10:02 am - Wednesday November 4, 2015

EU Launches Anti-Terrorism Projects With Muslim Countries

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The European Union is launching new anti-terrorism projects with Muslim countries and increasing its intelligence sharing in the aftermath of deadly attacks in France and violent confrontations in Belgium.

EU foreign ministers met Monday in Brussels with the Arab League’s secretary general, Nabil Elaraby. Afterwards, EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said the EU will be sharing information on suspected terrorists and possible attacks with many countries throughout the Arab world, Africa and Asia.

“We took a decision within the Foreign Affairs Council to coordinate in a much more active way than it has been the case so far,” said Mogherini.

“First of all, with an input to share information, intelligence information, not only within the European Union, but also with other countries around us, starting from the Mediterranean and the Arab world, starting from Turkey, Egypt, [the] Gulf countries, North Africa, but also looking more to Africa and Asia at a certain time,” said Mogherini.

The ministers said they would avoid writing new legislation or a prolonged military presence on the streets of Europe.

Following the Paris attack, Belgian security services killed two suspected terrorists during a shoot-out following an investigation into an alleged plot. Similar raids have taken place in Germany and France, while a number of EU states have increased police presence on their streets.

Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders spoke to journalists Monday.

He said information needed to be exchanged inside and outside Europe in order to have proper tracking and to prevent various actions that could occur in Europe.

Following Monday’s meeting, ministers said they were looking at specific projects to launch with key countries, including Turkey, Egypt, Yemen, Algeria and the Gulf countries.

Terror expert Katherine Brown from King’s College London said EU ministers also needed to coordinate addressing the causes of radicalization and the policing of terror activity within Europe.

She said there were hurdles on both fronts. “Within each of the EU member states, the reasons for radicalizing is slightly different – the local community level drivers are quite different.”

And each European state, she said, used different instruments to tackle terrorism.

“Each of the countries have slightly different ways of doing counter-terrorism work generally. Whether it is the remit of the police, or the gendarmerie, or the Justice Ministry. So that creates a whole host of issues for the European Union in generating a coordinated response.”

She said coordination would be a slow process.

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