CBRN terrorism: threats and the EU response

16-01-2015

Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) terrorism is a form of terrorism involving the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Following 11th September 2001, the interna¬tional community came to believe there was a high probability that terrorists would make use of such weapons. The growing number of people familiar with CBRN warfare techniques and the spread of scientific knowledge, coupled with poor security of relevant facilities, could facilitate terrorists in getting hold of CBRN weapons. Terrorist groups have already shown interest in acquiring them. However, so far, there have been very few successful CBRN attacks and the number of casualties remains relatively low. This is partly due to the fact that obtaining or creating WMD is challenging, while conventional weapons can be more easily acquired. The international community has reacted to CBRN threats through a series of instruments, most of them under the aegis of the UN. The EU has also been gradually building its counter-terrorism capacity. The 2010 CBRN Action Plan – the core element of the Commission's new policy package – has been extensively commented on by the European Parliament.

Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) terrorism is a form of terrorism involving the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Following 11th September 2001, the interna¬tional community came to believe there was a high probability that terrorists would make use of such weapons. The growing number of people familiar with CBRN warfare techniques and the spread of scientific knowledge, coupled with poor security of relevant facilities, could facilitate terrorists in getting hold of CBRN weapons. Terrorist groups have already shown interest in acquiring them. However, so far, there have been very few successful CBRN attacks and the number of casualties remains relatively low. This is partly due to the fact that obtaining or creating WMD is challenging, while conventional weapons can be more easily acquired. The international community has reacted to CBRN threats through a series of instruments, most of them under the aegis of the UN. The EU has also been gradually building its counter-terrorism capacity. The 2010 CBRN Action Plan – the core element of the Commission's new policy package – has been extensively commented on by the European Parliament.