Cabinet backs European anti-terror co-operation
15 March 2004
AMSTERDAM — The Dutch Cabinet has demanded that European security services intensify co-operation to prevent terror attacks and Interior Minister Johan Remkes has backed calls for the creation of a joint European Intelligence and Security Service.
In reaction to the Madrid bombings that killed 200 people last week, Minister Remkes said he did not rule out the possibility of a joint European security service, as proposed by Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt.
Remkes was to meet with European Union Justice Commissioner Antonio Vitorino later on Monday to discus the proposal, Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant reported.
The Dutch Parliament has also reacted positively to Verhofstadt’s proposal, with coalition government Liberal VVD MP Geert Wilders claiming that the existing co-operation between national security services is “medieval”.
As the VVD’s coalition partner Christian Democrat CDA and main opposition party PvdA backed the call for a joint European security service, Wilders also said it was scandalous that national services rarely mounted joint actions against external threats.
Verhofstadt hopes to use the horror of the Madrid bombings to intensify the fight against terror. He said the European arrest warrant was only set up after the September 11 attacks in the US and that Europe often needs a shock to implement change.
He proposed the creation of a European bureau where national security service officials can exchange information and draw up security analyses. The bureau would be the first step towards the creation of a European Intelligence and Security Service.
The Belgian leader urged his European colleagues to discuss the matter during an EU summit in Brussels at the end of next week.
But Germany also called for an urgent meeting of European Union interior ministers following the Spain bombings as did French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, Radio Netherlands reported.
Subsequently, EU interior ministers are almost certain to meet at the end of this week in Brussels, European Union president Ireland said.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news