Yesterday 17thApril 2018, the European Commission presented a set of new security measures to address the loopholes in the European security legislation and therefore, as stated by First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, “to deprive criminals and terrorists of the tools and resources they need to perpetrate their crimes”. These proposals follow the anti-terrorism package of October 2017 whose primary purpose, according to Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King, was to support Member States in protecting “the public spaces where people gather, while cutting off terrorists’ access to dangerous bomb-making materials, and sources of finance”.
Other than reinforcing certain provisions covering the fight against terrorism financing and the necessity of an increased cooperation among judicial bodies, the new security measures also address document fraud and the marketing and use of explosive precursors. With regard to the former, the Commission aims at improving the security features of EU citizens’ identity cards and tackle the use of fraudulent documents that can be used by terrorists and criminals to enter the EU. To this end, the Commission has introduced the following proposals:
- Setting common security standards across the EU in line with the minimum security standards set out by the International Civil Aviation Organization;
- Making biometric data (mainly fingerprints and facial images) mandatory for those countries with ID cards.
As for explosive precursors used by terrorists, the Commission aims at strengthening the current rules on their marketing and use by:
- Banning the sale of additional chemicals which could be used to make home-made explosives from shops, online retailers and online marketplaces;
- Obliging each Member States to verify the legitimacy of a licence request for the purchase of a limited number of restricted substances, while running careful security screenings, including a criminal record check;
- Obliging businesses to report a suspicious transaction to the responsible authorities within 24 hours. The new measures also provide for greater information sharing between companies, including online businesses.
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