Denmark: EU 'must not cower' to terror threat

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Denmark: EU 'must not cower' to terror threat
Monday's meeting at the European Council headquarters in central Brussels was held under tight security. Photo: REUTERS/Yves Herman/Scanpix

At the EU Minister meetings in Brussels, Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard said that Europe should stick to its values in the face of terror and called on the EU to work with countries in the Middle East and northern Africa.


Meeting with his EU colleagues in Brussels on Monday to discuss tactics for dealing with terrorists in the wake of recent attacks in France and Belgium, Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard said that “the best vaccine against terror” is to not cower in fear. 
“The very best thing we can do when we experience something like we did in France is to react by living our lives and our democracy just as we did before,” Lidegaard told Berlingske.
“We shouldn’t be naive and we need to take care of ourselves and our people, but we must not cower and we must not allow ourselves to be tyrannized to begin compromising with our free expression our our democratic values,” he continued. 
Lidegaard’s comments came as the European Union's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini called for more cooperation and information sharing between different countries in the 28 member bloc and amid a heavier security presence than usual for this kind of meeting of EU Ministers.
The Danish foreign minister backed the call for better information sharing but also said that the EU must solicit the help of other countries. 
"We have been battling foreign fighters since before the events in France and now we will battle it even more. That is true both within Europe's borders, where we have a discussion amongst justice ministers about how to strengthen our security agencies' work. But it is also important to battle foreign fighters outside of Europe because the vast majority of these terror cells come from countries in the Middle East and northern Africa. If we are going to get a grip on terrorism and extremism, it will require efforts in those countries," he said. 
Belgium's foreign minister, Didier Reynders, also championed better information-sharing, following police raids in his country as part of efforts to break up a suspected terror network.
He said: “We have to exchange information in Europe and outside Europe to really follow what is going on and to prevent any acts that could be launched on our territory."
The Paris attacks have already seen officials around Europe discussing changes to their respective national anti-terror laws.
Denmark has called for treason charges for anyone travelling abroad to fight for the Islamic State.
France's Prime Minister Manuel Valls has said that France is now engaged in a "war on terrorism", announcing plans to ramp up intelligence capabilities, aimed at amending the faults that lead to the country's "clear failings" over the Paris terror attacks.
Spain wants to see the Schengen treaty modified to allow border controls to be restored to limit the movements of Islamic fighters returning to Europe from the Middle East. Last week, the government met to tighten anti-terror laws
Sweden's foreign minister said on Monday that ending the conflicts in Iraq and Syria were the key solutions to "address[ing] the root causes of terrorism and radicalization"
The summit in Brussels also revealed that the EU is appealing against a ruling that Hamas should be removed from a list of terror groups.
"[The EU] Council has decided to appeal the judgement regarding Hamas remaining on the EU terrorist list," Press Officer for the EU's Foreign Affairs Council Susanne Kiefer wrote in a tweet.
An EU court decided last month that Hamas should be removed from the terrorist list, saying the decision to include it was not based on detailed analysis of the group and was too reliant on media reports about its actions.
"The council has now decided to challenge some of the findings of the court regarding the procedural grounds to list terrorist organizations under EU autonomous measures to combat terrorism," said a statement later released by the European Union's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.
Foreign Ministers are additionally using their talks to discuss relations with Russia as the crisis in Ukraine continues.
Lidegaard echoed his call for EU to stay the course with its sanctions against Russia.
“EU must continue firm policy if no progress in Ukraine – and EU should act against Russian propaganda,” he wrote on Twitter. 


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