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France, Germany press Brussels on terror funding crackdown

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Paris: France and Germany pressed the European Union today to speed up plans designed to crack down on the funding of terrorist groups.

Paris — left reeling by two major terror attacks last year and Berlin want the plans implemented by June, according to a source at talks between the two governments in the French capital.

“We have to accelerate the process,” said French Finance Minister Michel Sapin at a press conference with his German counterpart Wolfgang Schaeuble.

The call came a week after the European Commission unveiled plans to choke off financing of terrorist groups, with France pushing hard for a crackdown after attacks last January and November.

The raft of measures include stepping up efforts to track suspicious international flows of money as well as building a better understanding of how terrorist groups use virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin.

Sapin called the plans “good proposals,” but stressed: “We now have only one concern: that these plans be adopted extremely rapidly at the European level, to allow them to be applied as soon as possible in each of our countries.”

The plans, which must also be approved by the European Parliament, are based mainly on French proposals. EU finance ministers are due to meet Friday in Brussels.

“France and Germany are in agreement,” said a source familiar with the talks, adding that both countries want the plans implemented by June.

The French government last month sharply criticised the commission for taking too long to roll out the proposals.

France called for the tougher counter-terror measures following attacks against the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket in January last year which left 17 people dead.

That urgency rose markedly after November’s gun and bomb rampage across Paris, which claimed 130 lives and left hundreds more wounded.

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