On 31 October 2020, Greek Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Ioannis Lagos of the Non-attached Members posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission:
“Despite the coronavirus ban on public assembly, over 150 foreign Islamists gathered in the centre of Athens to chant extremist hate slogans and burn images of French President Emmanuel Macron. The event was coordinated by a young protester from Bangladesh. A number of foreign organisations sent out a call on the social media for a mass Islamist protest against France on 1 November, to be held in front of Parliament on Constitution Square. At the same time, a Greek Orthodox priest who was closing a church in Lyon was shot on Saturday with a sawn-off shotgun. His situation is critical. The assailant is reported to have shot the priest twice in the stomach.
In view of this:
1. Can the Commission say what steps it has taken to halt Islamist terrorism and extremism that are posing a major threat to the European way of life?
2. Given that the overwhelming majority of perpetrators of terrorist attacks have arrived in the EU in the guise of ‘refugees’, when will it stop encouraging this influx of Islamist illegal migrants, for example by ending the HELIOS programme, which gives them such scandalously privileged treatment?”
On 1 February 2021, Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson responded on behalf of the European Commission stating: “The Commission supports Member States in their fight against all forms of terrorism and violent extremism. This includes actions to better detect signs of radicalisation, offline and online, and to follow up on convicted terrorists in and after prison.
The Commission also engages with local actors, both public and private, to protect public spaces against terrorist attacks. The Commission continues strengthening the EU’s information tools for security, border and migration management, aiming at interoperability of the systems that help protect the EU’s external borders.
The Commission has also proposed to revise the EU Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) Regulation to enable Europol to cooperate more effectively with private parties in support of counterterrorism investigations. Finally, the Commission works closely with key partners and regions such as the western Balkans and North Africa.
In its communication on a New Pact on Migration and Asylum, the Commission announces an EU Action Plan against migrant smuggling (2021-2025), which will boost intra-EU cooperation, support law enforcement work to tackle migrant smuggling, and strengthen cooperation with countries of origin and transit along the migratory routes to the EU.
The HELIOS project aims at facilitating the integration into the Greek society of beneficiaries of international protection (i.e., persons who have been granted refugee or subsidiary protection status by the Greek authorities and therefore legally reside in the EU).
In its 2020 EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report, Europol underlines that more than 70% of individuals arrested in relation to terrorism in Europe are EU nationals and that no systematic use of migratory routes is being made by terrorists to attack Europe.”
Photo Credit : https://pixabay.com/photos/france-terror-terrorist-attack-2690716/