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#EUElections2019 – European Union and the fight against terrorism

The European Union and terrorism1

Since the end of the 90s, the European continent has been facing a new threat to its prosperity : terrorism. European continent is heavily scarred by threats and terrorist attacks. The succession of numerous attacks2 such as in Paris in 1995 and more recently in 2015, Madrid in 2004, Bruxelles and Nice in 2016, demonstrate the extent of of this new security issue.
In the words of the European Council3,  » terrorism threatens our security, the values of our democratic societies and the rights and freedoms of European citizens  ».
In this regard, the European Union has to provide an efficient and
durable response to fight against this phenomenon as the war on terror is one of the EU’s and its Member States’ top priority.

It has previously been established that terrorism increases national prerogatives however with nowadays’ transnational dimension of terrorism, it is necessary to have a coordinated action at the European level which ensures effectiveness. The coordination is imperative in this case.

1) European strategy to fight against terrorism

Since 2005, the European strategy to fight terrorism can be characterised in four pillars4:

– Protect
– Pursue
– Respond

To support this strategy, a EU terrorism coordinator was appointed which is Gilles Kerchove since 2007.

Gilles de Kerchove, the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator 5

Furthermore, European Commission also took some measures to fight against terrorism which can be found currently in the  »European agenda on security 2015-20206 ». Its aim is to facilitate cooperation between Member States and enable an efficient and collective action.

2) Measures taken by European Union

Concretely, a lot of measures have been adopted. But, in particular, in May 2015, the European Council and the European Parliament adopted rules7 about the financing of terrorism. A year later, the European Commission modified the rules and enforced ttheir to increase the fight against terrorism.
Additionally, a new directive8 was adopted by the European Council on the free movement in the European Union with the aim of gathering better information and data about people who would like to enter and travel in the European Union.
Moreover, the judicial and police cooperation was increased to enable a better identification and targeting of suspected terrorists.

Then, in 2017, the European Parliament9 introduced a measure to enforce counter-terrorist policies. For instance, external border controls are systematic for all people entering in the European territory.
Finally, the European Union acquired a new judicial instrument10 focusing on the arms trade and its regulations by adopted a directive setting stricter control.

3) Various initiatives from the European level

Nowadays, there are multiple initiatives established by the EU to fight against terrorism :

– Information System Schengen : it identifies all data about people who would like to enter and travel in the European Union.
– European arrest warrant :  it enables a facilitated arrest of terrorists and criminals.
– Internal security:  created in 2013 for the period 2014-2020 with the aim of enforcing counter-terrorist measures.
– Europol and Eurojust:  established to ensure a uniform flow of information and data between the Member States and the Union. Since 2016, they have further prerogatives.
– Frontex : the European border and coast guard agency in charge of the EU’s external borders.
– Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal Security (COSI):  it facilitates, promotes and strengthens coordination of EU’s Member States operational actions related to the EU’s internal security.
– European Counter Terrorism Center – ECTC :  a central hub of expertise working to provide an effective response to terrorism.

All these measures and bodies enable an efficient and regulated application of measures designed to fight against terrorism. So, we can see how the European Union is active to protect european citizens and guarantee security in the European territory.
4 Ibid.3
6Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committe and the Committee of the regions, The European Agenda on Security, 28/04/2014, Strasbourg
7Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2015, on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing, OJEU L.141/73
8Directive (EU) 2016/681 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016, on the use of passenger name record (PNR) data for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime, OJEU L.119/132
9Regulation (EU) 2017/371 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 1st March 2017  amending Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001, listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement (revision of the suspension mechanism), OJEU L.61/1
10Directive (EU) 2017/853 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 May 2017, amending Council Directive 91/477/EEC on control of the acquisition and possession of weapons, OJEU L.137/22

More information :

-European Union terrorism situation and tren report 2018 ( TESAT 2018 ) :
– The EU’s fight against terrorism, 1/08/2018, Headlines, Security, News, European Parliament :
-How to stop terrorism ? EU measures explained (infographic), 22/03/2018, Headlines, Security, News,EuropeanParliament :

Agathe Cabaret

Adeline Silva Pereira

Après avoir effectué la deuxième année du master Sécurité Globale analyste politique trilingue à l'Université de Bordeaux, j'effectue un stage au sein d'EU Logos afin de pouvoir mettre en pratique mes compétences d'analyste concernant l'actualité européenne sur la défense, la sécurité et plus largement la coopération judiciaire et policière.

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