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Home NATIONALBorder security essential to curb terrorism: Räsänen
Sat, 25 Jan, 2014 04:31:33 AM
FTimes Report, January 25
File picture of the Interior Minister, Päivi Räsänen. Photo – Lehtikuva.
The Interior Minister Päivi Räsänen on Friday said that the authorities’ cooperation and border security were essential in preventing terrorism.
“In Finland, the most important means in the fight against terrorism include our effective cooperation between various authorities and our national entry/exit system," she told an informal meeting of the EU Justice and Home Affairs Ministers in Athens.
Räsänen also emphasised that the system should cover the entire European Union.
Topics on the Home Affairs Ministers' agenda included discussion on further development of the justice and home affairs area after the year 2014 along with terrorism and border security questions.
The latter discussion focused on how border security can help prevent terrorism and the movements of terrorist and extremists.
The Greek Presidency also raised the question of whether foreign fighters can be prevented from transiting into conflict zones.
In Finland's view, border security plays a key part in preventing terrorist activity in the EU area and in supervising the movement of extremist elements across the external borders.
According to Räsänen, cooperation with third countries is of paramount importance. Effort should be made to encourage countries of origin and transit to commit themselves to cooperation, to the fight against terrorism, and to the supervision of extremist movements in their own area.
She also said that authorities should cooperate with each other and that efficient use should be made of the EU's Integrated Border Management System. Steps should be taken to improve the use of the system at EU level in an effort to ensure a consistent security and service level.
The security authorities currently do not have any legislative means to address the travelling of foreign fighters, according to Räsänen. 
“The Finnish Ministry of Justice is preparing a legislative amendment to criminalise participation in terrorist training. If adopted, it will help in efforts to prevent people with terrorist intentions from travelling.”
Räsänen also drew attention to Finland's National Action Plan for Preventing Violent Extremism, aiming at establishing concrete measures to identify the early signs of violent extremism, and to address these.
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