Considering the size of the Islamic State group's network in Europe, efforts to prevent terrorism have been relatively successful, Minister of the Interior Andres Anvelt (SDE) told daily Eesti Päevaleht in an interview.
On the subject of major events in Estonia this summer, such as the Youth Song and Dance Festival and the Estonian presidency of the Council of the EU, which begins in July and runs through the end of 2017, Anvelt said that covert methods that people perhaps associate with movies will be used to see to security at the Song Festival. The source of radicalization and the place where it is first revealed is social media, he added.
Asked by the paper if the attack in Manchester will mean a change in the policies and tasks that Estonia will have to pursue as president of the EU, Anvelt said no.
"No, definitely not, because counter-terrorist measures have been among the priorities of all sorts of European chairmanships and presidencies of late," said the minister. "One thing that is expected from Estonia is for us to move forward faster on items regarding electronic information exchange. One of the biggest things in this is the entry-exit system, or recording of all movements and automatic control via police databases, to be as effective as possible in catching people with criminal intentions on Europe's borders. This will be a major litmus test as the databases of individual EU member states are often built up quite differently. In many countries where they din't understand this, things are dragging on."
According to Anvelt, another thing indirectly connected with it is the depth dimension of the migration crisis. "As I see, Malta isn't getting very far on this with their presidency [of the EU] and this subject will definitely move on to our table," he said. "We consider the only way out in this to be for member states to reach an agreement, not solve this matter by the steamroller method.
"Considering the terrorist network of the Islamic State group and its size in Europe — looking at how many have gone to fight there from the U.K., Germany and France and have come back from there as well — it looks like there could be even more of these attacks as there are thousands of such people. But this monitoring and dealing with these people has been succesful," Anvelt told the paper.
Editor: Aili Vahtla