EU to work closer on anti-terrorism measures

6th June 2008, Comments 0 comments

The European Union governments will work closer to protect sensitive targets from terrorists and share criminals’ information and DNA profiles.

6 June 2008

LUXEMBOURG - European Union governments agreed Thursday to work closer together to protect sensitive targets from a possible terrorist attack.

In Luxembourg, EU interior ministers also approved a series of technical measures designed to make it easier to share information about criminals, including their DNA profiles.

The need to identify and protect critical infrastructures was recognised by EU governments following the Madrid train bombings of March 2004 that killed nearly 200 people.

Since then, the European Commission has asked member states to list and protect sensitive targets, such as gas pipes or bridges, in the knowledge that an attack on one member state could easily affect another.

The commission defines critical European infrastructures as those "which are essential for the maintenance of vital societal functions" and whose destruction would have "a significant impact on at least two EU member states."

But after resistance from some member states, the commission backtracked from its initial plans to create what one diplomat described as a European-wide "bomb here" list.

Instead, the list of potential targets would only be shared among the affected member states. One obvious example is the Channel Tunnel linking Britain and France.

Interior ministers also took a step closer to implementing the so- called "Prum Decision", agreed by EU governments in 2007 and designed to improve cooperation in combating terrorism and cross-border crime.

Thursday's technical discussion spelled out the conditions and procedures for the automated transfer of DNA profiles and vehicle registration data, as well as the conditions for sharing information on law-and-order issue affecting major cross-border events, such as this month's Euro2008 football championship in Austria and Switzerland.

Ministers were also due to hear the latest report by the EU's counter-terrorism coordinator, Gilles de Kerchove.

De Kerchove was expected to tell governments that they should focus on implementing existing anti-terrorism measures rather than discuss new legislation.

[dpa / Expatica]

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