20th Jan 2022

Big five meet to discuss security issues

Home affairs ministers from the big five EU countries - the UK, France, Spain, Italy and Germany - are meeting today near Sheffield in Northern England to discuss anti-terror measures.

This is the fifth time the ministers from the most powerful EU states will be meeting to discuss the fight against terrorism.

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On the agenda is improving information sharing, stopping terrorists' access to funds, policing, border control and technical measures in the fight against terror, such as the use of biometric indicators in passports.

The so-called "G5" group will hope to push forward in these areas since progress has been scant since the Madrid bombings.

A declaration on combating terrorism was made by EU states in the wake of the attacks, which set out an implementation deadline of June for a raft of anti-terrorism measures.

Although progress has been made in certain areas, countries are lagging behind on others - notably the European Arrest Warrant, aimed at quickening extradition between EU states.

The legislation for the warrant, which was supposed to have been put into force in the old EU 15 on January this year, is still not in place in Italy and the Czech Republic while in Germany and Slovakia it is expected to enter into force in August.

French home minister Dominique de Villepin - who will also hold bilateral talks with his British counterpart David Blunkett during the meeting - stressed the need for "stronger coordination and an increased cooperation" on securing the EU's expanded borders, according to French agency AFP.

This has become "all the more important" after enlargement, according to Mr de Villepin.

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