‘Lone wolves’ are EU’s biggest security challenge, EU Commissioner warns

Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela urges member states to contribute to fostering development in countries of origin, step up implementation of relocation scheme

Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela and European Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos
Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela and European Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos

Homegrown radicalisation and lone wolves are the European Union’s biggest threat to its security, European Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos said today.

Addressing a press conference with Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela following a meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council, Avramopoulos said that the recent events in London confirmed that “migration and terrorism are not related”.

“Contrary to what some political voices in Europe want to day, migration and terrorism are not related,” he said.

Avramopoulos added that the EU ministers discussed how online radicalisation could be tackled, whilst increasing awareness.

Both Avramopoulos and Abela argued that stabilising Libya remained essential to tackling the flow of migrants to Europe.

During today’s meeting, the ministers focused on the implementation of the Malta Declaration and how member states can contribute to its effective implementation. The implementation plan is about building capacity for the Libyan coastguard, improving conditions for migrants in the centres there and helping those who wish to return to their countries through assisted voluntary return.

“[The plan] is about fighting criminal gangs and helping communities to develop, so that the people have alternative means of income rather than resorting to smuggling. It is also about taking a regional approach to avoid routes shifting and support regional cooperation,” Abela told a media conference.

“Of course, there are difficulties and much will also depend on the situation in Libya. We are not being naïve. But in the meantime, we will do what we can. An important element is also supporting the implementation of the memorandum of understanding signed between Italy and Libya.”

Member states were urged to take up their commitments under the relocation scheme, which aims to help Italy and Greece tackle the high number of asylum seekers.

“There is still a lot to be done on relocation and it is important to coordinate and see that as much as possible is done in time. Italy and Greece need continued assistance,” Abela said, arguing that respecting the commitments was not just in terms of legal obligations but also in terms of ensuring that responsibility is fairly shared.

The minister once again called for a more effective returns policy.

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