Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Will the terrorists stand down?

A great battle is brewing over who is to head the EU’s embryonic FBI, aka the "crime-fighting" Europol.

Far from the "colleagues" riding off into the golden sunset of every closer European union (sorry, co-operation), having cosily picked the best man available for their police chief, we get the same old scenario of bickering and horse-trading between "allies". One really does wonder how many times that poor old nag is going to be traded.

Once again, quelle surprise, the spat is between France and Germany and so bitter has it become that the whole process has been abandoned. The parties have decided to start the search again from scratch.

Three candidates were in the running: the incumbent, Juergen Storbeck of Germany, Frenchman Jacques Franquet and Emmanuele Marotta of Italy. But disagreement between France and Germany led to the process being deadlocked. Needless to say, the Frogs wanted their man, but the Germans, who regard Europol as their baby, were insistent on keeping theirs.

Says Agence France Press, with a degree of understatement usually reserved for us Brits, "the failure of France and Germany to agree after months of dispute comes at an unfortunate moment". Unfortunate indeed, since "European leaders" keep emphasising the need to reinforce the role of Europol in the fight against terrorism and organised crime.

Presumably, the terrorists and organised criminals (but, one supposes, not the unorganised ones) will put their activities on hold until our brave leaders can decide on a new Euro-cop chief to hunt them down. Anything less would be distinctly unsporting, as us Brits used to say.

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