To counter the growing threats from “foreign fighters” travelling to conflict zones for terrorist purposes and “lone wolves” planning solo attacks, new EU-wide rules were approved by Parliament on Thursday.
The new directive on combatting terrorism will update the current EU “framework” rules on terrorist offences and widen their scope to include emerging threats.
“We need to stop the perpetrators before they commit these acts rather than regretting the fact that there have been attacks”, said Parliament’s lead MEP Monika Hohlmeier (EPP, DE) in the debate ahead of the vote. “We have struck a good balance between improving security and strictly upholding fundamental rights, because there is no point in having security without rights”, she stressed.
The text, informally agreed by Parliament and Council in November 2016, was approved by 498 votes to 114, with 29 abstentions. The extended list of preparatory acts to be criminalised includes: travelling abroad to join a terrorist group and and/or returning to the EU with the aim of carrying out a terrorist attack; recruiting for terrorism; training or being trained for terrorism; aiding, abetting or attempting to carry out an attack; public incitement or praise of terrorism, andfinancing of terrorism and terrorist groups.