BRUSSELS — The European Union on Monday called for an anti-terror alliance with Arab countries to boost cooperation and information-sharing in the wake of deadly attacks and arrests across Europe.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Monday that "we need an alliance. We need to strengthen our way of cooperating together."
Mogherini later met with Arab League Secretary General Nabil Al-Araby. She also attended a meeting of the EU foreign ministers who are preparing for a summit of EU leaders in February focused on terrorism.
Some ministers emphasized the importance of working with Muslim countries, rather than blaming them for the problem.
"They will continue to be in the front line, and we have to work closely with them to protect both those countries and the European Union countries," British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said.
Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said the police raids launched in his country last week to break up a suspected network of foreign fighters demonstrate that information-sharing is the key to success.
"We have to exchange information in Europe and outside Europe to really follow what is going on and to prevent any acts that could be launched on our territory," he said.
Belgium deployed the military over the weekend to guard public buildings. As the ministers met, soldiers walked the perimeter of the European Council building, where internal security has also been beefed up in recent days.
Many ministers said no quick solution to the challenge of foreign fighters is likely, and that the real answer is to help end the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.
"That is what long-term will provide stability and security in this region, and to address the root causes of terrorism and radicalization as well," said Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstroem.