Belgium and Germany to share terror intelligence
23 March 2004
BRUSSELS – The Belgian Interior Minister Patrick Dewael has confirmed that Belgium has agreed to share sensitive intelligence information with Germany to help the two countries tackle the threat of terrorism.
The three Benelux countries – Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg – already have such an intelligence deal. But on Monday evening Dewael confirmed that the arrangement would be extended to Germany.
Under the new arrangement the Benelux countries and Germany will share information such as fingerprints and DNA samples collected by their respective police forces.
Analysts say the move represents a significant step in efforts to create a European anti-terrorism strategy, rather than an approach based on differing national policies.
Belgium has been at the forefront of calls for a more co-ordinated EU response to the threat of terrorism. In the wake of the Madrid train bombings, which left 201 people dead, Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt called for the creation of an EU wide intelligence agency, similar to the CIA in the United States.
But at a meeting in Brussels last week EU interior ministers rejected Verhofstadt’s plan, agreeing instead to appoint an EU terrorism ‘czar’ to co-ordinate anti-terror work carried out by different EU countries.
EU leaders will gather for talks in Brussels on Thursday, with the terror threat at the top of their agenda.
Meanwhile a Brussels judge has confirmed that a suspected Islamic militant arrested in a series of raids last Friday could be extradited to Morocco.
The Moroccan authorities want to question the man on suspicion of supporting a terrorist group and on Monday a representative from the Belgian state prosecution service said Rabat’s extradition request could theoretically be granted.
However, the official added that the Belgian and Moroccan authorities would have to discuss the request in more detail before any final decision could be made.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Belgian news