7th Dec 2019

EU leaders review progress following Madrid attacks

  • The Madrid attacks have put the fight against terrorism high on the EU agenda (Photo: EUobserver)

Three months after the terrorist attacks in Madrid, some EU states still need to implement anti-terror measures, which should have been implemented by June.

EU leaders meeting in Brussels reviewed progress made since the adoption of the declaration on combating terrorism a few days after this attack, which set out an implementation deadline of June for a raft of anti-terrorism measures.

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While Irish foreign minister Brian Cowen said that "significant progress" had been made in the past 12 weeks, an annex to a document presented to the EU leaders today, names and shames member states which have delayed implementation.

The EU anti-terror co-ordinator Gijs de Vries has repeatedly stressed the need for EU states to speed up the pace of implementation.

One of the measures where there is still delay is on the European Arrest Warrant, aimed at quickening extradition between EU states. The legislation, which was supposed to have been put into force in the old EU 15 on January this year, is still not in place in Greece, Italy, the Czech Republic, Estonia and Slovakia.

This document however also notes progress in other areas, such as on the reinforcement of operational co-operation between EU states.

The document also outlines measures that the EU will be pursuing in the following months to strengthen its fight against terrorism.

During the Dutch EU presidency, which takes over that of Ireland on 1 July, work will be furthered on seeking ways of co-operation with NATO and on strengthening all forms of transport.

The fight against terrorism is also expected to feature prominently at the EU-US summit between 25-26 of June.

During a meeting held Friday morning, EU leaders have also welcomed the report by the EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, presented last week to EU justice and interior ministers, on expanding the tasks of the EU situation centre, Sitcen, which currently only analyses threats outside the EU, to also look into threats inside the EU bloc.

Asked whether this is a first step towards an EU FBI, the anti-terrorism co-ordinator Gijs de Vries said:

"A new agency is not on the cards at this stage. The member states agree that it would take too much time", he said, speaking to journalists.

"We need to act quickly...we do not have time", he added.

Mr Solana was asked to implement the proposed arrangements "as soon as possible" and was asked to report on progress made at the EU leaders’ meeting in December this year.

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