Food for thought for the proponents of the "Mediterranean Union."
"EU faces 'real threat' from north Africa: anti-terror tsar," from Agence France-Presse:
(BRUSSELS) - The EU's anti-terror coordinator warned Monday that a "real threat" to European security is developing in northern Africa, fed by militant groups linked to Al-Qaeda.
"Al-Qaeda is continuing and will continue to dominate international terrorism and its leader, Osama bin Laden, will remain very active as long as he has sanctuary in Afghanistan and Pakistan," Gilles de Kerchove said.
"But an Islamist terror franchise is developing in parallel, and the illustration of that is the rallying to Al-Qaeda of groups like the Salifist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group."
"A real threat is developing at our borders," he said at the European Parliament, citing the killing of four French nationals in Mauritania in December and the kidnapping of two Austrians in Tunisia in February.
"This threat is accentuated by the return to north African countries, and in Europe, of 'jihadis' who have acquired a certain expertise and are seen as heroes, and therefore are a source of attraction" for recruits, he said.
De Kerchove said the European Union needed to do more work on dealing with "the consequences of a major attack".
The high-ranking Belgian official, who had been supervising police and justice cooperation for the EU, was named anti-terror coordinator last year.
His job is mainly to coordinate from Brussels the application of the EU's "anti-terror" strategy in all 27 member nations, in working groups as well as at councils of the various EU ministers.