April 20, 2016 / 11:47 AM / 2 years ago

EU urges members to accelerate security cooperation after attacks

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union on Wednesday urged speedier adoption of measures to toughen security and counter-terrorism coordination among member states after the Islamic State attacks in Brussels and Paris.

A Belgian special forces police officer and soldiers secure the zone outside a courthouse, while Brussels attacks suspects Mohamed Abrini and Osama Krayem appear before a judge, in Brussels, Belgium, April 14, 2016. REUTERS/Yves Herman

A plan for greater cooperation among the 28-nation bloc, proposed by the European Commission a year ago, still needs change from member states and their law enforcement authorities to close intelligence gaps and operational holes, the EU executive said.

“The EU can and must provide the right framework and tools for this, but what will make the difference is how member states use them,” European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said in a statement.

The issue will be on the agenda at a meeting of EU justice and interior ministers on Thursday.

The European Agenda on Security calls for member states to share information on threats posed by foreign fighters, run de-radicalization programs and crackdown on trafficking of firearms.

The measures would also include widening the scope of what counts as a terrorism-related crime, such as traveling or receiving training for terrorist purposes.

Dozens of people have been arrested across Europe, as European authorities swoop on Islamic State militants they link both to the Brussels bombings that killed 32 people and to the attacks in Paris last November that killed 130.

Reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel; editing by Philip Blenkinsop

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