On 7 October 2020, French Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Thierry Mariani of the Identity and Democracy Group posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission:
“On 25 September 2020, a Pakistani man was arrested in Paris after injuring two people in a knife attack outside the former Charlie Hebdo offices. The attack occurred in the same place where armed terrorists killed 12 people in January 2015 in retaliation for the newspaper’s publication of cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammed.
In 2015 the European Agenda on Security proposed a European Security Strategy, which was adopted in July 2020.
Since June 2018, Pakistan has not complied with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations on terrorist financing, and so the country remains on the FATF grey list.
1. What measures has the Commission taken to guarantee the security and protection of French and European citizens against threats posed by Pakistani terrorists operating in Europe?
2. Does the Commission intend to increase checks at the EU’s internal and external borders and finally impose a moratorium on visa and asylum applications by people from Pakistan, given that active terrorist groups are supported in Pakistan?
3. Does the Commission intend to suspend Pakistan from the GSP+ until it complies with all of its obligations with regard to terrorist financing?”
On 1 February 2021, Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson responded on behalf of the European Commission stating: “While the implementation of counter-terrorism measures remains primarily a Member State competence, the Commission supports the Member States in their efforts and has proposed a strengthened EU counter-terrorism legislative and policy framework.
The EU Security Union Strategy lays out actions, tools and measures to ensure European security and the Agenda on Counter-Terrorism for the EU adopted on 9 December 2020 includes new measures to anticipate, prevent, protect from and respond to terrorist threats.
As part of the New Pact on Migration and Asylum presented on 23 September 2020, the Commission proposed more coherent security checks of third-country nationals at the external borders.
In 2021, additional functionalities on counter-terrorism, particularly regarding the exchange of information on persons and objects involved in terrorism-related activities, will be introduced to the Schengen Information System.
The competence for the temporary reintroduction of internal controls, in cases of a serious threat to internal security, lays with the Member States. Under the common visa policy, it is not possible to impose a ‘moratorium on visas’ for nationals of a given third country.
The Commission and the European External Action Service regularly review Pakistan’s implementation of the 27 international conventions related to the country’s commitments under the Special Incentive Arrangement for Sustainable Development and Good Governance (GSP+). A temporary withdrawal of GSP preferences under Article 19 of the GSP Regulation is considered in exceptional cases only.”
Photo Credit : https://pixabay.com/illustrations/terror-attacks-france-stop-victims-1545009/