Ayaan Hirsi Ali i, the Somali-born former Dutch MP and target of death threats from Islamic fundamentalists will be offered protection across the European Union's 27 nations, Europe's justice chief announced on Thursday (28 February).
Justice, freedom and security commissioner Franco Frattini said that EU i member states are to draft special measures to guarantee freedom of movement across the Union for Ms Hirsi Ali and other individuals similarly targeted for what they have written or said.
Mr Frattini i said a "unanimous" decision on the matter was reached at a lunch of the EU's 27 justice ministers and that host countries are to bear the cost of providing police protection.
The agreement reached by the ministers is "effective immediately", writes UK daily the Guardian, which is also reporting that the commissioner said no new laws will be necessary to realise the move.
Ms Hirsi Ali, who has been the subject of numerous death threats as a result of her blunt attacks on Islam, a fortnight ago visited the European Parliament to request help to fund her round-the-clock protection.
The Dutch government had been picking up the €2 million annual tab for her protection so long as she lived in the Netherlands, but wrapped up this support some time after Ms Hirsi Ali moved to the United States to take up a post with the neo-conservative thinktank the American Enterprise Institute.
She has since returned to Europe.
Some 100 MEPs earlier this month called on EU member states to pay for her policing needs.
The critic of Islam was first targeted after she collaborated with Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh on a short film about the abuse of women under Islam. The director was subsequently shot and had his throat slit by an Islamic extremist while bicycling to work in the east end of Amsterdam.
A note, attached to his body with a knife, threatened Jews, Western governments and Ayaan Hirsi Ali.