AT the final summit meeting of the European Union of 15 nations - ten new members are due to join on 1 May - its leaders had no difficulty in agreeing that they would do everything within their power to fight terrorism. Their ringing declaration continued: There will be neither weakness nor compromise of any kind when dealing with terrorists. If al-Qaeda and other terrorists read the communiques of European Summit meetings it is unlikely that these words will frighten or deter them; they will know that several of the EU-wide security and anti-terrorist measures agreed at previous meetings - for instance the pan-European arrest warrant agreed on two years ago still remain to be brought into force. It is to be hoped that the appointment of the former Dutch minister, Gijs de Vries, as the EU's first anti-terrorism co-ordinator will result in better compliance with decisions reached at meetings such as the one just concluded in Brussels. It is encouraging that Mr de Vries will report to the Council of Ministers rather than to the European Commission; this will mean that the prime minister of any nation dragging its feet will have to explain himself to his peers. But anyone who has listened to the evidence being given in Washington this past week to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States will not be optimistic about the prospects of achieving a significant sharing of intelligence among 25 nations within Europe with no common language; the inability of the various security services of the United States, speaking the same language, to share with their partner agencies crucial information in their possession about the al-Qaeda terrorists responsible for the New York and Washington attacks in September 2001 was painful to hear.
BOLD WORDS, BUT...
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