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Europe

Anti-Terror Czar Makes First Concrete Proposals

The EU's anti-terrorism co-ordinator has made his first concrete proposals to improve co-operation between EU member states in the fight against terrorism, Belgian press agency Belga reports.

In a confidential report sent to EU member states, Gijs de Vries states that it is "absolutely necessary" that there is better co-ordination between the many different EU committees and working groups that deal with combatting terrorism. The two most important working groups in the EU, the Terrorism Working Group, made up of member states' representatives, and the Working Party on Terrorism, consisting of Foreign Ministries representatives, work separately from each other, are not integrated in Brussels decision-making processes and only meet once a year. Furthermore, there are many EU committees which are involved only in some aspects of terrorism, while there is no committee dealing with the financing of terror. "The current structures are based on artificial pillar structures and in Brussels there is not even a body that co-ordinates the activities of the different committees," De Vries writes in his report. De Vries has made three alternative proposals to improve co-ordination. The first option is the launch of a new EU 'high-level group' on terrorism, while a second idea is to merge the Terrorism Working Group and the Working Party on Terrorism into one single body. A third possibility is the conservation of the current structure, whereby the member states' Permament Representatives in Brussels (COREPER) would co-ordinate the different committees in a more systematic way. Diplomatic sources say according to Belga that many member states favor the last option and do not want to create new bodies. But De Vries states in his report that COREPER does not have the time to engage in more work. A new organ would therefore be necessary. (EUobserver.com)

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