BRUSSELS, June 10 (KUNA) -- EU interior ministers turned down Friday the idea of creating a common European secret service to deal with counter-terrorism and security issues.
"There has been some call to create an EU secret service. But we felt and feel that will involve many years of legislation and would not be the most practical approach to work on the short term. Therefore one would need to create a way to share data the same way as if there were one agency," Dutch interior minister Ronald Plasterk, told a press conference after a meeting of EU interior ministers in Luxembourg this afternoon.
He announced that they took important steps with the counter-terrorism group that involves three aspects: one is that there is a platform of intelligence officers of all the 30 European participating countries to meet basically all of the time; secondly share information and thirdly make sure that the entire system works smoothly.
Plasterk, whose country holds the current EU Presidency, said there is a database created in which all participating countries put the information they have on foreign fighters.
"The database is real time and is available 24/7 so that way countries know that the information they have is shared by other countries and if they want to check something, they can do it in that database," he said.
The counter-terrorism group is an intelligence-sharing forum between thirty European states, which specifically focuses on counterterrorism intelligence.
On his part, EU Commissioner for home affairs, Dimitris Avramopoulos, told the joint press conference that after the terror attacks in Paris and Brussels intelligence sharing has improved among EU member states in a very considerable way.
"Member states have started trusting each other more, and Europol is playing a central role. I want to highlight that Europol has become an important player in supporting member states in their fight against terrorism. The result achieved on the ground together with the French and Belgian authorities clearly show this promise," he added.
Ard Van der Steur, Dutch Minister of Security and Justice, told the press conference that the ministers today managed to reach a general approach on a new legislation on firearms to achieve the right balance between improving the security of EU citizens and the internal market for firearms. (end)