In the fight against terrorism, EU countries will work together more closely in the future. Since the beginning of the month, the national investigative authorities have been able to access a common database, as reported by the EU judicial authority Eurojust on Thursday in Brussels.
"Now that terrorists are increasingly involved in cross-border networks, the EU must do the same," said Eurojust President Ladislav Hamran.
According to Eurojust data, the so-called Judicial Terror Register is a consequence of the terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015, in which Islamists murdered 130 people. France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands then took the initiative for the new database. It collects, according to Eurojust, key legal information to establish links between terrorist suspects and is managed by Eurojust, based in The Hague.
The EU states should enter their data on cases and suspects in the new directory later this month. According to Eurojust, the database should not only serve the persecution of Islamist terrorists, but should also serve as an instrument for tackling right-wing and extreme left-wing terrorism.
Controversial classification as a terrorist
It is unclear on what criteria the detection of terrorist suspects takes place and how data entry is controlled. As with the planned EU regulation on online terrorist content, such cross-border counter-terrorism tools face the problem that EU countries may have different ideas about terrorism and that the classification of people could be politically exploited.
Spain is very sensitive to Basque independence and quickly calls support for Basque self-determination terrorism, said Martin Scheinin to SPIEGEL in relation to the EU regulation. Scheinin teaches International Law and Human Rights as a professor at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence.
Also, the American Terror Watchlist of the Terrorist Screening Center of the FBI reveals problems in classifying terrorist suspects. A federal judge ruled, according to a report in the New York Times on Wednesday, that the database violates the rights of American citizens.
The list includes more than one million people who are known terrorists or terrorist suspects - threatened by, among other things, entry bans, increased controls or restrictions on state benefits. In his 32-page opinion, Judge Anthony J. Trenga of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia argued that the standard for inclusion in the database was too vague - and the risk of an erroneous deprivation of travel and other rights too high ,