EU Counter-Terrorism Agenda

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EMSK arvamus: EU Counter-Terrorism Agenda

Key points

The EESC:

  • welcomes and supports the strategic agenda to protect EU citizens from terrorism, as proposed in the EU Security Union Strategy, and agrees that a strong and ambitious counter-terrorism policy is needed. Efforts to achieve this objective must be based on recognition of, and full compliance with, the legal bases of international and European law.
  • considers the new agenda to be important and timely, and broadly endorses its arrangements and its focus on the concept of resilience. The importance of using modern technology is welcomed, but also the need to ensure that its use is limited in view of the rule of law and fundamental rights.
  • feels that the agenda introduces a coherent framework for action designed primarily for the institutions and authorities engaged in specialised and essential tasks to prevent and combat the terrorist threat. However, it does not provide for representatives of local communities, citizens' and victims' associations, civil society organisations and trades unions, religious communities, academia and private stakeholders to be as involved as they should be in addressing and in preventing this problem. In this regard, it believes that one particularly beneficial security investment consists of mobilising joint action, risk reduction programmes, and reconciliation processes initiated in communities.
  • thinks that the main objective should be to prevent and eliminate risks and tension rather than tackling their undesirable consequences after the event, with the particular high social cost that entails. The importance of researching and assessing the threat is highlighted so as to avoid putting in place arrangements that could unjustifiably encroach on fundamental rights.
  • believes that Member States need to develop synergies in the sustainable implementation of the programme.
  • is convinced of the need to fight terrorism effectively and steadfastly, but without infringing on European values and citizens' democratic rights: if these were substantially restricted, then terrorists could be considered to have achieved their aims.
  • is of the opinion that ongoing dialogue should be set up with religious leaders, since religion can play a considerable role in reducing radicalisation and certain types of threat, as well as community tensions caused by terrorism.
  • notes that EU law prohibits general and indiscriminate retention of data and that this can only be permitted subject to strict guarantees based on detailed regulation and backed up by continuous monitoring of the system.