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Europe

EU Anti-terror Czar's Job is Restricted

The EU's anti-terror czar Gijs de Vries said that his role in combating terrorism is a restricted one as the responsibility lies primarily in the hands of the member states.

"My personal responsibilities are restricted," the EU's anti-terror czar Gijs de Vries told members of the European Parliament on Tuesday morning. "The EU has limited responsibility on terrorism. Combating terrorism is primarily a national responsibility and subject to national parliaments' scrutiny," the Dutchman added. The creation of the post of an anti-terrorism coordinator after the bombings in Madrid on March 11, has raised questions about what powers this new figure will have. MEPs quizzed de Vries about how he will be able to persuade the intelligence agencies of the 25 current and future EU states to cooperate and share more information. Belgian Christian Democrat MEP Gérard Deprez suggested that the position "will be more of a scapegoat than a crowned king" as he will be the one blamed if there is another terrorist attack. However, de Vries, who is a former MEP himself, stressed that the "Union will not replace the member states in the fight against terrorism," and that there is a legal framework within which he will have to work. "The member states have the police, the member states have the security services and they have their national measures," he told the EUobserver. Both de Vries and the EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana will work on proposals, to be presented in June, to improve co-operation between intelligence services. (EUobserver.com)

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