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EU brings passport seizure powers

The European Union has introduced new measures to help member nations seize the travel documents of people suspected of trying to join terrorist organisations outside the EU.

France and some EU partners are contemplating taking away the travel documents of people suspected of travelling to countries like Syria or Iraq to sign up as foreign fighters for terror groups.

The new measures and "technical upgrades" to the EU's vast Schengen Information System computer database could alert authorities stationed on Europe's external borders.

The European Commission said the measures mean "such documents must be seized and the person concerned will be detained".

The European Union also wants to step up efforts to combat "online terrorist propaganda" to prevent radicalisation.

EU home affairs commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said the bloc wants to "enhance existing co-operation with the internet industry and to strengthen the commitment of social media platforms to reduce illegal content online".

Speaking to reporters at a meeting of EU interior ministers in Riga, Mr Avramopoulos added that "Europe is more united than ever" after the recent terrorist attacks in Paris.

Latvian interior minister Rihards Kozlovskis said more work needed to be done to take down extremist content online, saying the internet "plays a significant role in radicalisation".

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