France prolongs state of emergency
The French National Assembly on Thursday voted to prolong the state of emergency in the country for a period of three months. This step allows the authorities to impose curfews and carry out searches without a warrant, among other measures. France has sacrificed its civil rights in the interests of counter-terrorism, some commentators criticise. Others call for security laws to be tightened across Europe.
Civil rights are unalienable
The fact that the rights of the French citizens are being restricted to help the counter-terrorism efforts in the country highlights how the state has failed, in the view of the liberal website Contrepoints: "The fight against terrorism now clearly overrides fundamental rights, and security takes priority over liberty. Why not go all out, then, and do away once and for all with the claptrap about human rights? Why not deny them outright, instead of chipping away at them with every new attack or attempted attack? Before proceeding with the war on terror, the state must guarantee our inalienable individual rights: safety, property, liberty. They are inalienable, without exception. If the state must compromise them to fulfil its tasks, it will have overshot its mark. ... Worse, it will have failed miserably at its key mission."
Paris sacrifices freedom for security
In a state of shock France is putting security above freedom, the public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk observes, pointing out that the presumed ringleader of the attacks Abdelhamid Abaaoud was able to carry out his plans despite extensive intelligence activities: "After the Charlie Hebdo attacks the intelligence services were given sweeping powers. But that didn't do much good in the case of Abaaoud. ... Just how much our Western structures can be adapted without eroding the democratic foundations of our society is questionable. Anger and determination currently hold sway in France. A legal package which would have provoked months of heated debates on democracy in more peaceful times has now been put together and passed through parliament within just one week. It all happened very fast, with the support of the population. Today's France has answered the question of whether it wants more freedom or more security."
Do not downplay danger of terror
All Europe must overcome its qualms and toughen its security laws, warns the liberal business daily Il Sole 24 Ore: "Who doesn't remember the righteous Europeans' fierce criticism of George W. Bush, the anti-freedom president who authored the Patriot Act that curtailed individual freedoms after the 9/11 attacks? And which of them didn't celebrate Edward Snowden as the avenger of violated civil rights when he exposed the US intelligence service's methods two years ago? … Europe doesn't like putting on a grim face. … But it can no longer afford not to, because to play down the threat of terrorism would be tantamount to unconditional surrender."