MEPs tackle terrorism funding as Islamic State crumbles 

 
 

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Tackling the funding of terrorist groups remains critical, even with Islamic State losing most of its territories.

Parliament committees are working on new ways of combatting the financial resources of terrorist organisations. For preventing attacks and stemming the flow of funds, MEPs are zeroing in on money laundering and organised crime.

 

“Terrorism is a global crime, therefore the effective response must also be global,” said Spanish ALDE member Javier Nart, who has written an own-initiative report about the issue. In his report he proposes making it easier for law enforcement agencies across the EU to share intelligence on financing. MEPs will vote on his report during an upcoming plenary session.

 

Nart said that EU countries not pooling all their information on financing made it more difficult to detect terrorism and identify the sources of money used to bankroll jihadist organisations.

 

The end of Islamic State?

 

This year Islamic State has been losing significant parts of its territories, which is affecting its finances. The territories gave it access to natural resources such as oil.  Before losing a great deal of its territories in recent months, Islamic State had control over 161 active oil wells in Syria. Its finances have decreased from $1.9 billion in 2014 to $870 million in 2016.

 

However, a military victory over Islamic State will not spell the end of the terrorist organisation, as not all of its funding comes from its territories.

 

Islamic States also receives money from abroad. According to a study requested by Parliament's security and defence subcommittee, the management of foreign resources is highly centralised. To cut off this funding an international collaborative effort is needed.

 

What it means for Europe

 

Even with Islamic State losing its territories, the terrorism threat for EU countries will remain and could even increase. Islamic State will still be able to spread its propaganda using the internet and remain capable of carrying out low-cost attacks targeting civilians.

 

French ALDE member Nathalie Griesbeck, chair of the special terrorism committee, said: “Evidently, there is a strong threat and in certain member states, like mine, France, this threat is significant. It hangs over people's heads like an omnipresent monster."

 

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