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Counter-terrorism strategy

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Counter-terrorism strategy

 

SUMMARY OF:

Article 83 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU)

EU counter-terrorism strategy

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE EU COUNTER-TERRORISM STRATEGY?

  • In 2005, the Council adopted the EU counter-terrorism strategy to fight terrorism globally and make Europe safer.
  • As deadly terrorist attacks continue to strike citizens in Europe and beyond, fighting terrorism is a top priority for the EU, EU countries and the EU’s partners.

Article 83 TFEU gives the European Parliament and the Council the competence to adopt minimum rules concerning the definition of particularly serious crime with a cross-border dimension, of which terrorism is an example.

KEY POINTS

Objectives

To combat terrorism effectively, the strategy focuses on 4 priorities (pillars):

  • prevention
  • protection
  • pursuit and
  • response.

Across these pillars, the strategy recognises the importance of cooperation with non-EU countries and international institutions.

Prevention

Addressing the causes of radicalisation and terrorist recruitment is a key priority for the EU. The ‘prevention’ pillar aims to combat radicalisation and recruitment of terrorists by identifying the methods, propaganda and the instruments used by terrorists. The EU helps to coordinate national policies, determine good practice and share information.

The Revised EU Strategy for Combating Radicalisation and Recruitment to Terrorism, as it was revised in 2014, aims at combatting radicalisation and recruitment while taking into account evolving trends, such as lone-actor terrorism, foreign fighters and the use of social media by terrorists. It has been further modified by a series of Council conclusions on responding to terrorist attacks on EU soil.

Protection

Protecting citizens and infrastructure and reducing vulnerability to attacks is the second priority of the EU counter-terrorism strategy. This includes:

  • securing external borders;
  • improving transport security;
  • protecting strategic targets; and
  • reducing the vulnerability of critical infrastructure.

Examples of ongoing work are:

Pursuit

The aim of the third pillar is to pursue terrorists across borders, while respecting human rights and international law. To achieve these goals, the EU’s focus is on:

  • improving cooperation and information exchange between police and judicial authorities;
  • depriving terrorists of their means of support and communication; and
  • tackling terrorist financing.

An example of ongoing work is the implementation of the 2016 Action plan to strengthen the fight against terrorist financing.

Response

Preparing, managing and minimising the consequences of a terrorist attack is the fourth objective of the EU counter-terrorism strategy. This is done by improving capabilities to deal with:

  • the aftermath;
  • the coordination of the response; and
  • victims’ needs.

Priorities in this area include:

  • developing EU crisis coordination arrangements;
  • developing risk assessment tools;
  • sharing best practices on assistance to victims of terrorism.

An example of ongoing work is the creation of an EU centre for the victims of terrorism (European Parliament pilot project).

Engagement with international partners

The EU’s security is closely linked with the situation in other countries, particularly in neighbouring states.

In June 2014, the European Council called for an effective counter-terrorism policy integrating the internal and external aspects. On 9 February 2015, in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, EU leaders stressed the need for the EU to engage more with non-EU countries on security issues and counter-terrorism.

In its conclusions on EU External Action on Counter-terrorism from 19 July 2017, the Council stressed the need for:

  • greater consistency between internal and external actions in the field of security, and
  • strengthening the role of JHA agencies (Justice and Home Affairs) with regard to non-EU countries.

It also noted that common security and defence policy missions and operations need to have a greater role in combating terrorism.

The counter-terrorism agenda is present in the relations between the EU and non-EU countries in many forms, including:

  • high-level political dialogues;
  • the adoption of cooperation clauses and agreements, or specific assistance;
  • capacity-building projects with strategic countries.

The EU cooperates on counter-terrorism with countries in:

  • the western Balkans;
  • Africa (the Sahel, North Africa, the Horn of Africa);
  • the Middle East;
  • North America;
  • Asia.

Cooperation with the US is a fundamental component of the EU’s strategy. In recent years, cooperation agreements have been reached in areas such as terrorism financing, transport and borders, mutual legal assistance and extradition. The US authorities are working more and more closely with Europol and Eurojust.

The EU also works closely with other international and regional organisations and fora to build international consensus and promote international standards for fighting terrorism.

BACKGROUND

MAIN DOCUMENTS

Consolidated version of the Treaty on Functioning of the European Union — Part 3 — Union policies and internal actions — Title V — Area of freedom, security and justice — Chapter 4 — Judicial cooperation on criminal matters — Article 83 (ex Article 31 TEU) (OJ C 326, 26.10.2012, pp. 80-81)

Council of the European Union, 30 November 2005: The European Union Counter-Terrorism Strategy

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions — Action Plan to enhance preparedness against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear security risks (COM(2017) 610 final, 18.10.2017)

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions — Action Plan to support the protection of public spaces (COM(2017) 612 final, 18.10.2017)

Council Conclusions on EU External Action on Counter-terrorism (19 June 2017)

Directive (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 (OJ L 137, 24.5.2017, pp. 22-39)

Successive amendments to Directive (EU) 2017/853 have been incorporated into the original document. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

Regulation (EU) 2016/794 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2016 on the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) and replacing and repealing Council Decisions 2009/371/JHA, 2009/934/JHA, 2009/935/JHA, 2009/936/JHA and 2009/968/JHA (OJ L 135, 24.5.2016, pp. 53-114)

See consolidated version

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on an Action Plan for strengthening the fight against terrorist financing (COM(2016) 50 final, 2.2.2016)

Council Decision (EU, Euratom) 2015/457 of 17 March 2015 repealing Decision 2007/124/EC, Euratom establishing for the period 2007 to 2013, as part of General Programme on Security and Safeguarding Liberties, the Specific Programme ‘Prevention, Preparedness and Consequence Management of Terrorism and other Security related risks’ (OJ L 76, 20.3.2015, pp. 1-2)

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions — The European Agenda on Security (COM(2015) 185 final, 28.4.2015)

Revised EU Strategy for Combating Radicalisation and Recruitment to Terrorism (19 May 2014)

Council Decision 2010/412/EU of 13 July 2010 on the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Union and the United States of America on the processing and transfer of Financial Messaging Data from the European Union to the United States for the purposes of the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (OJ L 195, 27.7.2010, pp. 3-4)

See consolidated version

Agreement between the European Union and the United States of America on the processing and transfer of Financial Messaging Data from the European Union to the United States for the purposes of the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (OJ L 195, 27.7.2010, pp. 5-14)

Council Regulation (EC) No 2580/2001 of 27 December 2001 on specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities with a view to combating terrorism (OJ L 344, 28.12.2001, pp. 70-75)

See consolidated version.

last update 23.07.2018

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