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France’s interior minister calls on EU to ‘wake up’ to terrorist threat

© François Guillot / AFP | French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve reads a document as French lawmakers debate a measure that would extend a state of emergency declared by the French president until the end of February, at the National Assembly in Paris

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2015-11-20

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve warned Thursday that the European Union must "wake up" to the threat posed by terrorists in the wake of the attacks in Paris last Friday.

Cazeneuve stated: "It is urgent that Europe wakes up, organises itself and defends itself against the terrorist threat."

Cazeneuve underscored that Paris had received no warning from other European Union members that Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected organiser of the attacks that left 129 people dead, was even in the bloc.

EU ministers are set to hold emergency talks Friday on tightening border checks after the deadly attacks in the French capital raised troubling questions about the bloc's security.

As he arrived for the meeting with his EU counterparts in Brussels on Friday, Cazeneuve urged the EU to move quickly on the counter-terrorism issue.

EU has "wasted time"

"We hope that Europe, which has wasted too much time on a number of urgent issues, today takes the decisions that we must take," Cazeneuve told reporters.

A draft document seen by Reuters indicates that EU ministers are set to agree on Friday to tighter checks at the external borders of the passport-free Schengen area.

The news agency reports that ministers will agree to "implement immediately the necessary systematic and coordinated checks at external borders, including on individuals enjoying the right of free movement”, the draft conclusions of their meeting says. It adds that ministers will also agree to enhance controls at the most exposed external borders "by deploying rapid border intervention teams and police officers”.

French lawmakers in the lower National Assembly on Thursday voted to extend the state of emergency for three months after French Prime Minister Manuel Valls warned of, “the risk from chemical or biological weapons”.

The state of emergency measures include allowing the police to carry weapons when they are off duty. French MPs also voted to let the government block websites and social media accounts promoting or inciting terrorist acts.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)

Date created : 2015-11-20

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