European agenda on security

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EESC opinion: European agenda on security

Key points

  • The Committee is pleased that the Member States are joining forces to combat both trafficking in firearms and ammunition and terrorism. Increasing European and national efforts can however have a cumulative effect and harm fundamental rights.
  • The Committee believes that it is possible to be both secure and free in Europe.
  • The EESC stresses and urges that the principle of proportionality – which is absolutely fundamental to any state governed by the rule of law – must be respected by all state authorities and courts.
  • The Committee considers that it is dangerous for any democracy to legislate against anticipated crimes (criminalising offences or crimes which have not yet been committed). Article 3(2)(i) of the proposal must be removed to avoid confusion between justice and security. Similarly, Article 15 of the proposal for a directive does not guarantee public freedom or the presumption of innocence.
  • Tools to prevent radicalisation must be developed. Prevention policies and programmes must target individuals and groups most predisposed to use violence for the sake of terrorism. The role of civil society is crucial in dealing with the conditions which foster radicalisation and the use violence.
  • Steps must be taken to coordinate Europe's foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa. The Committee considers that a clearer commitment to stabilisation, development and democratisation efforts in this region must be a priority. Priority must be given to combating poverty, corruption and political and social exclusion.
  • The Committee considers that drastically curbing access to firearms, ammunition and explosives must be a priority. Links between terrorist groups and organised crime are a major threat to the security of people in Europe.
  • The Committee supports the clarifications to the legislation on the victims of terrorism. The victims of terrorism must be supported swiftly and efficiently, as well as in the medium and long term. Preventing and combating terrorism has a price tag, and the EU must consider providing financial support for Member State action in this area.
  • The Committee considers that laws and institutional procedures must continuously adapt to security situations and risks.
  • The Committee urges the EU institutions and Member States to abide by the proportionality principle, and to reflect the seriousness and intention of these actions when criminalising and combating them.