TERRORISM

Spanish police chief asks EU for better cooperation against terrorism

Ignacio Cosidó says Spain’s policies have been effective at reducing illegal immigration and radicalization

Ignacio Cosidó (right), head of the Spanish National Police.
Ignacio Cosidó (right), head of the Spanish National Police.Román G. Aguilera (EFE)

The director general of Spain’s National Police on Monday asked for improved anti-terrorist cooperation among European Union member states.

“All countries need to cooperate, and there is still leeway for improvement,” said Ignacio Cosidó at Menéndez Pelayo University in Santander.

The police chief rejected the notion of nationalized immigration policies and border controls, and instead supported greater sharing of information.

Immigration in our country is mostly first and second-generation. The risk cases are in the third and fourth generations, due to their frustrated expectations or lack of self-identity Ignacio Cosidó, chief of Spanish Police

Cosidó noted that having access to recent information is key in the fight against international terrorism.

“There are many databases from different countries that are not shared yet,” he said, adding that the new type of terrorism requires early detection efforts.

“Occasionally, it’s just one person acting alone with any type of material. In Nice, for instance, it was a truck. We need to stress intelligence in order to prevent these attacks,” he said.

Immigration experience

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Because of its geographical position on the map, Spain has always faced the challenge of immigration. The Spanish government has cooperation agreements with the countries that illegal migrants come from or use as transit areas, in an effort to stem human trafficking at its origin.

“Our collaboration with Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal or Niger is essential to success, and an example of how important intelligence is,” said Cosidó.

He said that Spain’s successful border management model and the work of its intelligence services have ensured that there is less radicalization here than elsewhere in the region.

“We have 178 identified Islamic State combatants, compared with over 4,000 in the EU,” he said.

“Immigration in our country is mostly first and second-generation. The risk cases are in the third and fourth generations, due to their frustrated expectations or lack of self-identity,” he explained.

He also underscored that Spain lacks far-right political parties with a xenophobe rhetoric and that “immigrants do not live in ghettoes like they do in other countries, forming conflict zones within their territories.”

English version by Susana Urra.

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