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Parliamentary questions
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15 January 2020
Answer given by Vice-President Borrell
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-003188/2019

In light of the Turkish offensive in north east Syria as well as its consequences, it is imperative to ensure the secure detention of foreign terrorist fighters, notably those currently in captivity in the region, in order to prevent them from joining the ranks of terrorist groups. The return of foreign terrorist fighters is a matter of national competence, whether it relates to the decision on repatriation of a country’s own nationals or the prosecution of certain nationals upon their return.

Work continues at EU level to address all dimensions of the threat of returning foreign terrorist fighters, in particular as regards securing our external borders: a reinforced mandate and resources of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, security screenings conducted in the hotspots in close collaboration with Europol, updated rules for the Schengen Information System reinforcing counter terrorism related provisions and establishing common risk indicators — regularly updated by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency — to help border guards detect foreign terrorist fighters. In line with Regulation 2017/458(1) amending Regulation 2016/399 as regards the reinforcement of checks against relevant databases at external borders, as of April 2017, Member States must subject persons crossing the external borders for verification against relevant databases.

The Commission works together with Member States and key partners to ensure that all relevant information is shared with Member States and Europol, and that such information is, where appropriate, uploaded in the Schengen Information System, and in addition, that Interpol’s databases are constantly updated and consulted at the external borders.

Last updated: 16 January 2020Legal notice