MEPs approve the freezing of terrorist assets

The European Parliament approved a regulation on
4 October that will enable EU Member States to freeze terrorist
accounts across Europe and restrict the financing of terrorism.
The European Commission proposed a regulation on 2 October that
EU Member States block all funds held by organisations and
individuals suspected of supporting and financing terrorist
activities.

The proposal to block terrorist funds was approved by the
MEPs by 417 votes in favour, 44 against and 18 abstentions.
The Parliament said that the regulation should expire at
the end of 2003 and should be reviewed within a year.

Several Member States have already
frozen terrorist accounts after the 11 September attacks on
the US. Britain, France and Germany are reported to have
frozen more than 90 million euro worth of terrorist
accounts. The regulation will make that mandatory for all
the EU countries.

 

The European Parliament's
Justice and Home Affairs Committee

said that the assets of European terrorist organisations,
such at the Real IRA and the Basque separatist group ETA
should be included in the list.

Spanish Prime Minister José Maria
Aznar

said he would make the fight against terrorism a priority
when Spain assumes the EU's presidency on 1 January
2002.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder

said at a joint press conference with Spanish prime
minister that ETA would be on the EU's list of militant
groups whose assets would be frozen.

 

The proposed regulation will prevent circumvention of
different national measures in this area. It contains a
preliminary list of 27 Islamic organisations and
individuals potentially involved in the 11 September
attacks in the US.

The list includes Osama Bin Laden and
his Al-Qaida terrorist support group. Demands have appeared
that the list should include European terrorist
organisations such as the IRA and ETA. The Commission said
this list might later be extended to others as the EU
develops its campaign against terrorism.

 

The Council of EU foreign ministers will adopt the
regulation at its next meeting on Monday, 8 October.

 

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