The EU is working to impede terrorists' planning, disrupt their networks and the activities of recruiters to terrorism, cut off terrorists’ funding and access to attack materials, and bring them to justice, while continuing to respect human rights and international law.
As agreed in the Hague Programme
, when preserving national security, Member States will also focus on the security of the Union as a whole. The EU will support the efforts of Member States to disrupt terrorists by encouraging the exchange of information and intelligence, both within and between them, providing common analyses of the threat, and strengthening operational co-operation in law enforcement. Timely and accurate information- its collection, analysis and dissemination- is essential to prevent acts of terrorism and to bring terrorist suspects to justice.
The Stockholm Programme
, adopted in December 2009, builds on the priorities of the Hague Programme while underscoring the need to safeguard individuals' fundamental rights (privacy, data protection, etc.).
At national level the competent authorities need to have the necessary tools to collect and analyse intelligence and to pursue and investigate terrorists, requiring Member States to update their policy response and legislative provisions where necessary. The EU's peer evaluation process has already strengthened national arrangements in some countries and continued follow up will lead to more effective policy and legislation across the board.
Evaluation of the National antiterrorism arrangements (12168/05
)developing a common understanding of the threat is fundamental to developing common policies to respond to it. The Joint Situation Centre plays an important role in providing assessments and strategic analysis of the terrorist threat based on the contributions of national security and intelligence agencies and Europol
. The Situation Centre will continue develop and to inform decisions across the range of the EU's policies.
Law enforcement instruments such as the European Arrest Warrant
are proving to be important tools in pursuing and investigating terrorists across borders. Many suspects have been extradited on the basis of this effective instrument, which has reduced considerably the period of extradition between Member States from up to one year to one or two months. Priority will now be given to other practical measures in order to put into practice the principle of mutual recognition of judicial decisions. A key measure is the European Evidence Warrant which will enable Member States to obtain evidence from elsewhere in the EU to help convict terrorists. Framework Decision on decisions rendered in the absence of the person concerned at a trial
Member States are also working to improve further the practical co-operation and information exchange between police and judicial authorities, in particular through Europol
. Cooperation Agreement with Interpol
is strengthening its counter-terrorism task force; for its part, Eurojust
is playing an increasingly prominent role in helping national prosecutors and investigating judges to co-operate across borders.
Information should be provided according to the principle of availability, which means that a law enforcement officer who needs information in order to perform his duties can obtain this from another Member State. The EU agreed at the end of 2005 how to simplify the exchange of information and intelligence between law enforcement agencies, including the enhanced interoperability of European databases. Simultaneously, the Commission has proposed measures to strengthen Europe’s data protection rules.
The development of new IT systems such as the Visa Information System
and the next generation Schengen Information System
, while safeguarding data protection should provide improved access to those authorities responsible for internal security thereby widening the base of information at their disposal.
Some important instruments adopted on exchange of information relevant to the fight against terrorism are: Framework Decision on the protection of personal data Framework Decision on the exchange of information extracted from criminal records Council Decision on the exchange of information extracted from criminal records
. This instrument is intended to improve existing mechanisms for exchanging information held in criminal records. Council Decision on the exchange of information and cooperation concerning terrorist offences
. This instrument obliges member states to make available to each other and to Europol and Eurojust data relating to pending investigations and prosecutions in the field of terrorism.
Terrorists must also be deprived of the means by which they mount attacks. This includes limiting their access to weapons and explosives
or preventing the use of false documentation to enable undetected travel and residence. Their ability to communicate and plan undetected will be impeded by measures such as the Framework Decision on the Retention of Telecommunications Data,
adopted in January 2006. They must also be deprived as far as possible of the opportunities offered by the Internet to communicate and spread technical expertise related to terrorism.
Creating a hostile operating environment for terrorists also means tackling terrorist financing. Terrorists need money to prepare and carry out terrorist attacks. Identifying and disrupting the mechanisms through which terrorism is financed are therefore key elements of the EU's counter-terrorist strategy.
In accordance with resolutions adopted by the Security Council, the Union has established lists of individuals and groups designated as being involved in terrorist acts
whose assets must be frozen.
The EU has already a solid legal framework governing law enforcement cooperation which is relevant to terrorism financing, in particular to provisions for freezing terrorist assets.
The Third Money Laundering Directive
adopted in December 2005 extends the provisions of money laundering legislation to terrorist financing. Other legislation recently adopted, as the Regulation on cash controls and the Regulation on wire transfers, includes measures to control cash transfers
accross borders being used for terrorist purposes and to impede small sums of money (wire) transfers by terrorists
. In addition, tackling the misuse of the non-profit sector. The Council agreed in December 2005 a set of guiding principles for national non-profit organizations
. We are also working to ensure that financial investigation is an integral part of all terrorism investigations. These measures and others which build on the Financial Action Task Force’s recommendations
, form part of the EU’s comprehensive strategy for combating terrorist financing
. A review of the EU’s performance against terrorist financing is currently being planned to ensure our approach is kept up to date.
However, terrorist financing cannot be controlled by legislation alone. That is why the EU is stressing that the fight against terrorist financing should be intelligence led. This means that every Member State has a Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). These units should be involved in terrorist investigations to ensure that the financing aspects are taken into account. The units are now linked by the FIU.Net, which enables them to exchange information in real time.
It is very hard to stop all money from getting to terrorists but it is possible to make it more difficult for them and especially to disrupt the activities of the larger networks. The measures being taken by the EU and its Member States are contributing to this.