German Interior Minister Otto Schily opened the European Police Congress in Bonn on Monday with a speech that demanded more cooperation and resilience from all sides collaborating in the fight against terrorism.
Schily wants cooperation, cooperation and cooperation.
Speaking at the European Police Congress in Bonn on Monday, German Interior Minister Otto Schily demanded more collaboration between European states and their security forces in the fight against international terrorism, calling specifically for an improvement in the flow of information and more concerted efforts in border control.
Schily referred to the proposed European database plan where information on terror suspects and their networks could be shared. The German interior ministry and the Federal Office of Criminal Investigation (BKA) currently have 182 preliminary proceedings and investigations under way against suspects with Islamist links within Europe. Schily used the point to underline the task at hand and how mutual access to data banks could spread such knowledge between forces. "We must improve communication as a whole," he said.
In his opening speech to the 600 delegates, Schily criticized EU efforts for being too long-winded and laborious and added that the EU's action plan in fighting international terrorism must be extended. He encouraged those present to join together to push for improvements in the decision making processes and in the execution of initiatives.
No U.S.-style warning system for Germany
U.S. terror warnings have regularly been increased from yellow to orange.
However, Schily made it clear that his own country would not follow the United States and set up a terror warning system in line with steps introduced by the U.S. Department for Homeland Security. "We must be very aware that we do nothing to panic people while maintaining the utmost vigilance," Schily said.
Cities in the United States have a color coded warning system which moves towards red as the perceived terror threat increases. Critics of the security warning codes have claimed that perpetual states of "hot orange" have not helped the public remain vigilant but in fact have made many weary through panic and increased anxiety.
German collaboration also lacking
The BKA has been more involved in anti-terror activities in recent months.
On a domestic note, Schily turned his attentions to the German security services which he claimed represented a microcosm of the overall European problem of lack of cooperation. Schily called for a stronger collaboration between all German security services after the Alliance of German Detectives recently criticized the anti-terror-law package put forward by the interior ministry.
The Alliance has come out in opposition to parts of the package which it feels are built on very shaky legal grounds. Although there are often unsubstantiated links between religious extremists and terrorist acts, a law within the ministry's anti-terror package permits German authorities to ban any extremist group if it can be proven that it spreads anti-Semitic propaganda or advocates violence as a means for change and such activities are deemed a threat to national security.
Schily explained that collaboration between the BKA, the police, the Foreign and interior ministries and the Department of Justice as well as the Office of the Federal Chancellor must be improved "in such a way, that we can come to the same answer and strategic analysis so we can carry out precisely what is needed at the earliest opportunity."
CSU minister calls for more extradition
Bavarian Minister of the Interior Günther Beckstein (photo) voiced his wish for a strengthening of the anti-terror laws. The Christian Social Union (CSU) minister told the congress: "We need first to improve the centralization of data and the identification of certain people, especially from the near- and Middle East, and secondly, to ensure that those dangerous ones which are among us are expelled before they can make something concrete."
Schily also spoke of the "threat from within," referring to the continued search in Germany of suspected terrorists and organizations charged with inciting violence. One means of preventing an idea escalating to violent action is to ban radical organizations such as Cologne's "Caliphate State" run by the Turkish Islamist leader Metin Kaplan.
The return of the Caliph of Cologne?
Muhammed Metin Kaplan, also known as Caliph of Cologne.
Schily's reference to the self-appointed "Caliph of Cologne," the man already charged with calling for the murder of a rival, comes as evidence of a possible revival in Kaplan's activities has surfaced: Propaganda materials similar to those found in a raid of his headquarters in December are once again circulating.