EU/US: DE VRIES' MARATHON VISIT TO SHOW UNITY ON TERRORISM.
Mr De Vries is being accompanied for some of the trip by EU Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner Antonio Vitorino, which will allow them both to clarify what their respective roles are. Apart from raising awareness about his own office, Mr De Vries is helping to lay the groundwork for the EU-US Summit on June 25/26, where terrorism will feature high up on the agenda. The other message he is trying to drive home, according to his spokesman, is that Europe is united and committed in the fight against terrorism and that the EU and US must work closely together on this issue.
No new agreements are in the pipeline, however, as the EU and US signed an extradition and mutual legal assistance agreement on June 25, 2003. Mr de Vries' job is to pile the pressure on those Member States that have not yet ratified this agreement to do so. Agreements between Europol and the US were signed on December 6, 2001 on strategic and operational co-operation and on December 20, 2002 on the transfer of personal data.
In his five-day visit, Mr De Vries is trying to meet just about every key person working in his field in the US Administration and legislature. The following is his schedule:
* May 10: Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge.
* May 11 (New York): Chairman of the United Nations Committee on terrorism and sanctions, plus participation in "G-8" Justice Ministers meeting.
* May 12: US Counter-terrorism Co-ordinator Cofer Black, Deputy State Secretary Richard Armitage, Attorney General John Ashcroft and John Brennan from the CIA's Terrorist Freight Integration Centre. A debriefing with EU Member States' Ambassadors to the US is also planned.
* May 13: Chairman of the House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Porter J Goss, Chairman of the House's Europe Sub-Committee, Congressman Bereuter, Juan Zerate, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Terrorist Financing in the Treasury Department, Alan Larson, Under Secretary for Economic, Agriculture and Business Affairs, and Anthony Wayne, Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.
* May 14: "Troika" (Irish EU Presidency + future Dutch and Luxembourg EU Presidencies) meeting with their US counterparts.
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|Date:||May 12, 2004|
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