The European Commission has published a call for proposals aimed at strengthening EU security through the protection of public spaces, including the protection of Jewish places of worship. The call has a total budget of €30 million, financed by the Internal Security Fund (ISF). Applications can be submitted between February 8 and April 4, 2024.

The call will fund projects aimed at improving the overall security of public spaces with a focus on six different priorities: places of worship of all faiths, Jewish places of worship, CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) threats, firearms trafficking, sniffer dogs explosives. As the Commission points out, in light of the alarming rise in anti-Semitic incidents across the EU, following the terrorist attack by Hamas in Israel on 7 October 2023, it has allocated €5 million of the total budget exclusively for projects to protect Jewish places of worship in accordance with the Commission's communication entitled "No place for hate: a Europe united against hate".

The Vice-President for the Promotion of our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas emphasized that "it is unacceptable that 78 years after the end of the Shoah, Jews in Europe should again live in fear and feel the need to hide their identity. Security is the basic right of all Europeans and a prerequisite for the flourishing of Jewish life. With this call, the EU will support national authorities in ensuring the safety of Jewish communities and all citizens."

The safety of everyone living in Europe is a priority for the Commission, it is underlined. The Commission has already taken concrete steps to strengthen the protection of public spaces and tackle radicalisation, also through the Radicalization Awareness Network and the EU Internet Forum. Europol's mandate has also been strengthened so that the organization can even better support Member States in ensuring security. The Commission finally adopted the regulation to prevent the spread of terrorist content online, ensuring that any terrorist content is removed within one hour at most.

SOURCE: RES 22.12.23