Italy blocks EU arrest warrant plans

Italy blocked EU plans for a European arrest
warrant at a meeting of interior and justice ministers on 6
December. Italy disagrees with a set of over 30 measures that
would strengthen the Union’s ability to fight terrorism and
organised crime.

All Member States except Italy agreed that the European
arrest warrant should cover a list of 32 serious
cross-border crimes. However, the Italian Justice Minister,
Roberto Castelli, insisted that fast-track extradition
procedures should only apply to a smaller list of six
crimes.

The Member States have reached an
agreement on a common definition of terrorism. Eight of the
Member States currently do not have specific legislation
dealing with terrorism. All Member States agreed to a
minimum prison sentence of eight years for any form of
supporting or financing of terrorism, and 15 years for
leading a terrorist group.

The following acts are defined as
terrorism:

  • intimidating of population;
  • compelling governments or international organisations
    to do or abstain from something,
  • destabilising or destroying political, social or
    economic structures of countries or international
    organisations.

An agreement on police co-operation
between the United States government and Europol, the EU
police office, was signed on 6 December. The agreement will
allow the EU and the US to co-operate in fight against
serious forms of international terrorism and organised
crime.

 

The leaders of the 15 EU Member States decided at their
informal summit in Ghent on 19 October that the Union
should take effective counter-terrorism measures, including
a common European arrest warrant. The arrest warrant would
replace the current lengthy and inefficient extradition
procedures in cases of terrorism and serious crime. Other
measures include a common definition of terrorism and money
laundering rules.

 

The deadlock between Italy and the 14 on the arrest warrant
will now be taken to the leaders of the Member States,
meeting at the European Council in Laeken on 14-15
December.

 

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