Must Europe get tougher on terror?
In the wake of terrorist attacks in France and Austria, the EU interior ministers will discuss on Friday how to combat terrorism more effectively. Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is calling for the introduction of a criminal offence called "political Islam". Closer surveillance of threats, cross-border information systems and imam training in Europe are also on the agenda. Most media are also in favour of tougher measures.
Take action instead of prevaricating
De Telegraaf welcomes the initiative by France and Austria and calls on the Netherlands to join in:
“European leaders also see a link between terrorism and failed integration, and want to train imams in Europe. These are nice plans, but they still have to be turned into action by the Brussels negotiating circus. The Netherlands, however, is mainly focused on its economic interests. ... Prime Minister Mark Rutte also stresses that he does not want to stir up any social conflicts. Pitching one sector of the population against another could be harmful, he says. But the time for fine words is over! Problems must be clearly identified and addressed. Follow France's lead!”
Too soft on radical imams
Adevărul hopes that stricter rules for the accreditation of imams will have a positive effect:
“One dilemma that requires a standardised response at the European level is the explosive problem of imams who hold services in European mosques. ... The accusation - which has been proven true in many cases - is that some are multipliers of jihadist propaganda. ... A sad example is the activities of some imams against European and Christian values, which the UK has tolerated for years. People who later join the ranks of fanatical Isis fighters are indoctrinated in these mosques. But those in positions of responsibility tolerate it all with the claim that they're respecting human rights. ... Such overly permissive thinking can also be found in France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria. ... Will action be taken on this front?”
Let's not overreact
Effective counter-terrorism measures must not encroach on basic freedoms, Kurier insists:
“One rule of human behaviour is: something always has to happen before action is taken. But then the pendulum swings back the other way with full force. It's the same with the government's counter-terrorism package: the pendulum has swung out like never before, but at the same time something is finally happening. ... In the package that's been presented there are many points that one can agree to without ideological obstacles. ... However, the question of how to deal with potential and convicted criminals is tricky. ... No terrorist should have an easy time of things because a law is unconstitutional or too lax. Conversely, no law-abiding citizen should be pre-judged or criminalised because after the shock of a terrorist attack the government has overshot the mark.”
Macron, not Merkel, is defending Europe's values
Germany is leaving it to others to take the lead in the fight against political Islam, Kristeligt Dagblad concludes:
“While Austria and France talk about fighting political Islam, Angela Merkel talks about the fight against terror. While other EU countries are talking about how to keep migration at acceptable levels, Germans are discussing how to better distribute migrants. It is not Germany that is driving political development in this area. And that means that Angela Merkel is not the leader of the EU when it comes to its values, even if she wields the economic power and holds the EU presidency. It is Macron who is currently playing that role.”