Italy PM calls for EU intelligence agency after Paris attacks

 10 Jan 2015 - 10:25

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ROME--Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi called Friday for the European Union to have its own intelligence agency following the bloodiest attack on French soil in half a century.

"We have the common currency and we must also have a common security and intelligence system. Europe must be united against terrorism," the premier said, according to Italian media reports.

He said there were no signs to indicate that Italy is under threat of a specific attack, but the country's security agencies were "acting as if there were", he said.

Security in Rome and around the Vatican was stepped up in September after a phone-tapped conversation suggested Islamist radicals were planning to attack the capital and the heart of the Roman Catholic Church.

Renzi was speaking just hours after a crisis that began with the massacre of 12 people at satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo reached a dramatic climax, with French police storming two hostage sites.

The PM will join French President Francois Hollande and other leaders at a Paris mass rally this weekend to show solidarity after the attack.

Italy's Interior Minister Angelo Alfano told parliament earlier Friday that the government was working on fresh legislation which would target "foreign fighters". Only four of the 53 would-be jihadists who have travelling from or through Italy to join Islamic extremists in Syria and Iraq are thought to be Italian.

The new law -- similar to new French anti-terror measures -- would enable the Italian government to confiscate passports and would be aimed at "homegrown terrorists... self-radicalising and self-training", he said.

AFP