Catalan police to be part of Spanish antiterrorist body

Barcelona and Madrid governments hold security coordination meeting for first time in eight years amid mounting tension over referendum

The security coordination meeting held in Generalitat headquarters in Barcelona
The security coordination meeting held in Generalitat headquarters in Barcelona / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

July 11, 2017 01:48 PM

The Catalan police, the Mossos d’Esquadra, will be integrated into Spain’s main antiterrorist body, the bilateral coordination security meeting between Catalonia and Spain agreed on Monday. It was the main accord to come out of the long-awaited summit, held in Barcelona a full eight years since the last one. Both sides also made a commitment to finding the way to grant the Mossos access to Europol’s database, as well as permission to pursue fugitives across state borders.

The meeting chaired by the Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, and also attended by the Catalan and Spanish home affairs ministers, concluded that the Mossos will become part of the Madrid-led Intelligence Center against Terrorism and Organized Crime (CITCO in Spanish), established in 2014, along with the coordination and evaluation boards for terrorist threats led by the cabinet of Spanish president, Mariano Rajoy.

Both governments also agreed to launch a joint committee to seek ways to enable the Mossos to gain access to the Europol database, called the SIENA system. The Spanish Ministry of Home Affairs reached the same agreement with the Basque police last month, something that caused upset in Catalonia with officials in Barcelona now expecting both forces to have equal access.

The right to cross state borders and enter another country when chasing fugitives over land –Catalonia shares a border with France and the two territories are connected in 60 places– was also a long-standing claim by the Catalan government, the Generalitat, as it is provided by law in the Schengen Agreement. This issue will also be discussed in the joint committee agreed on Monday. Spanish home affairs minister, Juan Ignacio Zoido, said that although the coordination is “not easy”, because it also needs to be discussed with France, he expects the issue to be resolved in the coming months.