EU ministers to discuss Europe’s terrorism threat
EU foreign ministers will meet on Monday to discuss the terror threat in Europe in the wake of recent attacks.
Europe is on high alert after a failed terrorist plot in Belgium and a deadly attack in Paris in which gunmen killed 17 people.
The talks will also focus on EU relations with Russia.
Ministers will try to resolve the deep divisions between EU governments over how to deal with Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
In Brussels, 28 foreign ministers will discuss concerns surrounding the return of radicalised Europeans who have gone to fight in Iraq and Syria.
No decisions will be taken at the meeting but a range of options will be debated in preparation for a special terrorism summit next month, reports the AFP news agency.
US officials have confirmed that US Secretary of State John Kerry will be attending talks in London about the Islamic State (IS) group.
The meeting of the members of the US-led coalition against IS will take place on Thursday and will focus on “shared efforts to degrade and defeat” the militant group.The Brussels talks come after anti-terror raids in Belgium, France and Germany led to more than 20 people being arrested.
Belgium is asking Greece to extradite one of the suspects arrested there over a possible link with an alleged Islamist plot last week.
It is not clear if the detainee sought is Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the alleged leader of the cell reportedly planning to kill Belgian police officers.
There has been no confirmation whether he is among those arrested by Greek police.
Belgium launched a series of raids on Thursday evening on a group of suspected jihadists. Two suspects were killed in a gun battle in the town of Verviers.Prosecutors charged five of those arrested on Friday with “participating in the activities of a terrorist group”.
No link has been established between the alleged plot in Belgium and last week’s attacks in France.
Gunmen in Paris killed 12 people at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, a policewoman and four hostages at a kosher supermarket.On Sunday, heavy fighting broke out in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, as government forces upped operations against Russian-backed militants.
EU foreign ministers will seek to resolve sharp differences over ties with Russia.
A discussion paper for the meeting was leaked last week which asked ministers to consider “possible elements for selective and gradual re-engagement” with Moscow because of shared concerns such as IS and Syria.
Some critics have already voiced concerns. One diplomat told AFP that it could “risk sending the wrong message”.
EU sanctions were first imposed when Russia annexed Ukraine’s region of Crimea in 2014 following a controversial referendum.
Further measures have been added since, targeting senior Russian officials as well as the country’s oil industry, defence firms and banks.
They followed allegations that Russia was sending forces to fight with separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. Russia denies the allegations.