Paris attacks: EU interior ministers to hold crisis talks on Friday

European Union flags are set at half mast in front of the European Commission headquarters in Brussels. PHOTO: EPA

LUXEMBOURG (AFP) - European Union interior ministers will hold crisis talks in Brussels on Friday (Nov 20) to tackle security issues raised by the deadly Paris attacks, announced Luxembourg, which currently holds the EU presidency.

"Confronted with barbarism and terrorism, Europe stands united with France," said Luxembourg Internal Security Minister Etienne Schneider.

Islamic State group jihadists claimed a series of coordinated attacks by gunmen and suicide bombers in Paris on Friday that killed at least 129 people, leaving scenes of carnage at a concert hall, restaurants and the national stadium.

Mr Schneider, who is also Luxembourg's Deputy Prime Minister, said the decision to hold the "extraordinary" meeting of EU interior and justice ministers was taken with the French authorities, according to a statement from the rotating presidency of the 28-nation EU.

Later on Sunday (Nov 15), Mr Schneider met French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and European Home Affairs and Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos in Paris "to coordinate the immediate European action in response to the attacks and to prevent future attacks", the three said.

"European citizens expect a rapid, concrete and efficient response from the European Union," they added in a joint statement.

The meeting called for Friday is aimed at providing "a strong and united European response", they said.

It will discuss plans for a Passenger Name Record (PNR) system which involves collecting EU passenger data, a measure sought by the United States after years of controversy over how to protect personal information while fighting terrorism and serious crime.

It will also focus on the question of firearms security and the reinforcement of controls at external borders, the statement said.

"We underlined the urgent need to take rapid and operational decisions and to put them into practice in a short timespan," the three added.

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