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Europol: Terror threat in the EU is rising

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Europol: Terror threat in the EU is rising

Europol chiefs Manuel Navarrete and Catherine De Bolle discussing terrorism
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REUTERS/Eva Plevier
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The European Police Agency believes the terror threat remains high in the European Union despite the decline of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

There were 205 attacks in the EU last year, up by 45% from 2016, according to Europol figures.

There were 68 people killed last year and more than 800 wounded in such attacks.

Europol director of communications, Gerald Hesztera, said: "We see also that the tendency is that these attacks are committed by “lone wolf” actors, meaning those radicalized via the internet or via radical preachers."

Judicial Co-operation

Europol's findings are being shared with Eurojust, another Hague-based institution, whose mission is to facilitate judicial cooperation among EU member states. For example, law enforcement officials can request cross-border arrest warrants.

In the aftermath of the terror attacks in Paris in 2015, France requested the support of Eurojust. Its counter terrorism chief, Frederic Baab, told Euronews that "the only mechanism for judicial cooperation, which could ensure this cooperation at the European level in a multilateral framework, was Eurojust."

He believes that as a result of interventions from Eurojust three suspects in that terror case were delivered to France - two who were detained in Austria and a third who was detained in Germany.

Lessons Learned

Euronews spoke to the Chief Prosecutor of the Court of Paris François Molins about what lessons his department has learned since the attacks.

"It's led us to rethink our criminal policy, by beefing it up, by reinforcing it. It's tougher on jihadist terrorists, including those who went to fight in Syria. It's tougher on returnees who fought in the ranks of Daesh," he said.

Reforms

On Thursday the European Commission welcomed planned reforms to Eurojust. According to the agency's president, Ladislav Hamran, there will be improvements in data protection and governance.

"We will have better cooperation with our partners, like Europol, Frontex and future European public prosecutor office," Mr Hamran told Euronews, referring to an office which was stipulated in the Lisbon treaty but has yet to be established.