France Seeks Stronger EU Controls to Stem Terrorist Financing

France will call on fellow European Union nations to do more to deny terrorists access to financing in the wake of attacks that killed 130 people in Paris.

“We have received messages of sympathy and support from our colleagues abroad and we are grateful,” Michel Sapin, France’s finance minister, told reporters in Paris on Monday. “Now is time to move beyond emotion and take action.”

Sapin said he’s seeking stricter controls on pre-paid debit cards, changes to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication payment system, more information sharing by national financial controllers within the EU and broader intra-EU powers to freeze assets of suspected terrorists. He’ll outline the proposals at a meeting of euro-area finance ministers Monday in Brussels and put them formally to the full 28 European Union countries at a meeting on Dec. 8.

What the terrorists want is to “be completely untraceable,” Sapin said. “What we need to do is tighten the links in the chain to make that more difficult.”

The eurogroup meeting is taking place in a Brussels all-but shut down because of the terrorist hunt. Belgian police arrested five more terrorist suspects Monday, bringing the total to 21, with schools, shops and the metro closed in the Belgian capital for a third day.

The finance ministers are gathering to discuss their budget plans for 2016. Sapin has said that France’s extra spending on security will cost 600 million euros ($638 million) next year and that it doesn’t plan to offset that with additional budget cuts elsewhere, meaning its deficit will be larger than originally planned.

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