EU Counter-Terrorism Policy

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EESC opinion: EU Counter-Terrorism Policy

Key points

In view of the effects of the current economic crisis, the EESC draws attention to the growing danger of radicalisation, as regards both religiously and ideologically motivated terrorism. Protection of fundamental rights must be a key criterion for evaluation when planning and implementing counter-terrorism policy.

The EESC believes that the prevention aspect should be reviewed, and a new dimension added further upstream, involving the development of cooperation and the timely resolution of tensions.

The EESC recommends that:

  • the term "terrorism motivated by bigotry, racism and xenophobia"be used in official documents of the EU and its agencies instead of "Islamist terrorism";
  • all the EU institutions and national governments should shape their policies using qualitative and quantitative information on the dynamics of terrorism; a one-size-fits-all policy could be inappropriate, costly and ineffective;
  • strategic documents on combating terrorism in the EU should refer to different types of terrorism: separatist, left-wing or anarchist, right-wing, single issue and religiously motivated terrorism. This strategic structure would help national governments, EU institutions and other stakeholders to adapt their approach and instruments to the specific challenges of the different types of terrorism;
  • the EU Strategy for combating radicalisation and recruitment to terrorism and the related action plan should include practical measures to curb inequalities and discrimination and should build inter alia upon the work of the European Agency for Fundamental Rights;
  • the Commission and national governments should thoroughly assess the economic impact of security measures on the activities of private operators. The EESC warns that the development of costly technologies and the introduction of complicated procedures may affect the activities of economic operators and members of the public;
  • the EU should be more vigorous in promoting the counter‑terrorism model based on democratic standards and procedures in countries where counter-terrorism policy can affect the quality of democracy and respect for fundamental rights.

Finally, the EESC warns that unlawful or inappropriate use of (sometimes sensitive) personal information, coupled with the broad powers held by authorities, may lead to discrimination and stigmatisation of specific persons and/or groups of people.