"There is no single thing we could have done that would have prevented the attacks", was UK Home Secretary Charles Clarke's grim conclusion at this week's Justice and Home Affairs Council, called in response to the London bombings. The advent of the suicide bomber in Europe has highlighted the limits to enhanced EU cooperation on justice and home affairs.

Since September 11, 2001, the EU countries have worked consistently to fight terrorism together better. The framework is more or less in place: an EU arrest warrant, joint investigation teams, a counter-terror co-ordinator and an intelligence analysis unit. Implementation could be better and national law enforcement services still need to share information more.

The July 7 bombings have given much-needed impetus into this, with ministers notably vowing to harmonise national rules on retaining telecom data, such as telephone traffic records. This seems like progress, although the member states have not really proved the usefulness of blanket-retention, much to the chagrin of the more libertarian-minded MEPs.

But even if data retention has its benefits, it does not tell you what convinces a suicide bomber to blow themselves and innocent civilians up. In this light, the Commission's future paper on 'radicalisation...

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