Terrorismebestrijding in EU-verband: stand van zaken na de aanslagen van Madrid (en)

woensdag 9 maart 2005, 15:06

In response to the terrorist atrocities in Spain the European Council of the European Union declared their combined objective that "the Union and its Member States pledge to do everything within their power to combat all forms of terrorism in accordance with the fundamental principles of the Union, the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations and the obligations set out under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001)".

The Declaration sets out overarching objectives designed to improve co-operation between Member States and their police/security forces and to assist the victims of terrorism.

The European Union Strategic Objectives to Combat Terrorism

(Revised Plan of Action)

The European Council Declaration on Combating Terrorism 25 March 2004 updated the Plan of Action bringing out the overarching objectives of the Declaration into strategically achievable tasks. The Plan of Action has 7 Objectives which are specific, measurable and achievable tasks for the European Union focusing on Member State and international co-operation, within Member States and the Union as a whole as well as externally with 3rd country partners. The ability of Member States to cope with a terrorist attack and work in co-operation against the activities of terrorist within the Union is the aim of such co-operation.

The European Commission Communications

In response to the European Council Declaration the European Commission has published 5 Communications dealing with combating terrorism:

  1. Towards enhancing access to information by law enforcement agencies
  2. Prevention, Preparedness and Response to terrorist attacks
  3. Prevention and the Fight against Terrorist Financing through Measures to Improve the Exchange of Information, to Strengthen Transparency and Enhance the Traceability of Financial Transactions
  4. Preparedness and the Consequence Management in the Fight against Terrorism
  5. Critical Infrastructure Protection in the Fight against Terrorism.

The main elements of the Communications are:

  • INFORMATION EXCHANGE: improving the accessibility of Member State databases within the Union and exchange of information.
  • ARGUS: overreaching crisis alert system to co-ordinate all of the crisis management programmes of the Commission.
  • LEN: the creation of a Legal Enforcement Network to facilitate greater exchange of information between the police forces of Member States.
  • EPCIP: the creation of a European Programme for Critical Infrastructure Protection consolidating and bringing together the Commission capability to advise and assist in critical infrastructure protection measures.
  • TRANSPARENCY/TRACEABILITY/EXCHANGE: to tackle the financing of terrorism the Commission wants greater co-operation and exchange of information to facilitate the tracing of terrorist funds.

The European Council - The Hague Programme

The Presidency of the European Council Conclusions re-affirmed "the priority it attaches to the development of an area of freedom, security and justice, responding to a central concern of the peoples of the States brought together in the Union". This programme is effectively the EU's agenda for the further development of justice and home affairs policy, and in particular anti-terrorism policies. The European Council, composed of the heads of state and government of the 25 EU Member States, decided on this programme. The document contains proposals and deadlines for the areas in which the Council would like to see policy decisions.

A pilot project to help the victims of terrorism

The European Parliament asked the Commission to run a pilot project that supports programmes to help the victims of terrorism and provided a budget of € 1 million for that. After going through a screening process in accordance with Commission procedures, five projects were selected that span various aspects of help for the victims- from medical research to awareness-raising in schools. The programmes are being implemented by different types of organisations, from research institutes to NGOs to local authorities. The following are examples of aspects of the programmes which the Commission is supporting:

  • The organisation of a seminar on themes like recruitment, the terrorist threat, awareness among youth with the participation of counter-terrorism specialists, researchers, politicians; and the organisation of a competition among schools in Paris on a terrorism-related theme. (Institut de relations internationales et stratégiques - IRIS)
  • The elaboration of a questionnaire to develop a diagnostic (psychology) tool as a basis for more targeted help for the victims of terrorism; also, a scientific project with a university to adapt the concept of targeted intervention to the victims of terrorism. (City of Koln - PLOT which stands for the prevention of long-lasting psychological consequences for victims of terrorist acts )
  • In the context of a plan of a municipality (San Sebastian, Spain), that offers support and solidarity to victims, COM is supporting the organisation of a film cycle on the theme of fighting for peace (Ayuntamiento de Donastia)
  • A European project to promote the resources and help available for the victims of terrorism and their families (Croix Rouge de Belgique)
  • The organisation of conferences by a Dutch foundation on preparedness and resilience; and elaboration of course modules for teachers to help children be resilient after terrorist attacks (Fondation Impact)