EUROPEAN COUNCIL: EU LEADERS BID TO SUPPORT GLOBAL ANTI-TERROR CAMPAIGN.

In a letter to his counterparts, Belgian Prime Minister and Summit host Guy Verhofstadt spoke of the "need first of all to confirm and put into practice our pledge of solidarity with the American people and leaders. ". The September 20 transatlantic session at ministerial level had already set the tone on this score (see separate article, Section V). However, Mr Verhofstadt also urged his colleagues to offer a "message" specific to their own citizens. "This first of all involves stressing the need to develop and establish a fully-fledged European anti-terrorism policy. This policy has to be global and lasting, " he said, in reference to the Transport Council activities on air safety (see European Report 2619, Section IV). The outcome of the Transport Council is to feature in a report to coincide with the October 19 Summit in Gent.Mr Verhofstadt said"the second step was to accentuate the need to send out reassuring, confidence-building signals to the markets", which is what Finance Ministers, meeting at the same time, were trying to do (see separate article, Section II). The Prime Minister thought the meeting should enable the EU to assert its position as a"key player committed to the rest of the world," (as it has shown in particular in the Balkans - see separate articles, Section V). He also announced a special EU debate on the Middle East. He said that in spite of the international crisis, the EU "should continue to implement its work programme in no uncertain times. ". The Summit conclusions were prepared throughout the afternoon of September 21, during a special meeting of COREPER (Member States' permanent envoys to the EU), open to the diplomatic advisors of EU leaders.One of the key players in the debate is British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who arrived in Brussels on the final leg of a 15,000km marathon diplomatic mission that took him to four countries in less than 48 hours. Mr Blair flew in from Washington after talks with President George Bush and witnessing his address to a joint session of Congress. The Prime Minister has been working actively since September 11 to ensure that his EU partners - some of whom seemed less keen - are able to offer as much solidarity as possible to the US. Mr...

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