EU terror chief: Europe unable to halt militant recruitment

European security officials complain that EU cannot stop outflow of militant recruitment made by ISIS and other radical groups fighting in Syria and Iraq

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The chief of European Union’s counter-terrorism unit Gilles de Kerchove told a European Parliament committee on Monday that the numbers of European recruitments who joined ISIS and similar groups have so far remained stable in Europe.

Kerchove said that the EU countries were unsuccessful so far to halt militant outflow from Europe to the militant groups currently fighting in Iraq and Syria.

He stated that the numbers of recruitment who departed from the EU countries, such as Britain, Belgium, Germany and France have stabilised and unabated although the 28-member bloc has ostensibly raised its concern against the increasing militancy on its soils.

More than 4,000 militants were believed to have gone to the Middle East to join the groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda.

Since the Charlie Hebdo attack targeted on France in January, the EU governments have prioritised the issue of recruitment made by the militant groups among from European nationals.

De Kerchove has admitted their failure to prevent militancy as he said “We have not been able to stem the flow yet.”

Europe has long been struggling with the increasing militancy which started to undermine its security particularly in the wake of migrant crisis that came to the fore as one of the most important non-conventional threats in Europe’s recent security deficit.

The EU has blamed some countries in the Middle East, foremost Turkey due to the border management and checking problems on the porous borders with Syria about the militant outflow from Europe to Turkey, and then further into the Middle East.

But the Turkish Foreign Ministry stated  that the European allegations were unjust and denied the problems erupted due to its border management were part of a “propaganda” that aimed to classify the country as if it supports the militancy in Iraq and Syria.

Turkey blames the EU countries for not informing itself in advance and with the lack of intelligence sharing cooperation about European nationals who are supposed to join ISIS passing through its borders with Syria.

Both militant flows from and to Europe have caused  a security challenge as the militant groups accelerated their operations in and around Europe through refugee crisis.

EU’s Frontex agency that controls the Union’s integrated borders had warned earlier this year of the possibility of foreign fighters crossing into Europe using irregular migration routes.

Migrants were trying to cross into Europe by taking on the exhausting and deadly journey by walking, travelling in dodgy vessels through the Mediterranean, hiding underneath trucks and in train carriages, according to the agency.

The EU has been facing an increasing trend of thousands of migrants mainly from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and North Africa who were trying to cross into Serbia via Macedonia and Kosovo after travelling miles on foot or boats.

Frontex data showed that around 43,360 people crossed borders using the illegal route in 2014 and already some 35,000 people arrived in the EU through the Balkans within the first several months of 2015.


TRTWorld and agencies