Europol expands information sharing to counter terrorism

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Information sharing on counter terrorism across European countries has been greatly expanded in 2016, the European Police Office (Europol) said Monday.

Europol launched the European Counter Terrorism Center (ECTC) in January 2016 following the Paris attacks in a bid to strengthen the European Union’s response to terror.

The center works as a hub to exchange information among EU member states, facilitating the coordination and cooperation on counter terrorism between national authorities.

According to Europol’s statement, it held more than 10 times as much information in its database compared with the same period in 2015.

Europol supported 127 counter terrorism operations in 2016, including most recently the attack in Berlin. This is an almost 50-percent increase compared to 2015 with 86 investigations.

Julian King, EU Commissioner for Security Union, said there was still more to do including improving information sharing, getting the best from existing databases and plugging gaps.

“This will be a top counter-terrorism priority for 2017,” King said.