France, Belgium push intelligence sharing after Paris attacks

Manuel Valls [Global Panorama/Flickr]

France and Belgium want to improve intelligence sharing between the nine European nations most concerned with jihadist threats in the wake of the Paris attacks, a French government source said Monday evening (30 November).

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls and his Belgian counterpart Charles Michel agreed to “launch an initiative” when they met at the UN climate summit in Paris on Monday, a source in the French premier’s entourage said.

That would include harmonising and systemising how information on individuals deemed dangerous or radicalised is shared between countries in the 26-nation, passport-free Schengen zone, the source said.

>>Read: Brussels lockdown ends, but threat still ‘serious’

France and Belgium want to see the “prolonging and expanding, while better formalising, the multilateral exchange of information” between the countries, the source added.

News agency Belga reported France and Belgium could hold a meeting in the coming weeks, although the source said no date had been set.

Security fears have been heightened in Europe since 130 people were killed in Paris last month by jihadists, many of them with links to an impoverished neighbourhood of the Belgian capital.

>>Read: Brussels connection under spotlight after Paris killings

The attacks, claimed by the Islamic State group, have also called into question how to track and monitor people arriving from Syria during Europe’s worst migrant crisis since World War II.

The European Commission has proposed setting up a pan-EU intelligence agency, similar to the FBI in the United States, in the wake of the attacks.

The group of nine EU member states — France, Belgium, Italy, Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Ireland and Sweden — met in June 2014 after an attack on a Jewish museum in Brussels.

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