Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz feels that changes are needed in the country's laws to be able to deal with Islamist terrorism, given the difficulties that security forces are having in presenting precise proof against jihadist networks to judges.
"Changes need to be made in the legislation. It's a global threat and, in the face of that, we need a global response. That requires efficiency in police operations, in intelligence services and in legal regulations," said Fernandez Diaz in an interview with Efe.
Despite these difficulties, the minister believes that Spain is prepared to fight the threat, as was demonstrated last week on Spanish soil when authorities arrested three suspected Al Qaeda members who were planning bomb attacks.
Nevertheless, Fernandez Diaz rejects the notion that Spain is under any additional threat besides that hanging over the rest of the Western countries, despite the constant references to the lost paradise of Al Andalus - as Muslim Spain in the Middle Ages was called - in the communiques of the jihadist groups.
"Spain has absolutely no threat greater than that which our allies have. I can say that with absolute certainty and security," he emphasized.
The minister said that the latest operations against Islamist terrorism undertaken in various parts of Spain clearly show that the police and the Civil Guard are "especially professionalized" and have the intelligence and investigatory capabilities to fight against this threat.
Spanish security forces also enjoy "tight cooperation" with the intelligence services of other countries, without the aid of which, he said, it would not have been possible to arrest the Al Qaeda cell broken up last week in the southern city of Cadiz.
"All of us are necessary. We're globally threatened and we have to be united to give a united and effective response," he emphasized.
Along those lines, Fernandez Diaz said it is logical for the new National Defense Directive to consider the political movements in North Africa, with special attention to the Sahel, a focus of "risk and "concern."
"It would be irresponsible and absolutely flippant not to consider that area, which deserves special attention in the defense of our strategic, security and defense interests," he said.
Fernandez Diaz also referred in the interview to the Basque terrorist organization ETA, whose cessation of activity announced last Oct. 20 - he said - is "irreversible," since its taking up arms again would provoke "total and absolute" rejection in Basque society and also would be prevented by the security forces.
"The cessation of ETA (activity) is irreversible and what has to happen now is to internalize that it has been defeated. If it's stopped operating what has to be done is to stop existing. And stopping existing means dissolving itself," he said.