Proposal to merge Justice, Interior ministries

20th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

20 July 2004 , AMSTERDAM — Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner has proposed that the Justice and Interior ministries should be combined and he has called for the notion of national security to be replaced with a concept of European safety.

20 July 2004

AMSTERDAM — Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner has proposed that the Justice and Interior ministries should be combined and he has called for the notion of national security to be replaced with a concept of European safety.

The minister also said in an interview with newspaper NRC on Monday that the merger of the prosecution and police authorities is also a possibility, as is the concentration of divisions that are involved in the fight against terrorism and maintaining public safety.

He said the present system is "too decentralised" and that the Justice and Interior ministries are increasingly using stop-gap measures to combat, for example, environmental issues or animal rights activists.

The minister said increasingly far-reaching European co-operation opens up the necessity for a more centralised body for the police and prosecution department.

A spokesman for Donner said the proposals can be given a definite timeframe. As such, they could be discussed during the formation of new government cabinet, news agency ANP reported.

Donner said he worked very well with Interior Minister Johan Remkes, but added the Netherlands also needed to recognise that the police and justice officials are working increasingly in the same areas.

European Justice and Interior ministers met on Monday under the supervision of the Dutch European Union Presidency to discuss a more intensive co-operation in the fight against terrorism.

Donner indicated to the NRC that he was backing a new notion of European safety. He explained that if one European nation's security was threatened, it should then be treated as a threat to the safety of every other European Union member state. It means that a concept of national security should be replaced with one of European security.

But Donner rejected Belgium's proposal to establish an EU database of all convicted criminals and instead called for the exchange of national data.

Despite this, EU ministers agreed to set up a central European paedophile register, which will prevent known paedophiles from gaining access to jobs in educational establishments in all 25 EU countries.

The Belgian proposal stemmed from the case of Michael Fourniret, the Frenchman who has confessed to nine murders. Fourniret had lived in Belgium for many years without the authorities being made aware that he previously been convicted for rape in France.

Belgium's King Albert II later called the entire EU to fight such "horrible criminality", saying that "judicial co-operation between countries and a European criminal record system should become a reality".

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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