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EU must boost exchange of information due to terrorism, PM says

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Prague, May 23 (CTK) – Europe must boost its countries’ cooperation and exchange of information between security and secret services if it is to manage the struggle with terrorism, the Czech and Estonian prime ministers, Bohuslav Sobotka and Juri Ratas, respectively, agreed yesterday.

They said it is also necessary to maintain the current exchange of information with Britain even after it leaves the European Union.

Ratas arrived in Prague to present the priorities of his country’s EU rotating presidency which Estonia will hold as from July.

Security cooperation in the EU must be boosted and the exchange of information with Britain kept after Brexit due to anti-terrorism struggle, Czech PM said.

The latest terrorist attack in Europe, in which 22 people died and several dozens were injured occurred in Manchester on Monday.

“We agreed on the need to permanently boost security cooperation within Europe. It is evident that managing the struggle against terrorism, beating terrorists and raising citizens’ security requires a very intensive exchange of information within the EU, between individual security structures, between individual secret services,” Sobotka said.

He said it is necessary that after Brexit tight relations be preserved between Britain and the EU not only in business, but also in the security field.

“There is no reason for weakening our current cooperation. It is in the interest of the Czech Republic, Europe as well as the Britons that we maintain the existing level of exchange of information, Sobotka said.

Ratas said the terrorist attack in Manchester showed the importance of European unity and cooperation.

He said the primary goal is to maintain a cohesive and united EU.

During the Estonian EU presidency, Ratas said he wants to concentrate on security as well as on an open economy, innovations and the digital market with a free movement of data.

The EU 27 will continue debating cooperation with Britain, the directive on foreign workers, changes to the migrant and asylum policies and on its own reform, he said.

The government’s spokesman Martin Ayrer said Sobotka praised the fact that Czech-Estonian trade exchange increased by 35 percent during the past four years.

He said Sobotka and Ratas also spoke about the EU home market, building a single digital market, energy, the development of relations in biomedicine, biotechnologies, and IT and communication technologies, in which Estonia is one of the leaders.

After their meeting, Sobotka and Ratas made speeches at a seminar on free movement of data in the EU.

“The digital agenda may be a topic that will unite the member countries in these turbulent times,” Sobotka said.

He said the Czech Republic perceives the free flow of data in the EU as a sort of “fifth freedom of the home market.”

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