European leaders weigh terrorism strategy after attacks in France, Austria

People pay respect on the site of a gun attack in Vienna, Austria, on November 4, 2020. (Reuters)

The leaders of France, Austria, Germany and the EU are meeting Tuesday to discuss Europe’s response to terrorism threats after recent deadly extremist attacks.

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French President Emmanuel Macron and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz are meeting in Paris after both of their countries have lost lives to Islamic extremist attackers in recent weeks.

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The two leaders will then hold a video conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel to discuss collective anti-terrorism strategy.

The meeting comes a week after a man who officials said had tried to join the ISIS extremist group shot four people to death in Vienna. The shooting has strengthened calls in Austria for a crackdown on Islamic extremism.

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Kurz called on Monday for a coordinated, Europe-wide effort on actions including tackling political Islam, addressing the threat of fighters returning from conflict zones and “proper protection of the EU’s external borders.”

French gendarmes secure the area around the Notre-Dame de l'Assomption Basilica in Nice on October 31, 2020, two days after a knife attacker killed three people. (AFP)

French gendarmes secure the area around the Notre-Dame de l'Assomption Basilica in Nice on October 31, 2020, two days after a knife attacker killed three people. (AFP)

In France last month, an extremist killed three people in a church in the French city of Nice, and another extremist beheaded a teacher near Paris because he had shown his students cartoons of Islam’s prophet for a discussion about freedom of expression.

As a result of the attacks, Macron last week proposed tighter controls on the EU’s external borders, more coordinated policing inside the bloc’s border-free zone, and changes to EU migration policy.

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Last Update: Tuesday, 10 November 2020 KSA 13:59 - GMT 10:59
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