Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou and EU Commissioner responsible for the Security Union, Julian King, have called for collective work to address collective threats facing the EU.
King, who is visiting Cyprus to discuss issues such as terrorism, cybercrime and organised crime, pointed out that member-states are on the front line in facing these threats and underlined that measures taken collectively should reflect very well the interests and concerns of those on the front line.
Speaking at a joint press conference, both King and Nicolaou agreed on the need for collective action to address these threats.
“I agree that on all of these issues we need to continue to work together collectively. Terrorism, cyber, serious and organised crime are blind to borders, these are shared threats and we are better able to deal with them when we work together,” he said.
King highlighted the need to combat radicalisation in communities, on the streets and especially on the internet, saying that “far too much illegal terrorist content is circulating online.”
“Each of the terrorist attacks that we have experienced across Europe over the past year had a link to online terrorist content,” he revealed.
The EU Commissioner acknowledged the very important efforts that the Cyprus government has taken to implement the Passengers Name Records Directive and highlighted Cyprus’ lead in the challenge of dealing with cyberthreats.
He warned that despite progress made on the ground in Iraq and Syria in combating groups that often are behind encouraging or directing terrorist attacks, there should be no “false sense of security.”
“Terrorism and extreme violent radicalised behaviour is a threat and a challenge that is going to be with us for some time and we need to maintain our efforts to deal with it,” he concluded.
On his part Nicolaou highlighted the need for collaboration among EU member-states in exchanging information.
“Only through collaborating in this way we can preempt and crack down on such cases and crimes,” he said.
The Cypriot Minister briefed the Commissioner on the security measures and actions in critical infrastructures taken by Cyprus in dealing with terrorist threats.
“We have, I would say, adopted and implemented to the largest extent EU policies and our effort will continue, so that in cooperation with other member-states we can address this threat,” he added.
On cross border and organised crime, Nicolaou said that since early 2010 there are criminal elements active in various member states, including Pink Panthers being present in Cyprus, adding that Cyprus has called for further strengthening the exchange of information among the member-states and improved use of mechanisms on a European level.
“We have taken many measures and we seem to be working in the right direction,” Nicolaou said, noting that the government has approved the latest legislative obligations such as the PNR directive, which are pending before the Parliament for final approval.