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US, EU agree on increased cooperation against terrorism

US Attorney General Eric Holder
US Attorney General Eric Holder
WASHINGTON, Nov 19 (KUNA) -- US Attorney General Eric Holder and Acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Rand Beers held here Monday a meeting with European counterparts on combating terrorism and cyber security and the two sides agreed to enhance cooperation in these sectors.
In a joint statement, the US and EU officials affirmed their meeting was "constructive and productive," and that they discussed "a broad array of issues critical to the European Union and the United States." Among the issues discussed were "coordinating work on counter-terrorism and security issues; countering violent extremism," in addition to "joint efforts in the areas of cybercrime and cyber security," it said.
"Of special note, we discussed the threat posed by foreign fighters going to third countries, in particular Syria, and the possible response to address it," the joint statement affirmed, saying "we intend to promote close information sharing between our respective agencies, as well as coordinated initiatives in third countries." "We also discussed efforts of the US and the EU in countering violent extremism, and agreed to intensify our cooperation," the official US-EU statement declared, also indicating that the meeting tackled "data protection and issues related to alleged activities of US intelligence agencies." "We together recognize that this has led to regrettable tensions in the transatlantic relationship, which we seek to lessen. In order to protect all our citizens, it is of the utmost importance to address these issues by restoring trust and reinforcing our cooperation on justice and home affairs issues," the statement affirmed.
The statement also noted that "since 9/11 and subsequent terrorist attacks in Europe, the EU and US have stepped up cooperation, including in the areas of police and criminal justice," affirming that "sharing relevant information, including personal data, while ensuring a high level of protection, is an essential element of this cooperation, and it must continue." "We are therefore, as a matter of urgency, committed to advancing rapidly in the negotiations for a meaningful and comprehensive data protection umbrella agreement in the field of law enforcement," the statement said.
The agreement would act as "a basis to facilitate transfers of data in the context of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, by ensuring a high level of personal data protection for US and EU citizens," with the "aim to complete the negotiations on the agreement ahead of summer 2014." "The EU welcomes that the US is considering adopting additional safeguards in the intelligence context that also would benefit EU citizens," the statement added. (end) si.rk KUNA 190918 Nov 13NNNN