Washington-Two senior U.S. officials have welcomed the progress made by Europe in the cooperation in the fight against terrorism, but cautioned that further progress was needed.
European countries “are improving in the sharing of information when it comes to anti-terror efforts, they are on the right path,” Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told a U.S. Senate panel.
“They are not where we need to be but we are working to make sure they are.”
Justin Siberell of the State Department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism said recent attacks in Paris and Brussels highlighted the need for heightened transatlantic collaboration.
“There is political will now within Europe for improving their systems, improving their watching lists,” Siberell told lawmakers.
The spate of attacks in Europe left U.S. officials and lawmakers concerned with the pitfalls of Europe’s counterterrorism systems.
Those weaknesses are seen as a direct threat to U.S. homeland security, as most Europeans can enter American territory without a visa.
Washington was particularly pleased after Europe reached an agreement in April on the collection of air passenger data.
Mayorkas also praised initiatives taken to reinforce Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency.
Europeans have “really empowered and equipped Europol as a central repository off information and cooperation. It’s a really important issue in which we participate considerably,” Mayorkas said.
He added that the U.S. had actively offered technological advice to boost Europe’s forces.
Mayorkas plans to discuss counterterrorism cooperation when he travels to Europe next week for meetings with his European counterparts.