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War, Peace and Development Europe D66 European Parliament

Europe steps up fight against terrorism

   Thu 30/08/2001


Major new proposals to combat terrorism will be voted on in the European Parliament in Strasbourg next week. The proposals call for Europe-wide cooperation and include plans for a common search and arrest warrant and the abolition of formal extradition procedures for terrorist offences. In addition to such incidents as this week's bomb at Madrid airport, crimes covered by the new legislation would include trafficking in human beings, crimes against children, trafficking in drugs and arms, and corruption and fraud.

The proposals , which will be votes by the EP call on the Council of Ministers to "act decisively". The EU has experienced an increase in terrorist activities in the past few years and there is hardly a European country which has not been affected directly or indirectly. There has been a profound change in the nature of terrorism in the EU and it has highlighted the inadequacy of traditional forms of judicial and police cooperation in combating terrorism. New forms of terrorism stem from the activities of networks operating at international level, based in several countries and exploiting legal loopholes because of the geographical limits of investigations.

Lousewies van der Laan, Liberal Democrat Member of the European Parliament, said terrorists represented a denial of democratic values and the most fundamental of human rights - the right to life - and, as such, must be condemned in all circumstances. New forms of terrorist activity are constantly appearing such as computer terrorism or environmental terrorism. Van der Laan feels the EU had been slow to respond to the terrorist threat and there was no coherent and legally binding set of coordinated measures to fight terrorism. "In view of the growing number of terrorist acts carried out with chemical, biological and toxic substances, member states should take additional security measures on a par with modern technological developments in order to ensure public safety," said Ms van der Laan. She said he was deeply concerned at a link between terrorism and arms and drug trafficking. The liberal initiative on terrorism is expected to be debated by MEPs on Tuesday, 4 September with a vote scheduled for the following day.