EU recommends collective threat assessment plan

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union has recommended that its member states share daily threat assessments to boost security at major sporting events, such as the Olympic Games in Greece and Euro 2004 soccer finals in Portugal. Tomorrow, justice and interior ministers are set to approve a handbook for practical cooperation between law enforcement agencies to prevent attacks on sports events in the European Union. «Major international sporting events face particular terrorist threats primarily associated with the public interest in these events,» said a background note issued ahead of the meeting. «In the past, terrorists have used the Olympic Games as a platform for their activities.» Eleven Israelis died after an attack by Palestinian gunmen at the Munich Olympics in 1972. The handbook recommends that risk analysis and threat assessments be made on a weekly basis in the month before any large sports event and on a daily basis during the event. The reports should be shared among EU states. It also states that while the host nation has overall responsibility, other EU members should help provide proper protection. Any member state organizing an event should be able to ask for the deployment of police or intelligence officers from other EU states to fight specific terrorist scenarios, it adds. Apart from the Athens Olympics, several EU states will host major events in the next three years, such as Euro 2004, the 2006 soccer World Cup in Germany and the Rugby World Cup in 2007 in France.