Belgium calls for 'European CIA' after Paris attacks

 Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel arrives for the start of an EU-Turkey Summit in Brussels on Sunday.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel arrives for the start of an EU-Turkey Summit in Brussels on Sunday.PHOTO: EPA

PARIS (AFP) - Belgium called for the creation of a European intelligence agency on Monday (Nov 30) to counter the threat of extremist violence in the wake of the Paris attacks.

Prime Minister Charles Michel told French radio RTL that "we must quickly put in place a European intelligence agency, a European CIA" to collate information on suspected radicals and "unmask those with hostile intentions".

His call comes after the Paris attacks earlier this month - carried out by an extremist cell partly operating out of Belgium - exposed failings in information sharing between several European intelligence agencies.

Mr Michel warned that one of the major problems facing security services was that information was being shared only between individual countries with no similar Europe-wide protocols.

"If intelligence services were able to share information without fail there might never be another attack," he said, but no system had been put in place to regularise these exchanges.

On Friday, European Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos also called for a pan-European spy agency, but Mr Michel admitted they faced an uphill battle to have the idea accepted.

Despite the Paris attacks in which 130 people died, he said France's Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve was "very hesitant about the proposition".

Germany too has not hidden its scepticism about a European CIA.

"We shouldn't waste our energy on a European intelligence agency," German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said on Friday, but instead "concentrate on improving the exchange of information through existing institutions".