France backs EU anti-terrorism supremo

18th March 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 18 (AFP) - French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin on Thursday backed a European Union proposal to appoint an anti-terrorism expert who would coordinate EU security measures in the wake of the Madrid attacks.

PARIS, March 18 (AFP) - French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin on Thursday backed a European Union proposal to appoint an anti-terrorism expert who would coordinate EU security measures in the wake of the Madrid attacks.

"I think it's a good idea," de Villepin told Radio France Internationale when asked about the idea of appointing a "Mr Terrorism" for the bloc, who would report to EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

"It's very important for us to... try to better coordinate our actions as Europeans -- that we have an official, a coordinator, as Javier Solana has proposed," the French minister added.

"I think we have to coordinate our efforts on the technical level, which would allow us to better assess the realities on the ground, to fight terrorism more effectively," de Villepin said.

EU officials have said the proposed "Mr Terrorism" would be a coordinator -- an expert who knows the subject well -- rather than a politician. The officials rejected any comparison with Tom Ridge, the US Homeland Security director.

The proposal will be one of many on the agenda for an emergency meeting of EU interior ministers in Brussels on Friday, who will try to determine how to respond to the devastating Madrid bomb blasts, which left 201 people dead.

© AFP

                                                              Subject: France news

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