The European Union is moving too slowly in identifying individuals and organizations suspected of links to terrorists and freezing their financial assets, a top U.S. counterterrorism official warned Thursday.
Stuart Levey, the U.S. Treasury Dept. undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes, said European efforts to freeze assets were hampered by bureaucracy and needed to be streamlined to help thwart future attacks.
Levey, who is touring Europe to press his case, said he hoped Austria would make improving the EU's clearinghouse on terrorist information a priority when it takes over the bloc's rotating presidency on Jan. 1.
The EU took years to declare Hamas a terrorist organization, yet there are still numerous groups around the continent that are raising money for the Islamic militant organization, Levey said.
The United States and its allies in the global effort to fight terrorism have been working to cut off the flow of cash to extremists and gain greater "financial intelligence" on terrorist activities and plots, Levey said, reports the AP. I.L.