EU interior ministers pledge to take down terrorist content, boost border security

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By Méabh Mc Mahon
European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson
European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson   -  Copyright  Olivier Matthys/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

European interior ministers have pushed the fight against terrorism to the top of their agenda following last month’s attacks in Paris, Nice and Vienna.

In a joint statement issued on the fifth anniversary of the November 13 attacks in France, the interior ministers pledged to work towards the faster removal of terrorist content from social media networks.

They agreed to finalise negotiations on regulations for removing terrorist content by the end of the year.

"The aim is to enable issuing removal orders with cross-border effect to create a new and rapid and effective instrument to counter terrorist content online within an hour or less of its being reported, while maintaining effective safeguards for the protection of fundamental rights," the ministers said in the statement.

They also agreed to reinforce external borders, stating: "We want to strengthen and further develop options for security measures within the Schengen area as well as instruments for cross-border law enforcement cooperation."

There have already been a number of operational reinforcements to Schengen including the creation of European border guards, Yves Pascouau, from the think tank Res Publica, told Euronews earlier this week.

A strengthened role for Interpol in intelligence sharing is among the ideas that were being discussed in the virtual meeting hosted by European Commissioner Ylva Johansson.

Ministers will present "comprehensive Council conclusions on internal security and on a European police partnership" in December, the joint statement issued on Friday stated.

"We need to do even more to protect our European values, our European society and our European citizens," said Johansson. “They want us to do more and to cooperate more and I think this is necessary.”

Migration had been due to top the agenda of Friday’s meeting, but this was pushed down the list of priorities in the wake of the latest wave of terror attacks to hit the continent.