- The Washington Times - Friday, August 17, 2001

GENEVA — European countries, shaken by the brutal handling of anti-globalization protests by Italian police, are proposing to create a specially trained anti-riot corps.
Germany and Italy are sponsoring the plan and are seeking support from other European countries.
More than 200 people were injured in clashes with Italian police during the July 20-22 meeting of the Group of Eight industrial nations in Genoa, Italy. Among the 300 protesters arrested were about 70 Germans.
In the wake of the riots, during which Italian policemen were filmed beating and clubbing demonstrators, German Interior Minister Otto Schily called for a "new and stronger cooperation" in security matters among European countries.
He was backed by his Italian counterpart, Claudio Scajola, who narrowly escaped losing his post over the behavior of the Italian police.
"We need a different formation of men to confront the problem," Mr. Scajola said later.
He and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi are concerned about more rioting when the 180 member nations of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization meet in Rome in November. The logistics and security preparations for the meeting are well under way, although Mr. Berlusconi has been quoted by the Italian media as saying "with Genoa we have already done enough."
Well-organized mass protests against the spread of globalization have erupted in riots, marring most major international meetings during the past two years.
Germany's suggestion for a special police force is the latest move in its increasing assertiveness in European matters — despite opinion polls indicating a waning interest in tightening all forms of European cooperation.
According to the latest opinion poll, 54 percent of Germans are hostile to the euro, the joint European currency that will replace the mark in January.
An opinion poll in 15 European Union countries shows that 48 percent of Europeans, compared with 70 percent 10 years ago, feel that belonging to the EU is "a good thing."
European institutions in Brussels and Strasbourg, Germany, have suffered a marked lack of confidence, particularly in the large number of unelected and highly paid "eurocrats" dictating economic coordination and other measures across the continent.
Apparently disregarding such signs, Germany has continued to urge greater integration of the shaky EU while stressing its role as a major power.
Germany has asserted its role in various Balkan crises and now is planning to revamp its armed forces.
The planned "riot police corps" would be in addition to the European "rapid reaction force," which would consist of 60,000 military personnel capable of being deployed in crisis areas within three months.
Critics of the latter plan, including the United States, claim such a force would duplicate the tasks of NATO at a time when it plans further expansion in Eastern Europe.
On the other hand, countries such as France feel that NATO should reduce U.S. influence in Europe as well as Europe's hitherto dominant reliance on U.S. logistical backup and electronic intelligence.

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