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EU Counter-Terrorism policy: Commission outlines main achievements and future challenges

The European Commission has adopted a communication taking stock of the main tools in place under the EU Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

The communication outlines achievements and foreseen upcoming challenges and initiatives, laying the foundation for a broader Internal Security Strategy, which is planned for this autumn.

Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs stated: "Thankfully, the overall number of terrorist attacks and arrests is decreasing in the EU, but at the same time terrorist methods and terrorist propaganda are evolving and taking new forms. We must make sure that we are able to meet these new threats. Today I am presenting a comprehensive overview of what the EU has done so far and what challenges still lie ahead. This will be an important component in the EU internal security strategy that I will present in the autumn.”

The stocktaking exercise lists the existing measures to prevent, protect, pursue and respond to terrorist threats, underlining efforts to fight terrorist propaganda and recruitment, measures to avoid attacks with explosives, and prevention of chemical, biological and nuclear threats. The communication also identifies future challenges in areas such as radicalisation, crisis management and response.

Below are some examples of the achievements and the challenges identified:

  • In 2008, the European Commission amended the Framework Decision on combating terrorism in order to look more closely at different aspects of the Counter-Terrorism Strategy, such as how terrorists use the internet for communication, fund-raising, training, recruitment and propaganda. The Commission will now step up actions within this field. One of the future measures is to review the EU strategy to counter radicalisation and recruitment which is already in place. A communication on this issue will be launched in 2011.

  • The Commission has developed an EU Action Plan of 50 concrete actions to minimise the risk of terrorist attacks with explosives. This was approved by the Council in April 2008. However, more work needs to be done in order to better protect people and infrastructure. Proposals are in the pipeline for improving EU-wide control of access to dangerous substances and for enhancing public transport security.

  • The EU Action Plan on Chemical, Biological or Radiological/Nuclear (CBRN) materials, approved in November 2009, consists of 130 specific actions in the areas of prevention, detection and response to CBRN incidents. It establishes a clear agenda for the Member States and EU institutions for the years to come.

  • The EU Civil Protection Mechanism ensures a coordinated response to any crisis, including terrorist attacks, by using the capabilities of Member States. The Commission is now looking into ways of reinforcing rapid crisis coordination and cooperation as the EU's role in crisis and disaster management will need to be further developed. There is also a need for swiftly making the solidarity clause operational.

  • Finally, cooperation with external partners, especially with the United States, will be further developed. EU agencies, in particular Europol and Eurojust, should continue to be closely involved in the cooperation with external partners in order to strengthen EU security.

Next steps

This stocktaking will feed into an overarching Internal Security Strategy, which is tabled for autumn 2010.

For more information

EU Counter-terrorism strategy: main achievements

Homepage of Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs:


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