Gerold Otten: In the aftermath of bringing down some states, or unstable states in Eastern Europe, for example, in Ukraine or in the Balkans, it is easier to get access to these weapons and they flood into the European weapons black market.
Sputnik: Which countries are these weapons smuggled from? And which European countries face the biggest risk?
Sputnik: What's the current stance now from Germany and specifically from your party on how this can be addressed?
Gerold Otten: I think you can't accept this if you take security seriously. There's one point that I've just mentioned: how easy it is to get arms into the European area, the second point is that you need somebody to use this gun or the rifle. In Germany you can get access into the country, can cross the border just by saying: here I am, I'm a refugee, and nobody takes care of your ID, you can say I lost my passport, and then you're in Europe, then you're in Germany, then you are in Schengen, and you can get access to these weapons.
So we think what you need is close control of who is entering your country, and this is one of our strong requests as a party to the German government, to impose strict border control, and that has been refused over the last 2-3 years from the government, from Merkel, and we need strict outside control of Schengen, or if this doesn't work we need to rethink if Schengen is workable, and we need to go back to individual national border controls.
Sputnik: Now London has reported unusually higher crime rates this year, they're going through a phenomenal increase in stabbings, is this indicative of the wider crime problem Western Europe is experiencing, facing now?
Gerold Otten: For example, in Germany the stabbing attacks have increased by more than 300% in one year. You read daily in the newspaper about somebody getting killed or attacked with a knife. A knife is easy to conceal, a knife is easy to get access to, and it seems to me that this is kind of a new strategy for Islamic terror groups, either to use a car to run over people, or use a knife. One attacker can easily kill 10-15 people, and if someone's trying to attack someone with a knife you stand a really slim chance of surviving this attack with a knife.
A knife is a very dangerous weapon, most people don't think of it. This is organized crime, of course, from Eastern, South-Eastern groups as they are basically identified, you have to be very strict with them in the measures you take against them. We have had an increase here in shootings, we saw the shootings in Slovakia with the AK-47 type weapon, so there is definitely an arms race among the criminal groups, not only terrorist groups get access to military firearms, also organized crime groups get access to these weapons and they do gang fights, so they shoot out in different countries where AK-47s were used.
Gerold Otten: We see it as completely wrong to do everything on the European level, we see this as a national task. In my opinion national security is the responsibility of the government, and we don't have a European Union which is acting like a unified state like Russia, or like the United States of America, we are still 26 national governments, and people expect from their national governments to get some security and they take measurements to counter organized crime, to counter terrorism. I see not in the forseeable future, a Europe that will have a national European police organization or a European military which could secure our own borders.
The views and opinions expressed by Gerold Otten are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.