Report: EU intelligence services hold weekly anti-terror meetings in Netherlands

Over the past months information officers from 30 European intelligence services came together in the Netherlands on a weekly basis to share information about terrorists, the Volkskrant reports based on conversations with people around the Dutch cabinet.

According to the newspaper, these weekly meetings was the initiative of Dutch intelligence service AIVD, who was the chairman of the Counter Terrorism Group (CTG) until July 1st. The location of these meetings is being kept secret.

European intelligence services always shared information, but never in a structured or multilateral way. Secret services tend to be selective in what information they share, fearing to reveal their sources. And the "third country rule" also states that countries can not share information from a friendly country, according to the Volkskrant.

But the so-called Paris Attacks in November last year changed everything. After those attacks, European services realized the vital importance of sharing information on terrorist groups and extremist individuals and worked on improving this information flow.

The European intelligence services set up a platform to exchange information on all European people who joined jihadist organizations. This information is always available. Participating countries include all EU member states, Norway and Switzerland. The services are also now holding weekly physical meetings, which makes it much easier to cross-reference information, the Volkskrant's sources say.

On July 1st Slovakia took over as chairman of the CTG. The country decided not to organize the weekly intelligence meetings, which means they are still happening in the Netherlands.

On June 10th Minister Ronald Plasterk of Home Affairs stated that he is pleased with the progress made on improving cooperation, during a meeting with EU ministers of Justice and Interior. "The last few months, under the leadership of the AIVD, the CTG took major steps to further intensify their cooperation. Information about European foreign fighters is now available for all collaborative services."