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Italy FM proposes EU 'Patriot Act' after Vienna attack

By AFP - Nov 03,2020 - Last updated at Nov 03,2020

ROME — Italy's foreign minister on Tuesday said the European Union should consider a US-style Patriot Act to boost anti-terrorism efforts, in the wake of attacks in Vienna and Nice.

In a statement posted on social media, Luigi Di Maio said both the EU and Italy must raise their security levels, called for tighter controls on mosques in his country, and for action on illegal migration.

But he said it was also time "to start to think about something bigger and that concerns the whole of the EU — a Patriot Act on the American model, for example, because today we are all children of the same European people".

"The security of one state equals the security of all the others. I will also discuss this with my counterparts in the coming days," he said.

The Patriot Act was introduced in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, and gave law enforcement agencies sweeping counter-terrorism powers, including of surveillance.

Citing the Nice and Vienna attacks, Di Maio said: "It is clear that in the face of all of this, Europe and Italy itself cannot continue with just words."

Austria on Tuesday began three days of mourning after a gunman, said by authorities to be a supporter of the terror group Daesh, went on a rampage across Vienna, killing four people.

It came just days after three people were killed in a knife rampage in a church in the French city of Nice last Thursday, blamed on a “radical” Tunisian recently arrived in Europe.

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