EU anti-terror drive targets extremists, Internet, funding
BRITAIN: Europe's six largest states agreed moves to drive extremists
off the Internet and cut off potential illegal sources of funding as
part of a new anti-terrorist drive.
In a wide-ranging series of proposals, Britain, France, Germany,
Italy, Poland and Spain also agreed to share research into explosives,
particulary liquid explosives, and intensify the fight against human
At the same time, the European Union in Brussels launched a bloc-wide
anti-terror project aimed at curbing terrorist financing, probing the
causes of violent radicalisation and protecting key infrastructure from
Closer co-operation was the message from law and order ministers
emerging from the talks over the last two days at a neo-Gothic mansion
hotel in the heart of the west central England countryside.
The so-called G6 said close contact work between all 25 EU members
was needed to "pre-empt the next terrorist attacks by agreeing action to
identify developing threats and recommending appropriate responses".
Improved co-operation in monitoring and analysing Internet use by
radicals was also required, to make what British Home Secretary John
Reid called "a more hostile operating environment for terrorists".
"They use the Internet not only to plan their operations but also to
spread their propaganda," Reid said. On explosives, the countries agreed
to share current research, in particular the new and emerging threat
from liquid explosives.
Liquid explosives concealed in drinks bottles are believed by British
police to have been at the heart of an alleged plot to blow up
transatlantic passenger jets in August.
The alleged conspiracy was foiled, leading to dozens of arrests and
charges, but had it succeeded, police at the time said it would have
caused "mass murder on an unimaginable scale".
Reid said: "This is a developing area where the terrorists try to get
ahead of us and we try to get ahead of them."
He declined to go into detail on another key pledge - to improve the
detection of liquid explosives at airports, and research into them.
But any beefed-up screening at airports would have to be balanced
against causing passengers too much intrusion and inconvenience, he
At the same time as the EU's executive arm was announcing efforts to
tackle terrorist financing as part of a multi-million-euro (-dollar)
scheme, the G6 ministers vowed to clamp down on so-called "carousel
The scam involves criminal gangs skimming off sales value added tax
(VAT) payments by importing and exporting batches of mobiles telephones,
computer chips and other high-value merchandise across the EU bloc.
London, Friday, AFP