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Understanding EU counter-terrorism policy

14-01-2021

Faced with a persistent international terrorist threat, the European Union (EU) is playing an ever more ambitious role in counter-terrorism. Even though primary responsibility for combating crime and ensuring security lies with the Member States, the EU provides cooperation, coordination and (to some extent) harmonisation tools, as well as financial support, to address this borderless phenomenon. Moreover, the assumption that there is a connection between development and stability, as well as between ...

Faced with a persistent international terrorist threat, the European Union (EU) is playing an ever more ambitious role in counter-terrorism. Even though primary responsibility for combating crime and ensuring security lies with the Member States, the EU provides cooperation, coordination and (to some extent) harmonisation tools, as well as financial support, to address this borderless phenomenon. Moreover, the assumption that there is a connection between development and stability, as well as between internal and external security, has come to shape EU action beyond its own borders. EU spending in the area of counter-terrorism has increased over the years, to allow for better cooperation between national law enforcement authorities and enhanced support by the EU bodies in charge of security and justice, such as Europol, eu-LISA and Eurojust. The many new rules and instruments that have been adopted in recent years range from harmonising definitions of terrorist offences and sanctions, and sharing information and data, to protecting borders, countering terrorist financing, and regulating firearms. However, implementing and evaluating the various measures is a challenging task. The European Parliament has played an active role not only in shaping legislation, but also in evaluating existing tools and gaps through the work accomplished by its Special Committee on Terrorism (TERR) in 2018. In line with the Parliament's recommendations, as well as the priorities set by the new European Commission and its counter-terrorism agenda presented in December 2020, future EU counter-terrorism action will focus on better anticipating threats, countering radicalisation and reducing vulnerabilities, by making critical infrastructures more resilient and better protecting public spaces. Upcoming developments also include increased information-sharing, by means of better implementation and modernisation of existing tools, a reinforced mandate for Europol, as well as possible investigation and prosecution of terrorist crimes at EU level, through the proposed extension of the mandate of the recently established European Public Prosecutor's Office. This briefing builds on an earlier one, entitled 'The fight against terrorism', published in 2019.

Hate speech and hate crime in the EU and the evaluation of online content regulation approaches

15-07-2020

This study was commissioned by the European Parliament's Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee. The study argues that hate speech and hate crimes poison societies by threatening individual rights, human dignity and equality, reinforcing tensions between social groups, disturbing public peace and public order, and jeopardising peaceful coexistence. The lack of adequate means of prevention and response violates values enshrined in Article ...

This study was commissioned by the European Parliament's Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee. The study argues that hate speech and hate crimes poison societies by threatening individual rights, human dignity and equality, reinforcing tensions between social groups, disturbing public peace and public order, and jeopardising peaceful coexistence. The lack of adequate means of prevention and response violates values enshrined in Article 2 of the TEU. Member States have diverging rules, and national public administrations are torn by disagreement in values. Therefore, EU regulation is needed to reinforce the existing standards and take measures to counter hate speech and counter-act against hate speech and hate crime. The study – on the basis of a cross-country comparison conducted – proposes concrete, enforceable and systematic soft and hard law measures to counter hate speech and hate crimes EU-wide efficiently.

Coronavirus and the cost of non-Europe: An analysis of the economic benefits of common European action

11-05-2020

This EPRS paper focuses on the economic benefits of common action at European level and the risk involved if the current coronavirus crisis and its aftermath were to stall or reverse the process of European integration. It attempts to quantify the losses from: (i) any gradual dismantling of the EU project - where cautious estimates suggest that erosion of the EU single market alone would cost the European economy between 3.0 and 8.7 per cent of its collective GDP (this would be existing 'European ...

This EPRS paper focuses on the economic benefits of common action at European level and the risk involved if the current coronavirus crisis and its aftermath were to stall or reverse the process of European integration. It attempts to quantify the losses from: (i) any gradual dismantling of the EU project - where cautious estimates suggest that erosion of the EU single market alone would cost the European economy between 3.0 and 8.7 per cent of its collective GDP (this would be existing 'European added value' permanently lost); and (ii) a parallel failure to take advantage of the unexploited potential of collective public goods that have yet be achieved (this would be future GDP growth foregone). The latter 'cost of non-Europe' in 50 policy areas was identified by EPRS in 2019 as around 14 per cent of EU GDP by the end of a ten-year running-in period.

Εξωτερικός συντάκτης

Müller, Klaus

European Border and Coast Guard: False and authentic documents online (FADO) system

05-02-2020

In 2018, the Commission adopted a proposal for a new regulation on the European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG). Among many other elements, the proposal envisaged integrating the False and Authentic Documents Online (FADO) system into the EBCG framework. The co-legislators have already adopted the new EBCG Regulation, but decided to adopt a separate legal act to settle the legal framework of the FADO system. Parliament is expected to vote on the agreement negotiated with Council during the February ...

In 2018, the Commission adopted a proposal for a new regulation on the European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG). Among many other elements, the proposal envisaged integrating the False and Authentic Documents Online (FADO) system into the EBCG framework. The co-legislators have already adopted the new EBCG Regulation, but decided to adopt a separate legal act to settle the legal framework of the FADO system. Parliament is expected to vote on the agreement negotiated with Council during the February plenary session.

Hearings of the Commissioners-designate: Ylva Johansson - Home Affairs

26-09-2019

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication ...

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication skills'. At the end of the hearings process, Parliament votes on the proposed Commission as a bloc, and under the Treaties may only reject the entire College of Commissioners, rather than individual candidates. The Briefing provides an overview of key issues in the portfolio areas, as well as Parliament's activity in the last term in that field. It also includes a brief introduction to the candidate.

Εξωτερικός συντάκτης

Théron, François

Use of financial data for preventing and combatting serious crime

19-07-2019

On 17 April 2018, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a directive intended to facilitate law enforcement authorities' access to and use of financial information held in other jurisdictions within the EU for investigations related to terrorism and other serious crime. The proposed directive would grant competent authorities direct access to bank account information contained in centralised registries set up in each Member State, according to the Fifth Anti-Money-Laundering Directive. The ...

On 17 April 2018, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a directive intended to facilitate law enforcement authorities' access to and use of financial information held in other jurisdictions within the EU for investigations related to terrorism and other serious crime. The proposed directive would grant competent authorities direct access to bank account information contained in centralised registries set up in each Member State, according to the Fifth Anti-Money-Laundering Directive. The proposal also aims to strengthen domestic and cross-border exchange of information between EU Member States' competent authorities, including law enforcement authorities and financial intelligence units, as well as with Europol. The provisional agreement reached in February 2019 in interinstitutional negotiations was adopted by the European Parliament on 17 April 2019, followed by the Council on 14 June. On 20 June 2019, the directive was signed into law and then published in the Official Journal on 11 July. Member States have until 1 August 2021 to transpose its provisions into national law.

Interoperability between EU border and security information systems

14-06-2019

To enhance EU external border management and internal security, the European Commission has made several proposals to upgrade and expand European border and security information systems. As part of a broader process to maximise their use, the Commission presented legislative proposals for two regulations in December 2017 (amended in June 2018), establishing an interoperability framework between EU information systems on borders and visas, and on police and judicial cooperation, asylum and migration ...

To enhance EU external border management and internal security, the European Commission has made several proposals to upgrade and expand European border and security information systems. As part of a broader process to maximise their use, the Commission presented legislative proposals for two regulations in December 2017 (amended in June 2018), establishing an interoperability framework between EU information systems on borders and visas, and on police and judicial cooperation, asylum and migration. After completion of the legislative procedure at first reading in the Parliament and in the Council, the final acts were signed by the co-legislators on 20 May 2019 and published in the Official Journal two days later. Both acts came into force on 11 June 2019. The new rules aim to improve checks at the EU’s external borders, allow for better detection of security threats and identity fraud, and help in preventing and combating irregular migration. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Area of freedom, security and justice: Cost of Non-Europe

08-05-2019

Substantial progress has been made since creating an area of freedom, security and justice became a major political objective for the EU 20 years ago. Still, there is a lack of consistent monitoring and enforcement of EU values and norms as well as outstanding gaps in the EU’s framework in certain areas. These deficiencies have a significant impact at individual level, notably in terms of preventing the effective exercise of fundamental rights by EU citizens and third country nationals alike. They ...

Substantial progress has been made since creating an area of freedom, security and justice became a major political objective for the EU 20 years ago. Still, there is a lack of consistent monitoring and enforcement of EU values and norms as well as outstanding gaps in the EU’s framework in certain areas. These deficiencies have a significant impact at individual level, notably in terms of preventing the effective exercise of fundamental rights by EU citizens and third country nationals alike. They also have a negative effect on budgetary spending, growth and tax revenue, which is estimated at at least €180 billion annually, with the lack of enforcement of EU values still to be assessed in more detail. Further EU action in four main areas: 1. monitoring and enforcement; 2. the creation of safe legal pathways for migrants and asylum seekers to enter the EU; 3. ingraining a European law enforcement culture; and 4. completing the Union’s fundamental rights framework, would have significant benefits. In particular, it could allow individuals to fully enjoy their fundamental rights and make EU society more secure, open, fair and prosperous. This would also foster trust in the EU on the basis of its ability to deliver on its aims

The Juncker Commission's ten priorities: An end-of-term assessment

03-05-2019

This April 2019 edition closes the cycle of the European Parliamentary Research Service's bi annual monitoring of the Juncker Commission's ten priorities. After the last plenary session of the 2014 2019 Parliament, and before the end of the European Commission's mandate, this publication provides an up-to-date overview of the state of play in the delivery of the various legislative and other political initiatives flowing from the ten priorities defined by the Commission's President, Jean-Claude Juncker ...

This April 2019 edition closes the cycle of the European Parliamentary Research Service's bi annual monitoring of the Juncker Commission's ten priorities. After the last plenary session of the 2014 2019 Parliament, and before the end of the European Commission's mandate, this publication provides an up-to-date overview of the state of play in the delivery of the various legislative and other political initiatives flowing from the ten priorities defined by the Commission's President, Jean-Claude Juncker, on taking office in 2014. The analysis shows that, of the 547 proposals foreseen from the Commission, 512 have been submitted (94 per cent), of which 361 have been adopted (66 per cent). There are 151 proposals (28 per cent) which have not so far been adopted, and where the outcome may depend on the EU institutional transition this year. Of these, 115 (21 per cent) have been proceeding normally through the legislative process, and 36 (7 per cent) have either been proceeding slowly or are blocked. On the eve of the 2019 European Parliament elections, the paper is intended both to assess the extent to which the Juncker Commission has met the targets that it set itself, to take note of the achievements made to date and to identify areas in which difficulties have been, or continue to be, encountered.

Victims of terrorism

01-03-2019

The European Day of Remembrance of Victims of Terrorism has been established as 11 March each year, marking the Madrid bombings in 2004. The protection of victims of terrorism constitutes an essential part of the EU’s action to address all dimensions of the terrorist threat. Following the wave of terror that has hit Europe in recent years, rules and sanctions related to terrorist activities have been strengthened, while better protection and support to victims of terrorism is being ensured through ...

The European Day of Remembrance of Victims of Terrorism has been established as 11 March each year, marking the Madrid bombings in 2004. The protection of victims of terrorism constitutes an essential part of the EU’s action to address all dimensions of the terrorist threat. Following the wave of terror that has hit Europe in recent years, rules and sanctions related to terrorist activities have been strengthened, while better protection and support to victims of terrorism is being ensured through action at EU level.

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