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EU Should Create Joint Intelligence Agency, Official Says

Fri, 20th Nov 2015 09:31

BRUSSELS (Alliance News) - The EU should press ahead with the creation of a common intelligence agency, one of the bloc's top officials said Friday, as justice and interior ministers met to draw lessons from the attacks in Paris last week.

On November 13, at least 129 people were killed and 352 injured in a series of strikes across the French capital by assailants armed with Kalashnikovs and explosive vests. The Islamic State extremist group has claimed responsibility.

"I believe this is the moment to make one more step forward and put [down] the basis of the creation of a European intelligence agency. We have to base our cooperation on trust and efficiency," EU Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said in Brussels.

But German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizere was dismissive of the suggestion.

"We should not concentrate our efforts now on creating a new European intelligence agency. I cannot imagine that we will be ready to give up our national competences on that," he said, adding that it would make more sense to share information with EU partners.

Internal security is predominantly a national issue and member states have traditionally been hesitant to share confidential data relating to suspects or investigations.

The main measures being considered at Friday's talks are tighter controls on the EU's external borders, a crackdown on the availability of firearms, and long-disputed efforts to set up an EU-wide system to collect air passenger data.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said action was needed.

"On these issues we cannot lose more time. There is an urgency. The time for decisions has come," Cazeneuve said ahead of the meeting with his 27 EU counterparts. EU justice ministers have also been invited to the emergency talks.

Copyright dpa

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