Dutchman to plan EU anti-terror fight

25th March 2004, Comments 0 comments

26 March 2004 , AMSTERDAM — Former Dutch state secretary Gijs de Vries was appointed in Brussels on Thursday night as the new European counter-terrorism co-ordinator.

26 March 2004

AMSTERDAM — Former Dutch state secretary Gijs de Vries was appointed in Brussels on Thursday night as the new European counter-terrorism co-ordinator.

Gijs de Vries

De Vries will be required to publish a report in June outlining definite steps the EU can take to improve its fight against terrorism. He will also be in charge of co-ordinating counter-terrorism measures across the EU.

The 48-year-old will come under the direct authority of EU foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, who nominated him for the job. EU leaders unanimously approved the nomination during a summit in Brussels on Thursday night.

EU leaders also agreed to implement previous counter-terrorism measures, such as a pan-European arrest warrant, harmonising penalties for terrorist crimes and freezing of assets held by blacklisted groups.

They agreed new measures such as retaining all telecommunications data to enable security services to track calls and stepping up security at EU ports.

De Vries was widely tipped to win the job and a spokesman for his Liberal VVD party indicated ahead of the official announcement that he would get the nod. Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt had also said that De Vries was the most obvious candidate.

De Vries served as a junior minister, or state secretary, at the Dutch Interior Ministry during the second coalition government of former Prime Minister Wim Kok (1998-2002). The anti-terrorism expert was also a member of the European Parliament from 1984 to 1998.

The anti-terrorism position was created after the 11 March Madrid bombings. Appointed to co-ordinate the EU fight against terrorism, De Vries will thus be at the centre of policy development and information sharing in Brussels.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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