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European Commission proposes to boost defence efforts against terrorism

BRUSSELS, May 5 (Xinhua) -- The European Commission (EC) is proposing to strengthen Europe's efforts to better detect explosives and dangerous materials, intensify research across Europe, and build awareness in member states, the bloc announced on its website Monday.

These actions are aiming at preventing chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials and explosives (CBRN-E) ending up in the hands of terrorists, the EC said.

"We are faced with a clear reality: Terrorists and criminal organisations want get their hands on CBRN-E weaponry. We need to intensify our work across borders to prevent that from happening. By strengthening our common efforts, we will be able to better recognise and assess risks, and develop effective security standards," said Cecilia Malmstrom, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs.

The terrorist attacks such as those in Madrid, London, Moscow and at the Boston Marathon revealed the high level of innovation of attackers, and the relative ease with which some CBRN-E materials and components can be obtained.

The EC proposed to facilitate practical cooperation for the detection and mitigation of CBRN-E risks at EU level, including working with the industry, operators of facilities handling CBRN-E materials (equipment manufacturers and security services providers) and other stakeholders.

To boost the efforts against terrorism, the EC said concrete tools will be developed, ranging from guidance materials, training and awareness.

Recently, advanced mobile CBRN-E detection equipments are tested through practical trials and will be soon come into use. The light-weight portable electrical devices could yield results in real-time within seconds.

With around 60 CBRN-related projects and more than 15 projects focusing on explosives, the EC pledged to ensure that the results of research activities are better disseminated and translated into useful commercial products.

More work will be done to enhance training initiatives, and improve awareness and capacity building through sharing best practices and developing guidance material, the EC said.

In mid-2014, the Commission will publish a handbook for airport protection of civilians, carried out within the EU Airpol police network. Such guidance material would then be disseminated and used by practitioners across member states.

The EC also volunteered to support preparedness and detection measures in third countries through technical assistance, training, and sharing of information.

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