The role of the European Council in internal security policy

11-10-2018

Due to the various terrorist attacks across the EU in recent years, internal security and the fight against terrorism have become major concerns for EU citizens as well as for the EU Heads of State or Government. The European Council has a significant Treaty-based role to play in the area of justice and home affairs, including on policy issues such as the fight against terrorism and organised crime, police cooperation and cybersecurity, often subsumed under the concept ‘internal security’. In recent years it has carried out this strategic role on various occasions but sometimes in a more reactive way often in the aftermath of major terrorist attacks. The paper also shows that while the policy fields of internal security and migration were usually clearly separated in European Council discussions, the two areas are now increasingly linked, in particular by the subject of external EU border protection. The Salzburg summit of 20 September 2018 is an example for this and also illustrates a recent trend of EU Presidencies to bring together EU Heads of State or Government in their country to discuss policy topics at the top of their own agendas.

Due to the various terrorist attacks across the EU in recent years, internal security and the fight against terrorism have become major concerns for EU citizens as well as for the EU Heads of State or Government. The European Council has a significant Treaty-based role to play in the area of justice and home affairs, including on policy issues such as the fight against terrorism and organised crime, police cooperation and cybersecurity, often subsumed under the concept ‘internal security’. In recent years it has carried out this strategic role on various occasions but sometimes in a more reactive way often in the aftermath of major terrorist attacks. The paper also shows that while the policy fields of internal security and migration were usually clearly separated in European Council discussions, the two areas are now increasingly linked, in particular by the subject of external EU border protection. The Salzburg summit of 20 September 2018 is an example for this and also illustrates a recent trend of EU Presidencies to bring together EU Heads of State or Government in their country to discuss policy topics at the top of their own agendas.