EU adopts anti-terror package
BRUSSELS: European Union leaders adopted on Thursday a draft of security measures in the wake of the Madrid train blasts, including the appointment of a new anti-terrorism coordinator.
“We the European Union must be sure that everything that can be done to protect our citizens from the scourge of terrorism is done,” Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, who was chairing the EU summit, told reporters.
Prime Minister Ahern said they had agreed to appoint former Dutch deputy interior minister Gijs de Vries to the new job, known by some as a “terrorism tsar”.
The EU leaders, adopting proposals from emergency interior ministers’ talks in the wake of the March 11 attacks, also agreed to boost intelligence-sharing, cut funding to extremists and adopt an all-for-one solidarity clause.
But proposals for a European-style CIA (Central Investigation Agency) failed to win support from countries like Britain and France, which jealously guard their secret intelligence. Some EU members are also under pressure to implement measures already agreed after the September 2001 attacks in the United States, such as a European arrest warrant.
“We have first and foremost to implement the legislation introduced after the events of September 11, 2001,” said European Commission chief Romano Prodi, adding: “Too many are awaiting ratification in member states.”
Mr Ahern added: “Terrorism is not confined within national borders. We need to improve our international cooperation. The threat of terrorism is a threat to our security and our democracies and our way of life in the European Union. “We’re not reinventing the wheel tonight. Nonetheless after Madrid there is a need for review to give a political impulse to our work. The people of Europe expect no less,” the Irish leader said. —AFP