Brussels, 20th November, 2015 (WAM) — Following the tragic terrorist attacks in Paris, EU justice and home affairs ministers met in Brussels today to ensure the follow-up of existing measures and discussed how to strengthen the EU response by adopting a set of conclusions.

Ministers underlined the importance of accelerating the implementation of all areas covered by the statement on counter-terrorism issued by the Members of the European Council of 12 February 2015 and in particular of the following measures: EU Passenger Name Record (PNR) directive, firearms, controls of external borders, information sharing, terrorist financing, criminal justice response to terrorism and violent extremism, according to a press release.

Etienne Schneider, Luxembourg Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Internal Security and President of the Council, said: “The Council recalled the urgency and importance it attaches to the European Passenger Name Record directive. The Presidency maintains its aim of finalising this dossier before the end of this year. We have to negotiate an effective and operational directive which should include internal flights and a reasonable data retention period, and which should not be limited to crimes of a transnational nature. That is the negotiating mandate which was confirmed today by the Council.”

Ministers also adopted, without discussion, a set of conclusions on enhancing the criminal justice response to radicalisation leading to terrorism and violent extremism.

F?lix Braz, Luxembourg Minister of Justice and President of the Council said: “Significant work has been accomplished on the ground. Work on integration, de-radicalisation, rehabilitation and reintegration is a lengthy process. Everyone who works in this area deserves our full support.”

On financing of terrorism; the Council: a) invites the European Commission to present proposals to strengthen, harmonise and improve the powers of, and the cooperation between Financial Intelligence Units (FIU’s), notably through the proper embedment of the FIU net network for information exchange in Europol, and ensure their fast access to necessary information, in order to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing in conformity with Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations, to strengthen controls of non-banking payment methods such as electronic/anonymous payments, money remittances, cash-carriers, virtual currencies, transfers of gold or precious metals and pre-paid cards in line with the risk they present and to curb more effectively the illicit trade in cultural goods, b) is committed to ensure a swift and effective freezing of terrorist assets throughout the Union, whether through autonomous EU decisions or in compliance with UN Security Council Resolutions.