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Europe

Security Dominates Franco-German Talks

In the wake of the Madrid bombings, Germany's Gerhard Schröder and France's Jacques Chirac have vowed to increase anti-terror measures and pledged to stamp out the root causes - including poverty and underdevelopment.

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Chirac (left) and Schröder met in Paris on Tuesday.

Meeting at Paris' Elysée Palace just five days after the deadliest terrorist attacks on European soil in years, German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and French President Jacques Chirac pledged Tuesday to step up security measures without neglecting what causes terror, including inequality in Third World countries.

Chirac said his country was "not immune from terrorist attacks" and that citizens must remain vigilant and ready to work with partners in the international community "against terrorism in every form."

Bombenanschläge in Madrid Miniquiz März 2004

Debris lies next to a destroyed train car after a bomb, exploded in the Atocha railway station in Madrid.

The leaders called for increased cooperation between police and security agencies in France and Germany to defend against the threat of terrorism like Thursday's railroad attacks in Madrid that killed more than 200 and injured close to 1,500.

Eliminating the foundations of terror

In addition to increased vigilance at the national level and greater cooperation at the international level, Schröder and Chirac said the roots of terrorism, including poverty in developing nations, must also be fought.

"Terrorism cannot only be fought with arms and police," Schröder said. "We must also combat the roots of terrorism."

Conflicts that feed terrorism and the frustration of some peoples must be ended, Chirac said, pleading for a "dialogue of cultures." He also said he expected anti-terror measures to play an important role at a European Union summit planned for next week in Brussels.

Both Berlin and Paris have called for a unified European plan against terrorism. "In the face of the threat, respecting liberties and states based on law and order, Europe will protect its citizens," Chirac said. "This obligation will be at the heart of the work of the next European Council."

The first EU-level talks on terrorism are expected Friday at a special meeting in Brussels of interior ministers, who are expected to do preparatory work for a meeting of foreign ministers the following week.

Movement on constitution

EU Verfassung EU-Gipfel in Thessaloniki

Pictured is a draft copy of the European Constitution which was presented by Convention President Valery Giscard D'Estaing during the EU summit at the Porto Carras Resort in Greece, Friday June 20, 2003. EU leaders will discuss Friday a draft of a constitution that aims to streamline decision making and create a post of European president and foreign minister. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)

On a separate issue, the two leaders discussed the stalled negotiations over the draft of an EU constitution. Schröder said he viewed statements from Spanish prime-minister-elect Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero that his country would drop its objections over the double majority voting outlined in the draft constitution as a sign of hope that a deal is near. A shift in the Spanish position would leave Poland alone in its opposition of the current constitution text.

Chirac said negotiations would likely be completed by the end of the year, with Schröder suggesting a deal could be reached before the Irish EU presidency ends its term in June.

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  • Date 16.03.2004
  • Author DW Staff (dsl)
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  • Permalink http://p.dw.com/p/4nmq
  • Date 16.03.2004
  • Author DW Staff (dsl)
  • Print Print this page
  • Permalink http://p.dw.com/p/4nmq