Italy FM proposes EU ‘patriot act’ after attacks in Vienna and Nice

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Italy’s foreign minister on Tuesday said the European Union should consider a US-style Patriot Act to boost anti-terrorism efforts, in the wake of attacks in Vienna and Nice.

In a statement posted on social media, Luigi Di Maio said both the EU and Italy must raise their security levels, called for tighter controls on mosques in his country, and for action on irregular migration.

Di Maio said it was time “to start to think about something bigger and that concerns the whole of the EU – a Patriot Act on the American model, for example, because today we are all children of the same European people.”

“The security of one state equals the security of all the others. I will also discuss this with my counterparts in the coming days,” he said.

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The Patriot Act was introduced in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, and gave law enforcement agencies sweeping counter-terrorism powers, including relating to surveillance.

Citing the Nice and Vienna attacks, Di Maio said: “It is clear that in the face of all of this, Europe and Italy itself cannot continue with just words.”

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France probes two students who defended teacher’s beheading

Six locations in Vienna targeted in apparent terror attack; 4 dead, 15 wounded

French police and CRS riot policemen patrol in Montmartre in Paris France, October 30, 2020. (Reuters/Charles Platiau)
French police and CRS riot policemen patrol in Montmartre in Paris France, October 30, 2020. (Reuters/Charles Platiau)

The Italian interior ministry later said it would upgrade measures aimed at tackling potential attacks, including intensifying border checks and monitoring potential targets.

The ministry also announced talks on a plan to combat human trafficking and irregular migration with Tunisia, after the alleged Nice attacker travelled from the north African country to France via Italy.

Three people were killed in a knife rampage in a church in the French city last Thursday.

Austria meanwhile on Tuesday began three days of mourning after a gunman, said by authorities to be a supporter of ISIS, killed four people in a rampage across Vienna.

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