The threat of terrorism continues to affect many countries including the EU member states. Cyprus, as an EU member state, due to its proximity with Syria and Iraq, the operations performed by the Sovereign Base Areas and the lack of effective control in the occupied areas, takes measures for the protection of both people and critical infrastructure, which are possible targets.
Towards this end, the competent authorities assess continuously all threats deriving from the above factors and assess the risk level in an effort to take all necessary measures to address the terrorist threat.
The National Strategy for the fight against terrorism, which was approved by the Council of Ministers in October 2014, sets priorities in the fields of the prevention of radicalization, the protection of potential targets and critical infrastructure, the effective prosecution of offenders and the response to a possible terrorist incident.
The National strategy acknowledges the importance of intergovernmental cooperation in all areas. Therefore, the training of front line professionals, such as the Social Welfare Services, the Prisons Department, the Ministry of Culture, Education, Sports and Youth and the National Guard, on the matters concerning terrorism and identification of vulnerable persons, is being promoted. Furthermore, with a view to raise social awareness on radicalization and terrorism, awareness campaigns have been held for participants coming from the tourist industry, private security guards and public transport agencies.
Within the framework of the Strategy, measures for the prevention of a terrorist incident in the Republic and the effective protection of possible targets are continuously taken:
· Increase of checks in airports, ports and crossing through the upgrade of existing technological equipment.
· Preparation of a bill for the installation and deployment of the Schengen Information System II for the access and exchange of information
· Incorporation of the EU Directive for the exchange of passenger data (PNR) in the national legislation
· Preparation of a bill to amend the Additional Protocol in the Convention against crime on the internet, regarding the criminalization of Acts of Racist and Xenophobic Nature committed through computer systems
· Preparation of a bill to amend the Firearms and Non-Firearms Law regarding the acquisition and possession of weapons in order to enhance the traceability taking into account the permanent and unique connection with the owner
· Adoption of the Anti-Terrorism and Victims Protection Law of 2019 for the fight against terrorism in the national law
· Set up of a Steering Committee for the management of Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive materials (CBRN-E) so as to monitor the European Commission Action Plan for CBRN-E.