EU home affairs ministers discuss counter-terrorism
The EU home affairs ministers will meet at the Justice and Home Affairs Council in Brussels on 14 September. They will discuss counter-terrorism action and assess the current situation following the recent terrorist attacks in Europe. Finland’s representative at the meeting will be Minister of the Interior Paula Risikko, who will give an update on the situation in Finland.
"Finland has made long-term efforts to combat terrorism and violent extremism well before the tragic events in Turku. The Finnish Security Intelligence Service assessed last summer that the terrorist threat level in Finland stood at ‘elevated’ or level two. Following the events in Turku, the Finnish Security Intelligence Service has not seen any need to raise the terrorist threat level, nor has it seen any indication of new attacks in Finland", says Minister Risikko.
In the government budget session in August, the Government decided to allocate additional appropriations of EUR 12 million to the Ministry of the Interior’s branch of government for preparedness for and prevention of terrorism. The total amounts of additional appropriations allocated to the police and the Finnish Security Intelligence Service for 2018 are EUR 44 million and EUR 6 million, respectively. In addition, the Border Guard was allocated EUR 7.9 million for improving internal security already in the government spending limits discussion.
At the JHA Council meeting, the Estonian EU Presidency will brief ministers about the current measures and the key priority areas for combating terrorism and violent radicalisation. Countering radicalisation is one of these measures. It is important to detect early signs of radicalisation and to respond to them quickly.
"Finland is actively involved in the work of the Commission Expert Group on strengthening the fight against radicalisation. We have a lot of experience in this field, and in the Expert Group, we intend to raise issues such as combating hate speech and preventing polarisation. We also participate actively in other counter-terrorism efforts," Minister Risikko notes.
Enhancing the exchange of information and establishing people’s identities are key priorities for combating terrorism and serious crime. Increasing interoperability of EU information systems is also crucial to improving security. It is important to further develop these systems with an open mind while, at the same time, taking account of citizens’ fundamental rights and data security.
Laura Yli-Vakkuri, Director General, tel. +358 40 720 22 16