016, Friday // 09:49| views
European Interior ministers observe a minute of silence as they attend a special EU Council meeting on security, in Brussels, Belgium, 24 March 2016. Photo: EPA
At their meeting in Brussels on Thursday, the interior ministers of the EU member states vowed to enhance cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
The twin bombings at the departure hall of Zaventem airport followed by an explosion at Maelbeek metro station claimed the lives of at least 31 people and left hundreds other injured.
The EU ministers strongly condemned the attacks and expressed sympathy, solidarity and support to the people of Brussels and Belgium.
The participants discussed the lessons to be learned from recurrent patterns in terrorist attacks and supporting networks.
The ministers vowed to build upon the combined national efforts to investigate the networks involved in the Paris and Brussels attacks and to adopt the Passenger Name Record (PNR) directive in April.
They expressed readiness for the swift completion of legislation in the following areas: combating terrorism; conducting systematic checks at external borders of the Schengen Area; establishing control on the acquisition and possession of firearms; extending the European Criminal Records Information System to third country nationals.
The JHA council also agreed to implement the action plan on fighting terrorism financing and document fraud.
The ministers made a commitment to enhance cooperation in counter-terrorism between the EU and Turkey and the countries of the Western Balkans, North Africa and the Middle East.
They agreed on the need to share information with transport authorities and operators and to increase the systematic feeding, consistent use and inter-operability of European and international databases in the field of security, travel and migration.
The participants expressed readiness to accelerate the development of a European-wide automated fingerprint recognition system integrated into the Schengen Information System.
The ministers vowed to continue developing effective preventive measures, especially by improving early detection of signs of radicalisation at local level and countering terrorist rhetoric and propaganda.