Gilles de Kerchove, the EU’s head of counter-terrorism, says counter-terrorism measures in Europe are working efficiently.
He told euronews: “The exchange of information is working well. We are looking to improve the mechanism, as things are still not perfect, but I think we’ve made good progress. We have prevented young people from leaving; we are dismantling networks, arresting facilitators, so I think the system is becoming very efficient.”
He noted that foreign fighters are a new danger: “A phenomenon which is accentuated today is the number of people who want to fight outside Europe, what we call “foreign fighters”. And in the areas towards Syria and Iraq, it’s a large number of them, we have never seen that in Europe. In the past we’ve seen foreign fighters going to Afghanistan, Yemen or Somalia, but never the numbers we’re seeing today. More than 3,000 Europeans!
“What are they going to do when they come back? Because some of them, without doubt a small number, but nevertheless, they will come back with military training, more radicalised, and having developed an international network with other jihadists. And as we saw with the killing of four people outside the Jewish Museum in Brussels, these are people who have increased their violence levels substantially. So we will have to evaluate the danger posed by each person who comes back.”