PARIS (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama will invite allies to a Feb. 18 security summit in Washington to try and prevent violent extremism, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Sunday after meeting his European counterparts in Paris.
The gathering of justice and interior chiefs came as France mourned 17 victims of Islamist gunmen this week in the worst assault on its homeland security in decades.
“We will bring together all of our allies to discuss ways in which we can counteract this violent extremism that exists around the world,” Holder told reporters.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said after the meeting that European interior ministers had agreed to boost cooperation in an effort to thwart further jihadist attacks.
“We all agree that we need to put in place better control on certain passengers, on the basis of objective criteria and with respect for fundamental liberties and without disrupting cross-border travel,” he said.
He said Europe needed urgent progress in establishing a European Passenger Name Record database, which would facilitate the exchange of data about passengers between member states.
“We are convinced of the need for such a tool, to follow those who travel to terrorist operating theaters or who return from there,” he said, adding that this database would also be useful in the fight against other serious crimes.
Cazeneuve said the Internet needs to remain a space for free expression, but that Europe should fight against abusive use of the web to spread hate speech, anti-Semitic messages and the recruiting vulnerable young people for violence.
“We need to work more closely with Internet companies to guarantee the reporting and if possible removal of all content that amounts to an apology of terrorism or calls for violence and hatred,” he said.
Cazeneuve said EU interior and justice ministers planned to meet soon to discuss further action. A European source said the meeting could take place next week in Brussels.
Reporting by Julien Ponthus, Yves Clarisse and Geert De Clercq; writing by Geert De Clercq; editing by Mark John and Anna Willard