Europeans becoming radicalised and travelling to fight in Iraq or Syria represent a growing threat to the EU. Most of the recent terrorist attacks in Europe were perpetrated by home-grown terrorists. MEPs adopted on 16 February new rules to ensure stronger checks at the EU's external borders and prevent the preparation of terrorist acts. Check out our infographic for an overview of measures to tackle terrorism Parliament has been working on.
It is hoped the new directive on combating terrorism will be a valuable tool in tackling the phenomenon of aspiring or returning foreign fighters and so-called “lone wolves”. An estimated 5,000 Europeans have joined conflicts in Iraq and Syria, with the majority of them originating in four EU countries, namely France, the UK, Germany and Belgium.
The text was drafted by German EPP member Monika Hohlmeier. During a debate on 15 February ahead of the vote, she said: "We have struck a good balance between security and upholding basic rights, because there is no point in having security without rights."
MEPs also approved a regulation to tighten up the screening of Europeans as well as people from other parts of the world when they enter the EU. They will be checked against databases, for example those for lost and stolen documents.
Check our infographic and our top story to stay updated on the Parliament's response to the terrorist threat.