EU anti-terror chief to step down in March

The EU’s first anti-terrorism coordinator, Gijs de Vries, is to resign in March after three years in the job, according to Reuters.

An aide to De Vries aide told Reuters on 9 February 2007 that the decision had “nothing to do with a Parliamentary report” that criticised de Vries for not giving answers on allegations of complicity by EU governments in suspected CIA secret prisons and flights for terrorist suspects. 

De Vries, who gave an interview to EURACTIV in March 2005, simply did not wish to renew his contract, the aide explained.

The draft report, due to be adopted by Parliament next week, “questions the real substance of the post of European Union counter-terrorism co-ordinator occupied by Gijs de Vries, and draws attention to the lack of credibility of his statements”.

De Vries has no operational powers – his role is to oversee how the 27 member states apply EU anti-terrorism rules, and co-ordinate counter-terrorism work in EU.

The Dutch politician was given the position named in March 2004, following the deaths of 191 as a result of the Madrid train bombs which were blamed on militant Islamists.

While de Vries’s appointment was intended to bring co-ordination, his lack of actual powers has seemingly destabilised his role. In addition, member states have been very reluctant to share information on anti-terrorism activities, resulting in de Vries being further undermined. 

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