In the wake of the attempted terrorist attack on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on 25 December 2009, the Spanish EU Council Presidency is putting counter-terrorism high on the political agenda. The agenda of the informal meeting of internal affairs and justice ministers, on 20-22 January in Toledo, could be changed to include an item on terrorism and EU-US relations on security matters.

Quoting sources at the Home Affairs Ministry, El Pais has already reported that Madrid will "support" the creation of a committee of counter-terrorism coordination centres (CCCAT). The aim is the direct exchange, either bilaterally or multilaterally, of strategic information on terrorist threats. The Spanish daily adds that the idea is supported by the coordination centres in Belgium, France, the UK, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Portugal and the Basque country.

Contacted by Europolitics, the Spanish EU Council Presidency confirmed its intention.

The idea is not new, however. After the attacks on 11 March 2004 in Madrid, Spain proposed such a structure in February 2005 at a G6 meeting (home affairs ministers of Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Poland and the UK) and brought it up again at the latest Franco-Spanish summit, in late April 2009. Meeting on last 13 November in Paris, the heads of the national coordination centres at last agreed to set up such a body. There is a need for "a first-rate forum that allows the exchange of information on the level of threat," commented at the time the Director-General of the French National Police...

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