EU considers blocwide intel

March 31, 2011 at 2:22 PM

BRUSSELS, March 31 (UPI) -- There is room for broad coordination of counter-terrorism efforts in the European Union under a new security body, a director said.

Olivier Luyckx, the European Commission's counter-terrorism director, at a European Parliament hearing in Brussels called for a new security body that would incorporate the work of existing agencies.

"There is new room for action at EU level," he was quoted by the EUobserver as saying. He called it "a one-stop shop for information-sharing."

The governments in Austria and Belgium called for a European intelligence service after train bombings in Madrid killed 191 people in 2004. Peter Gridling, the Austrian secret service chief, said at the Parliament hearing it was time to entertain the idea again.

"It is time to ask ourselves this question: 'Is it realistic to start thinking about a future EU intelligence service?'" he asked. "I think it's realistic to start thinking about it."

But Luyckx said any European intelligence body wouldn't be mandated to conduct independent field operations.

"We have no mandate, no appetite and no perspective for doing intelligence work," he said. "But we are prepared to add value if mandated by member states."

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