EU security tsar pledges more backing in terror fight

Sir Julian King [EBS}]

Europe’s new security Commissioner Julian King on Tuesday (11 October) praised EU members for their work in beefing up security, as he pledged more backing from Brussels to fight the growing terror threat.

Member states have done “a lot of work in this area. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a real job to be done at the EU level,” King told a press conference in The Hague.

“There is work to be done to close down the space in which terrorists can be active,” the continent’s security tsar said, including through introducing new legislation and tackling radicalisation.

King, a former British ambassador to France, was confirmed last month as the new European Union security Commissioner, tasked with improving information and intelligence sharing in the face of deadly terror attacks.

And he will likely be Britain’s last top official to the EU, after Jonathan Hill stepped down from the important financial services post following Britain’s shock June vote to quit the bloc.

It was King’s second visit to the European security organisations based in The Hague, after an earlier visit in September to the European police agency Europol.

His appointment comes as European governments grapple with how to tackle terror threats after a series of attacks in cities such as Paris and Brussels.

A 22-year-old Syrian refugee arrested in Germany on Monday (10 October) had ties to Islamic State, Germany’s spy chief said on yesterday, but intelligence sources said there was no evidence he was receiving orders from the militant group.

Hans-Georg Maassen, head of the domestic intelligence agency, told German broadcaster ZDF that the arrest of suspect Jaber Albakr had probably prevented an imminent attack.

“We succeeded in preventing a terrorist attack just minutes before midnight,” he said. Police had been hunting for the suspect since he evaded them during a raid on Saturday.

Die Welt, citing investigative sources, reported late on Tuesday that Albakr had spent several months in Turkey this year, leaving in the spring and returning to Germany only in late August.

EU foreign policy risks fuelling displacement and terror

While the EU’s foreign policy recognises the importance of promoting peace and stability beyond its borders, it also emphasises the need to align development aid with strategic priorities. This is indicative of a wider risk, writes Kloe Tricot O’Farrell.

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