THE BLOG
23/02/2015 05:52 GMT | Updated 25/04/2015 06:59 BST

Working Together in Europe to Fight Terrorism

Today I will meet with Theresa May and Chris Grayling to discuss how we can work together to keep our citizens safe in the UK and everywhere in Europe.

The recent attacks in Paris and Copenhagen, and the London and Madrid bombings ten years ago, were an attack on our core values: respect for life, freedom and tolerance. We must stand up to protect these fundamental principles and values.

While fighting terrorism is primarily the competence of member states, there is much that we can do together with, and through, Europe. The European Commission is now working to finalise its European Agenda on Security for 2015-2020. Working together, sharing intelligence and expertise is our best defence against the scourge of terrorism. In the justice field, I see the following five priorities:

First, we need to step up our action to prevent and combat anti-Semitic hatred but also anti-Muslim sentiments. We need to enforce the existing EU legislation combating racism and xenophobia and make sure that it achieves results on the ground.

Second, we need to make full use of EU level cooperation between all law-enforcement actors in the fight against terrorism. The UK government's decision last year to participate ('opt back in') to 35 EU police and criminal justice cooperation measures is important here. It was thanks to the European Arrest Warrant that the French jihadist who killed three persons at the Jewish Museum in Brussels was handed over by the French judges to those in Belgium in less than two weeks. It is because our judges and our policemen use ECRIS - the European Criminal Records Information System- that the French police were able to obtain all the information necessary on the two brothers who killed the journalists at Charlie Hebdo.

Third, we need to reinforce the prevention of radicalisation, especially radicalisation in detention facilities and also for those under probation. The killer of the Jewish victims in the kosher supermarket in Paris became radicalised while being on probation and wearing an electronic bracelet. During my visit to London, I will meet with UK experts on preventing radicalisation in prisons, as this is an area where other parts of Europe could learn from the UK's experience.

Fourth, suspicious transfer of money can often be the first signal that a terrorist attack is being prepared. The new Anti-Money laundering directive and the efficient exchange of information between Financial Investigation Units (FIUs) give us the tools to detect this suspicious activity.

Fifth, we need to adapt our legislative framework. First and foremost we need to accelerate the negotiations on the proposed data protection Directive for the personal data exchanges of law enforcement authorities across the EU. This is needed more than ever, as having consistent rules in all EU Member States will make it easier for our police forces and prosecutors to work together in exchanging information. This will help fight crime, including terrorism, more effectively and in full respect of fundamental rights. We should also look at common definitions on 'foreign fighters', taking into account the work of the UN, in order to make sure criminal law can tackle this phenomenon.

In all our reflections, I believe that the right balance has to be struck between freedom and security and that our response needs to be determined and measured, with effective use of the existing instruments.

As we celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, the fundamental principle that no one is above the law remains as valid today as ever before. There is much that Europe can do together to fight terrorism, while upholding fundamental rights.

Vĕra Jourová is the European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality