Belgium urges EU intel sharing after Paris attacks

16th November 2015, Comments 0 comments

Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders called in an interview with AFP Monday for intelligence sharing in Europe to be strengthened in the wake of the Paris attacks.

At least 129 people were killed in Friday's gun and suicide attacks in the French capital, and Belgian intelligence services have come under growing scrutiny following revelations that several of the attackers lived in Belgium.

"We have to be able to trace these links wherever they are, whether it's in France or Belgium or elsewhere in Europe," Reynders said.

"Because we have to be able to look at where the perpetrators of these attacks in Paris came from and how to dismantle the existing networks."

French President Francois Hollande said the attacks were "planned in Syria, prepared and organised in Belgium and perpetrated on our soil with French complicity".

Reynders said he had been calling for more intelligence sharing in the EU and NATO "for several years".

"I hope that after all these attacks, these dramas, there will be a change of mentality," he said.

"Whether it's the control of our external borders, or the exchange of information including sensitive information between countries, this must be done more and more in Europe."

An emergency meeting of EU interior ministers this Friday, which was called at France's request, would be a good opportunity to make progress, he added.

"I hope there will be concrete measures, such as border control issues, but also for the exchange of data on passengers," he said, referring to a controversial EU plan to share name records for airline passengers.

Defending Belgium's record, he said it was "impossible to live in a zero-risk situation when you see what is happening around the world."

He said intelligence sharing would help shore up Europe's passport-free Schengen area and push forward slow-moving plans to share 160,000 refugees around Europe.

"We can work on the relocation of refugees around Europe, but we would have to above all check who is coming, and could they pose a danger or not," he said.

Belgian police on Monday charged two people who were arrested after the Paris attacks with involvement in terrorism.

A major police operation in the Molenbeek district of Brussels, a known militant hotbed, ended without finding wanted suspect Salah Abdeslam, who was born in Brussels.

Abdeslam's brother Brahim, who lived in Molenbeek, was one of the Paris attackers and blew himself up outside a cafe on Boulevard Voltaire.

© 2015 AFP

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