BRUSSELS: The European Commission called on Friday for the establishment of an EU-wide intelligence agency in the wake of the Paris attacks, as interior ministers held emergency talks on boosting security.
The proposal comes amid concerns about how the gunmen who killed 129 people a week ago were able to remain under the radar despite some showing signs of radicalism and moving through several European countries.
“This meeting is of great importance: after Charlie Hebdo I had proposed — and finally it was done — the creation of a counter-terrorism centre at Europol,” EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos told reporters in Brussels.
“I believe it is a moment to make one more step forward and put the basis for the creation of a European intelligence agency,” he added.
But powerful Germany quickly spoke out against the plan, saying it would infringe the sovereignty of European countries, many of whom have long been cautious about sharing intelligence.
“We should not concentrate our energy on creating a new European intelligence agency,” said German Interior minister Thomas de Maiziere.
“I cannot imagine that we are ready to give up our national sovereignty. We should concentrate on the improvement of the exchange of information between existing institutions — that is the real security gain.”
The EU interior ministers meeting in Brussels are expected to approve the tightening of checks on all travellers at the external borders of the 26-nation Schengen zone as an emergency measure following the Paris attacks.