AFTER the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, Spain and other nations are increasing pressure on the European Commission to allow closer monitoring of airline passengers.
Amid cries of protest from some European lawmakers, Madrid is allegedly ready to launch a secret database compiling data from: ticket sales, the funds used for tickets and flight routes.
The European Parliament’s civil liberties committee has previously rejected a petition for closer monitoring of people crossing their borders, arguing that such systems may violate treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Spanish security officials have said privately that if they had adequate information at hand, they could stop jihadis from entering the country.
It is not the first instance of a European government setting up its own secret database.
For decades, Spain has monitored ETA terrorists and routinely shares information on fugitives with the United States, Canada and Australia, who already have airline passenger databases in place.
Provided there are safeguards to ensure no abuses are committed, surrendering some individual rights is a small price to pay to guarantee the entire continent’s safety.
However, the big question Brussels needs to answer is whether we are currently at war with any groups and if they have attacked us first.
Security is tight across Europe, and Spain is currently under a level three alert, with many quarters of Madrid under heavy surveillance.
Calling for ‘extreme vigilance’ while putting more forces out on the streets are moves in line with declaring an international emergency. If we are indeed ‘at war’, closer monitoring of individuals must be enforced.
As jihadis continue to carry out bolder and more senseless attacks innocent people are dying.
In a rare show of solidarity, the Popular Party (PP) and Socialists (PSOE) agreed last week to a fast-track update of current anti-terrorism laws in Spain.
It is now time for the rest of Europe, as a continent, to follow suit.
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