An EU Commission proposal for a standard European travel document to speed up the return of non-EU nationals staying irregularly in EU member states without valid passports or identity cards has been approved by the European Parliament. Third countries are reluctant to accept the return documents provided by member states today, for reasons that include inadequate security details and varying formats.

The new regulation provides for a common format for the European travel document, updating a non-binding Council recommendation in 1994. To combat counterfeiting and falsification, the harmonized return forms will use the same security details, such as watermarks, as were laid down in 2002 for entry visas issued by EU countries to residents without valid travel papers.

Meanwhile, the European Parliament has met to discuss this year’s terrorist attacks in Europe, and measures to prevent reoccurrence. EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove has announced his plans to cooperate with newly-appointed Security Commissioner Sir Julian King, improve information exchange and prevention strategies, and discussed the possibility of training Imams in Europe.

The meeting also discussed how smaller towns could counter the risk of an attack and individual EU member states’ progress in implementing the EU Passenger Name Record (PNR) directive, which was approved in April.