We Need Hi-Tech Passports to Fight Terror War, EU Told

Daily Mail (London), March 20, 2004 | Go to article overview

We Need Hi-Tech Passports to Fight Terror War, EU Told


Byline: JAMES CHAPMAN

DAVID Blunkett last night told his European colleagues to 'cut the waffle' in the fight against terror.

He told them 'hard, practical action' was needed to tackle Islamic fanatics.

EU governments have been criticised since the Madrid bombing for allowing bureaucratic delay to hamper their efforts against terrorism.

At an emergency meeting of EU ministers called in the wake of the Madrid atrocity, the Home Secretary told his counterparts to get tough.

He wants biometric data - including iris scans and fingerprints - included in all EU passports to make it harder for terrorists to forge documents.

Mr Blunkett is also pushing for a new Europe-wide centre to analyse intelligence about terrorist groups and for tougher border controls on parts of the Continent.

His comments came as he secured an agreement for a new EU antiterrorism czar, who will speed up implementation of Europe-wide measures.

The EU is supposed to be freezing all financial and property assets held by organisations associated with terrorism and applying similar minimum penalties for terrorist crimes.

But in reality, many countries have failed to implement the measures and there are concerns that intelligence on terrorism is not being effectively shared. …

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