Interior ministers meet to discuss joint security

4th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 4 (AFP) - The interior ministers from four of the European Union's biggest states -- Britain, France, Italy and Spain -- are to meet in the French town of Evian on Lake Geneva Monday and Tuesday to discuss joint security matters.

PARIS, July 4 (AFP) - The interior ministers from four of the European Union's biggest states -- Britain, France, Italy and Spain -- are to meet in the French town of Evian on Lake Geneva Monday and Tuesday to discuss joint security matters.

German Interior Minister Otto Schily, who was also scheduled to attend, pulled out at the last minute and would be represented by a lower official, his office said.

Schily's spokesman said the minister was required at an executive meeting of German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democratic Party, which is preparing for early elections in September.

The interior ministers from the five EU nations hold regular meetings every few months to talk over issues they want to tackle together. Although their decisions are not binding on other EU members, they are influential in determining immigration and security policies for the entire bloc.

British Home Secretary Charles Clarke said last week he was looking forward to seeing French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who is chairing the Evian meeting, but warned: "We should not be -- and this is a very important point -- a lobby group to the EU."

French officials said the meeting would raise the possibility of creating a joint maritime intelligence unit to fight against drug smugglers, as well as the previously raised points of combatting terrorism, illegal immigration and organised crime.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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