EU pledge to fight terrorism in wake of Paris attacks

World Today

European Union foreign ministers met in Brussels Monday and pledged to make a better strategy to fight terrorism at home and abroad. The ministers also sought to overturn an E.U. court decision to remove the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas from its terrorist list. CCTV’s Sandra Gathmann reported the story from Brussels.

EU pledge to fight terrorism in wake of Paris attacks

European Union foreign ministers met in Brussels Monday and pledged to make a better strategy to fight terrorism at home and abroad. The ministers also sought to overturn an E.U. court decision to remove the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas from its terrorist list. CCTV’s Sandra Gathmann reported the story from Brussels.

The foreign ministers of the E.U. are pushing for a new plan to combat the threat of terrorism by radicalized fighters returning from Syria and Iraq. Amid military-tight security in Brussels, they met with the Arab League’s Secretary General to promote an alliance of greater cooperation with Arab nations.

“The Muslim countries of the world are the ones that have suffered the greatest burden of terrorism,” Phillip Hammond, U.K. Foreign Secretary, said. “They will continue to be in the front line and we have to work closely with them to protect both those countries and the E.U. countries.”

The E.U., U.S. and Arab nations are already part of anti-ISIL coalition due to meet up in London later this week to discuss the security situation in Syria and Iraq. European foreign ministers are seeking to widen that alliance to include efforts to prevent terrorism in Europe in areas like enhanced border controls and the prevention of arms trafficking.

Another proposal is to enforce an E.U.-wide passenger names record to track European jihadists returning from Syria and Iraq. It was blocked by the European Parliament last year on privacy grounds but has seen renewed support.

On relations with Russia, the E.U. was adamant that sanctions currently in place against officials and entities in Moscow alleged to have links to separatists in east Ukraine will not be lifted for the time being.

“Our relations with Russia can change if and when, and I hope when, but at the moment it’s if, later developments on the ground, are definitely not encouraging, rather the contrary,” Federica Mogherini, E.U. Foreign Affairs Chief, said.

The E.U also said on Monday it would appeal a court decision to remove the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas from the E.U.’s terrorist list. It’s yet another item on the agenda for a special summit of European leaders discussing global terrorism in Brussels next month.