BRUSSELS, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- The European Union's five biggest states Wednesday stepped up the fight against terrorism by agreeing to allow armed sky marshals aboard certain flights.
Meeting in the German alpine resort of Garmish-Partenkirchen, the justice ministers of Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain -- who together represent 80 percent of the EU population -- agreed in principle to allow armed guards on passenger planes.
Last month, many EU states voiced doubts about the move, which is strongly backed by the United States. French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said sky marshals were "not a panacea" but would add "an extra layer of security."
At the two-day informal meeting, justice ministers also agreed to hand more powers to Europol. In the future, the EU police body will be responsible for preventing the counterfeiting of euro notes and organizing the return of unwanted refugees.
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