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Europe

EU to Send Police Abroad to Tourist Hotspots

European Union interior ministers meeting in Cannes, France have announced that police in member states can deploy units to places frequented by tourists across the EU to handle problems and complaints.

Police from different EU countries

The new plan is part of a larger effort to increase cross-border policing programs

The EU-wide plan would see national police officers stationed for several months -- for example, during the summer holiday period -- at locations that citizens from that country often visit.

Robert Maroni, Italian interior minister, said that Franco-Italian stations would be set up as early as August in French cities most popular with Italians: Paris, Versailles and Nice.

The stations would allow citizens from an EU country "to have access to police from their home and who speak their language," said Michele Alliot-Marie, France's interior minister, who is chairing the security talks in Cannes.

Besides being set up in the summer months, national police could also be deployed abroad for large-scale sporting events, such as the recent Euro 2008 soccer tournament.

The plan is part of wider EU efforts to better coordinate cross-border policing and integrate EU justice systems into a tighter network. Other plans include sending officers abroad for extra training and arranging job exchanges to promote cooperation and mutual trust.

Some EU countries already have an exchange program in place. Germany, for example, has sent its police for years to the Dutch coast where many Germans spend their summer vacations.

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