Austria has called for the creation of a European intelligence agency to tackle the fight against terrorism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

Austria's interior Minster Ernst Strasser told a meeting of EU justice and interior ministers in Brussels that the agency would act as a monitoring and evaluation centre, analysing potential threats to Europe.

He said experience during the Iraq crisis and the recent spate of letter bombs directed at EU institutions showed the inadequacy of current intelligence co-operation in Europe.