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EUROPOL counter terrorism boost after Brussels blasts

March 25, 2016 12:30 PM
By Peter Morris, European Movement

EU justice ministers on Thursday (24 March) agreed to set up a team of national counter-terrorism experts to strengthen Europol as a response to the attacks in Brussels that killed 31 and injured more than 300, EurActiv reports: http://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/eu-justice-ministers-step-up-intelligence-sharing-after-brussels-attacks/

As Brussels reels from an attack by Islamic State jihadists, analysts warn of a ripple effect that could further whip up populist sentiment on the continent and in the United States and push the British to vote to leave the EU, according to EurActiv. Analysts warn that at a time when unity is more crucial than ever, the attack could create divisions that will make it harder to tackle IS and the crises it has spawned: http://www.euractiv.com/section/uk-europe/news/from-trump-to-brexit-ripple-effects-of-brussels-attack/

According to Politico, the EU wants to speed up plans for increased checks at the Schengen area's external borders and to cut terror financing, but many of the most important decisions will not be finalized until June, according to a leaked draft statement from Thursday's informal meeting of justice and home affairs ministers: http://www.politico.eu/article/terrorism-council-draft-2016-brussels-it/

Ministers have recommitted to the sharing of passenger data. Opponents in the [European] Parliament, who have successfully stymied that action for years, are not ready to give in, reports Politico: https://dub111.mail.live.com/?tid=cm7zzj11Py5RG1vwAhWteyLA2&fid=flinbox

GERMAN EU COMMISSIONER SAYS ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: Günther Oettinger criticized Belgian security services yesterday for "not cooperating sufficiently" with one another. "We must clearly address the shortcomings of the Belgian security services," he told German newspaper Bild: https://dub111.mail.live.com/?tid=cm7zzj11Py5RG1vwAhWteyLA2&fid=flinbox

The attacks in Brussels should re-energise international efforts to end the conflict in Syria, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said after holding talks with Syria's chief negotiator in Geneva. She said the world would then be able to tackle the "existential threat" that the Islamic State (IS) group poses, EUobserver reports: https://euobserver.com/tickers/132802 1

MIGRATION - OXFAM JOINS UN IN PULLING OUT OF LESBOS, GREECE: Oxfam on Thursday suspended all of its operations in the Moria camp, on the Greek island of Lesbos, in response to the deteriorating treatment of migrants driven by the deal between the EU and Turkey that suspends some of their rights, reports Politico: https://dub111.mail.live.com/?tid=cm7zzj11Py5RG1vwAhWteyLA2&fid=flinbox

EU leaders will discuss the critical situation in Libya and potential waves of immigrants trying to reach Europe on 18 April, EurActiv Greece has been informed: http://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/eu-readies-for-massive-migration-flows-from-libya/ EurActiv also reports that French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said today (24 April) that some 800,000 migrants are in Libya hoping to cross to Europe: http://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/800000-migrants-in-libya-seeking-to-come-to-europe-french-minister/

Pressure is mounting on EU member states to change the rules that would allow imposing higher tariffs, after Fitch rating agency said that it could help to reduce the dumping of Chinese steel to Europe. EurActiv reports: http://www.euractiv.com/section/trade-society/news/rating-agency-says-ignoring-lesser-duty-rule-could-protect-european-steel-against-china/

With thanks to peter Morris, European Movement in North East