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Stepping up the fight against terrorism
This communication presents several measures to step up the fight against terrorism. To be adopted unanimously, the proposals aim in particular to criminalise terrorism and to foster cooperation between Member States.
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 6 November 2007 - Stepping up the fight against terrorism [COM(2007) 649 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Despite the progress made against terrorism, terrorists adapt to counter-terrorist efforts and use technologies (mobile telephony and the Internet) for propaganda communication, training, recruitment, fund-raising and to plan attacks.
Europol and Eurojust play a major role in the fight against terrorism. Nevertheless, cooperation between the European Union (EU), the Member States, partner countries and international organisations remains crucial.
This communication proposes measures to implement the EU Counter-Terrorism Strategy and the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (FR). More specifically, it lists the measures to be included, i.e.:
- impeding violent radicalisation and the access of terrorists to their financial resources;
- protecting critical infrastructure and urban transport security;
- improving the exchange of information and the detection of threats;
- reacting to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats (CBRN);
- supporting victims;
- encouraging research and technological development.
Impeding violent radicalisation and access to financial resources
Understanding the motivations is essential to curbing violent radicalisation. The Commission is therefore:
- developing a policy on identifying and addressing the factors contributing to this phenomenon;
- funding studies, conferences and projects to share experience;
- studying the factors triggering radicalisation, the ideologies of radicals and the recruiting methods used within the context of the anti-radicalisation strategy.
The Commission encourages stepping up efforts to deprive terrorists of financial resources and cooperation between financial intelligence units at European level. Its cooperation with Member States will lead to better training of financial investigators and improve ways of freezing and confiscating terrorist assets.
Critical infrastructure protection and transport security
Infrastructure protection (roads, railways, bridges, power stations, etc.) is crucial, as the level of security of each State depends on that provided by its neighbours. Although the EU establishes minimum standards for security and eliminates the vulnerabilities, it is the responsibility of each Member State to protect its infrastructures.
The Commission has assessed the means of improving urban transport security whilst maintaining a full service. It has also set up a security expert working group to facilitate cooperation between Member States, national authorities and the operators involved.
Improving the exchange of information and the detection of threats
Exchange of information, with due regard for data protection, has been the subject of various initiatives, including:
- a directive requiring telecom and Internet service providers to retain their data;
- drawing up the principle of availability, allowing access by the authorities of Member States to the vehicle registration, fingerprint and DNA databases of other Member States;
- the Visa Information System (VIS), which will allow consultation of all the police, law enforcement authorities and Europol data.
Through its green paper on detection technologies, the Commission also advocates the use of sound, accessible, affordable and recognised technologies to enable the security authorities to work efficiently.
Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons (CBRN)
To stop terrorists from having access to CBRN weapons:
- the Commission issued a green paper on bio-preparedness (PDF );
- law enforcement, health and science practitioners are currently developing a guide on preparedness and response;
- the Commission will present a package of proposals in 2009.
Support for the victims of terrorism
The Commission promotes solidarity with, and assistance to, victims by providing financial assistance to organisations which represent their interests. It also funds projects to help them to get their lives back to the way they were before the terrorist attack, as far as possible.
Research and technological development
The EU has taken a variety of initiatives in the field of research and technological development, including:
- the Preparatory Action for Security Research (PASR) which has already funded 39 projects;
- the 7th Research Framework Programme (FP7), which covers the detection of explosives, protection against CBRN terrorism, crisis management and the protection of critical infrastructure;
- the European Security Research and Innovation Forum (ESRIF) (PDF ), which provides technology and knowledge to the policy-makers concerned and establishes the Joint Security Research Agenda.
New package of proposals to step up the fight against terrorism
To step up the fight against terrorism, the Commission has criminalised the dissemination of terrorist propaganda, financing of terrorist attacks and dissemination of information on making explosives. It proposes to amend the Framework Decision to ensure that Member States define these activities as crimes and apply criminal sanctions.
In order to prevent access to, and the use of, explosives, the Commission proposes to set up rapid alert systems on lost and stolen explosives, a network of experts on bomb disposal and de-activation and vetting of personnel involved in the explosives industry.
For effective cooperation, the EU has introduced a system for the exchange of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data. Henceforth, Member States must collect, process and exchange their PNR data.
The Commission is currently adopting its report on the implementation of the Framework Decision on terrorism so that Member States act more decisively in implementing the provisions adopted in 2002 to support the work of their police forces, prosecutors and judges.