Extraordinary meeting of European Union Ministers for Justice and Security - Press conference by Ronald Plasterk, Dutch Minister for the Interior, Koen Geens, Belgian Minister for Justice, and Dimitris Avramopoulos, Member of the European Commission in charge of Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship - Part in ENGLISH - FULL version - 24.03.2016 - European Council, Brussels.
Ronald Plasterk, Dutch Minister for the Interior: "We will exchange information even swifter than what we already do that, we will now very soon need to implement the passenger names records, we will need to see a swift completion of legislation on combating terrorism. So we don't need new plans, we need to fully execute the plans and the measures that have been taken before and decided upon before, and- the strong resolve of the meeting this afternoon was to do that. (...)"
Koen Geens, Belgian Minister for Justice: "This afternoon, after having expressed their sincere feelings, all European Ministers, the Commission and the European Parliament together with us, insisted in the swift acting of European institutions on the different point of action of our joint declaration. I only would like to underline some points that in our view, in the Belgian view are very important, that is first the interoperability of data basis which is really necessary with regards to, for instance, the Schengen information system but with regard to a lot of example given, Interpol data basis, we really need to act swiftly in this issue. Another issue which was very important is the full exchange of judicial information. Every day we discover in the framework that what happened in Paris and in Brussels how important it is that our intelligence services, that our judicial services exchange all relevant information that is required. A third point is the issue of the joint investigation teams, after Paris we discovered how valuable the joint investigation that is at this point lead by the Belgian and French Parisian prosecutor with regard to the Paris attacks how fruitful that has been for the investigation. (...)
We are a joint Europe with regard to terrorism and we should become it more than ever because terrorism as finance knows no frontiers no borders. (...)"
Dimitris Avramopoulos, Member of the EC in charge of Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship: "Something needs to change. National security is of course the job of Member States, but the threat of terrorism is COMMON. So should be our response – COMMON. The Commission has taken already several initiatives to support Member States. But sometimes I fear that there is a lack of political will, lack of coordination, and most importantly in some cases, lack of trust. (...)
So what do we need to do in the coming days and weeks to prevent as much as possible this type of events to happen again? Two essential elements: First - Improve on our exchange of information and Second – Implement, put in practice what was politically agreed after previous attacks. On information exchange: Firstly, the European Counter-Terrorism Centre from Europol has become a reality. We have secured additional resources for it. Now, it is time for the EU countries to make full use of it and to share more data. (...)
We have agreed today to set up a joint liaison team of national experts. I urge Member States to send their experts immediately and to share information. I have said this yesterday: We need to talk to each other, But also our systems – they also need to "talk" to each other. We can’t put our data into black boxes! Data must be inter-connected to be useful. That is why in a few weeks I will present concrete ideas on how our information systems in border management and law enforcement can be better used, interconnected and interoperated. (...)"
Koen Geens: "The thing about Turkey is that upon expulsion they did not inform us about the timing, the place and so on, I am not saying that the Belgian embassy was not informed before the 14 of July that the national was arrested, but this was just a formal communication and we receive no further message. That was by the end of June and then on the 14th of July he was expulsed without further notice and without challenging that he was going to be expelled and we are two. The only thing we knew before that by the end of June is that he was arrested near to the Syrian border but nothing more than that. (...)"Watch the press conference »