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European Union: Highlights of Counter-Terrorism Policy

(July 26, 2010) On July 20, 2010, the European Commission adopted a communication that summarizes the major accomplishments of the European Union Counter-Terrorism Strategy since its establishment in the aftermath of the terrorist events in the United States on September 11, 2001, and augmentation and strengthening following the terrorist bombings in Madrid and London in 2005. The measures encompassed by the EU strategy on terrorism are designed to thwart new terrorist incidents from occurring by targeting four critical areas: prevention, protection, pursuit, and response.

The communication identifies the twin issues of radicalization and recruitment as serious problems that pose a significant threat to security and stability in the EU region. Moreover, the communication recognizes that crisis management and response at the EU level constitute serious challenges for the EU and will continue to do so in the future. (Press Release, IP/10/987, RAPID, EU Counter-Terrorism Policy: Commission Outlines Main Achievements and Future Challenges (July 20, 2010),

The communication makes note of the following achievements of the EU in the area of counter-terrorism efforts:

  • amendment of the Framework Decision on Combating Terrorism in order to deal with terrorist use of the Internet, fundraising, training, recruitment, and propaganda;
  • establishment of an EU Action Plan in 2008, which contains 50 concrete measures to eliminate the danger of terrorist attacks with explosives;
  • establishment of an EU Action Plan on Chemical, Biological or Radiological/Nuclear Materials, endorsed in November 2009, which contains 130 specific actions to be taken for the prevention and detection of and response to incidents involving dangerous materials;
  • establishment of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, which is designed to ensure a coordinated response to any type of crisis, from natural disasters to terrorist attacks; and
  • strong cooperation with international partners, especially the United States. (Id.)

The communication envisions the following measures to be undertaken in the future:

  • a critical review of the EU strategy to combat and eliminate radicalization and recruitment;
  • the drafting of new legislation to deal with regulating access to dangerous substances and to improve public transport security;
  • a critical assessment of the Civil Protection Mechanism in order to improve rapid coordination and cooperation in times of crisis and to ensure that the solidarity clause included in the Lisbon Treaty of December 2009, requiring that EU Members support each other in cases of crisis, becomes operational; and
  • stronger cooperation with the United States and with two EU agencies, Europol and Eurojust, with the purpose of improving EU security and public safety. (Id.)