EU justice and interior ministers met on Thursday to hammer out a series of anti-terror measures to protect Europe. The search for a compromise on how long to retain telecommunications data, which can provide vital clues to police investigating terrorism, will be among the toughest topics at the two-day meeting. European Union governments remain divided on the length of time such data should be kept and who pays for keeping the data on file. A European Parliament committee paved the way for a compromise on the issue, proposing last month that telephone and Internet data be retained for 6-12 months. British Home Secretary Charles Clark, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, has called for a two-year retention period.
The meeting was to open with a debate on migration after the European Commission on Wednesday proposed speeding up and increasing police and judicial cooperation with north African countries to counter illegal immigration and human trafficking.
Friday's session is expected to deal with a package of anti-terror measures, due to be approved by the end of the year, following the July bombings in London. The ministers were expected to approve a new EU counter-terror strategy which outlines the commitment to "prevent, protect, pursue and respond" to the threat of attacks. The strategy will also include an action plan and a report card assessing how the 25-EU governments have implemented counter-terror measures to date.
The talks were also set to approve a separate strategy to combat the radicalization of youths in Europe, to dissuade them from joining militant groups, reports the AP. I.L.