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EU to Discuss Security Measures after Deadly Bombings in Spain
Douglas Bakshain
VOA, Luxembourg
15 Mar 2004, 19:00 UTC

European Union interior and justice ministers will hold a special meeting Friday to discuss security in the wake of the Madrid bombings last Thursday that killed 200 people.

A spokesman for the Irish Presidency of the European Union said the meeting was requested by Germany's Interior minister, Otto Schily, Sunday.

Early next week, EU foreign ministers are expected to discuss security at their regularly scheduled talks. European Commission external relations spokeswoman Emma Udwin said the Madrid attack sent shock waves through the continent and Europe is redoubling its efforts in the security field. "Enormous efforts were made in the wake of September 11 to meet the obvious new challenges of international terrorism in a joint way. But now given that terrorists have struck in this particularly bloody way in Madrid, all those efforts that were already underway will need to be looked at again to see what further can be done," she said.

Some EU member countries are already increasing measures to protect against terrorism. France has stepped up security at airports and train stations since the Madrid bombings. French foreign minister Dominique de Villepin says vigilance is essential and no country should consider itself immune from terrorism.

Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, who holds the EU rotating presidency, said his government will seek an early decision on an enhanced common strategy to combat terrorism and the appointment of a security coordinator.

Europe's response to terrorism is also expected to be high on the agenda of the EU summit scheduled for next week.