Europeans Push Tougher Stance on Asylum, Borders After Terrorist Attacks

Police say the killers or prime suspects in a string of recent attacks harbored Islamist beliefs

A gunman opened fire near a synagogue in Vienna in early November, killing at least four people and sending 14 to the hospital, in what officials called an Islamist terrorist attack. Photo: Matthias Schrader/Associated Press (Originally published Nov. 3, 2020)

BERLIN—European leaders on Tuesday called for a tougher asylum regime for the continent and stronger border protection to help stop the spread of Islamist extremism following a string of terrorist attacks in three countries.

The proposals from France, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands will be put to all European Union leaders at a Dec. 9 summit. They include security vetting of asylum seekers as soon as they enter the bloc, reinforcing controls at the external borders of Europe’s passport-free travel area, increasing online surveillance of radical groups and boosting cross-border law enforcement cooperation with a focus on terror prevention.

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz unveiled the agenda after a videoconference where they were joined by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and senior EU officials.

Europe suffered multiple deadly attacks by Islamists in recent weeks, including a shooting spree in Vienna that claimed four lives last week. Last month, a Tunisian migrant allegedly killed three people at a church in the French city of Nice, shortly after a teacher was beheaded on the street near Paris for showing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in a civics class.

Earlier, an extremist who had just served a terror sentence was detained on suspicion of attacking a gay couple in the German city of Dresden and killing one of them.

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