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EU policies – Delivering for citizens: The fight against terrorism

28-06-2019

Faced with a growing 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 growing 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 and is set to grow in the future, to allow for better cooperation between national law enforcement authorities and enhanced support by the EU bodies in charge of security, such as Europol and eu-LISA. Financing for cooperation with third countries has also increased, including through the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace. The many new rules and instruments that have been adopted since 2014 range from harmonising definitions of terrorist offences and sanctions, and sharing information and data, to protecting borders, countering terrorist financing, and regulating firearms. To evaluate the efficiency of the existing tools and identify gaps and possible ways forward, the European Parliament set up a Special Committee on Terrorism (TERR), which delivered its report in November 2018. TERR made extensive recommendations for immediate or longer term actions aiming to prevent terrorism, combat its root causes, protect EU citizens and assist victims in the best possible way. In line with these recommendations, future EU counterterrorism action will most probably focus on addressing existing and new threats, countering radicalisation – including by preventing the spread of terrorist propaganda online – and enhancing the resilience of critical infrastructure. Foreseeable developments also include increased information sharing, with planned interoperability between EU security- and border-related databases, as well as 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 is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

Control of the acquisition and possession of weapons

23-06-2017

In the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks, in November 2015 the European Commission presented a package of measures aiming to tighten control on the acquisition and possession of firearms in the European Union, improve traceability of legally held firearms and enhance cooperation between Member States, as well as ensure that deactivated firearms are rendered inoperable. The proposal to amend the current 'Firearms Directive' (Directive 91/477/EEC) was part of this package. It aimed to ban some ...

In the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks, in November 2015 the European Commission presented a package of measures aiming to tighten control on the acquisition and possession of firearms in the European Union, improve traceability of legally held firearms and enhance cooperation between Member States, as well as ensure that deactivated firearms are rendered inoperable. The proposal to amend the current 'Firearms Directive' (Directive 91/477/EEC) was part of this package. It aimed to ban some semi-automatic firearms for civilian use, as well as to include some previously excluded actors (collectors and brokers) and blank-firing weapons within the scope of the Directive. Parliament and Council reached agreement on the proposal in December, and formally adopted it in March and April respectively. The new directive reduces the number of weapons categories and changes the classification of certain types of weapons, while strictly defining exceptions for civilian use of the most dangerous weapons. It entered into force on 13 June 2017, with the deadline for transposition of most provisions set at 14 September 2018. This updates a briefing of January 2017, drafted by Jana Valant: PE 595.875.

Revision of the Firearms Directive

10-03-2017

A week after the Paris terrorist attack in November 2015, the European Commission adopted a proposal to amend the directive on control of the acquisition and possession of weapons. The changes aim to introduce tighter controls on civilian use of firearms, improve traceability of legally held weapons and strengthen cooperation between Member States. Several rounds of trilogue negotiations produced an initial agreement in December 2016, now awaiting a vote in plenary.

A week after the Paris terrorist attack in November 2015, the European Commission adopted a proposal to amend the directive on control of the acquisition and possession of weapons. The changes aim to introduce tighter controls on civilian use of firearms, improve traceability of legally held weapons and strengthen cooperation between Member States. Several rounds of trilogue negotiations produced an initial agreement in December 2016, now awaiting a vote in plenary.

Control of the acquisition and possession of weapons

25-05-2016

In the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks, in November 2015 the European Commission presented a package of measures aiming to tighten control on the acquisition and possession of firearms in the European Union, improve traceability of legally held firearms and enhance cooperation between Member States, as well as ensure that deactivated firearms are rendered inoperable. The proposal to amend the current 'Firearms Directive' (Directive 91/477/EEC) was part of this package. It aims to ban some ...

In the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks, in November 2015 the European Commission presented a package of measures aiming to tighten control on the acquisition and possession of firearms in the European Union, improve traceability of legally held firearms and enhance cooperation between Member States, as well as ensure that deactivated firearms are rendered inoperable. The proposal to amend the current 'Firearms Directive' (Directive 91/477/EEC) was part of this package. It aims to ban some semi-automatic firearms for civilian use, as well as to include some previously excluded actors (collectors and brokers) and blank-firing weapons within the scope of the Directive. Stakeholders commented particularly on the proposed ban on some semi-automatic firearms and the obligation for collectors to deactivate firearms. The Justice and Home Affairs Council held a debate on the file in March 2016. Parliament's Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) Committee is expected to adopt its report in June 2016. A more recent edition of this document is available. Find it by searching by the document title at this address: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/home.html

Directive 91/477 on control of the acquisition and possession of weapons

01-02-2016

Since its entry into force, the Firearms Directive has been broadly successful in facilitating the free movement of firearms within the internal market and, at the same time, in ensuring a high level of security for EU citizens. Yet, some difficulties became apparent, notably as concerns the security aspects of the Directive. The 2008 revision intervened mainly on this front, also requiring the Commission to issue guidelines on deactivation standards 'to ensure that deactivated firearms are rendered ...

Since its entry into force, the Firearms Directive has been broadly successful in facilitating the free movement of firearms within the internal market and, at the same time, in ensuring a high level of security for EU citizens. Yet, some difficulties became apparent, notably as concerns the security aspects of the Directive. The 2008 revision intervened mainly on this front, also requiring the Commission to issue guidelines on deactivation standards 'to ensure that deactivated firearms are rendered irreversibly inoperable.’ The current proposal for an amending directive again aims at reinforcing security aspects of the Directive, in view mainly of the findings of the evaluation study and feedback from Member States. The Commission announced the adoption of the implementing regulation establishing common guidelines on deactivation standards and techniques only seven years later, on 18 November 2015, together with its proposal for amending the Firearms Directive.As regards procedural aspects, it is to be noted that no impact assessment accompanied the Commission proposal, which would appear to constitute a departure from the Commission's Better Regulation Guidelines. It is worth noting that, at the time of writing, there is an on-going public consultation (invitation to provide feedback) launched by the Commission on its proposal, which remains open until 1 February 2016.

Illicit small arms and light weapons: International and EU action

13-07-2015

Small arms and light weapons (SALW) are one of the main instruments of armed violence around the world, both in conflict and non-conflict situations, with significant impact on entire societies from a humanitarian and socio-economic point of view. The international community, in particular the United Nations, has identified the proliferation and traffic of illicit SALW as an important field of action, and in this context, it has established a binding framework to prevent, combat and ultimately ...

Small arms and light weapons (SALW) are one of the main instruments of armed violence around the world, both in conflict and non-conflict situations, with significant impact on entire societies from a humanitarian and socio-economic point of view. The international community, in particular the United Nations, has identified the proliferation and traffic of illicit SALW as an important field of action, and in this context, it has established a binding framework to prevent, combat and ultimately eradicate the illicit trade in SALW in all its aspects. The main political process – the UN Programme of Action – emerged from the disarmament and arms control agenda, while the legally binding Firearms Protocol is part of international law enforcement cooperation. Recently, the Arms Trade Treaty has made a significant addition to the efforts of regulating trade in SALW. The European Union is an active promoter of the instruments and processes aimed at fighting against illicit SALW: it has created its own policy framework on firearms and SALW, it is a staunch supporter of norms at international level and an important provider of assistance to countries around the world to deal with the illicit trade and proliferation of SALW.

EU arms exports: Member States' compliance with the common rules

20-01-2013

The European Union (EU) is the only regional organisation to have set up a legally binding arrangement on conventional arms exports. Nevertheless, concerns have been raised about differing national interpretations and applications of the common position, as EU Member States remain responsible for its implementation .

The European Union (EU) is the only regional organisation to have set up a legally binding arrangement on conventional arms exports. Nevertheless, concerns have been raised about differing national interpretations and applications of the common position, as EU Member States remain responsible for its implementation .

European arms exports to third countries

02-09-2010

Towards greater consultation within the EU? France's plan to sell Russia four warships (Mistral-class amphibious assault vessels) triggered anger in Baltic countries, which qualified the move as unprecedented. Paris' move has also increased debate on the need for EU Member States to consult among themselves, within the framework of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), before concluding strategic and military deals that might compromise the security of other Member States.

Towards greater consultation within the EU? France's plan to sell Russia four warships (Mistral-class amphibious assault vessels) triggered anger in Baltic countries, which qualified the move as unprecedented. Paris' move has also increased debate on the need for EU Member States to consult among themselves, within the framework of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), before concluding strategic and military deals that might compromise the security of other Member States.

Transposition of Directive 91/477/EEC on Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Weapons in 10 EU Member States

01-09-2006

Autor externo

Andrea Renda, George Dura, Lorna Schrefler, Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS).

EU Actions and Policy in regard to Small Arms and Light Weapons

01-02-2005

The study affords a review of implementation of EU policies on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW), together with an analysis of obstacles to achieving greater progress in this area and in particular to better control over their misuse.

The study affords a review of implementation of EU policies on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW), together with an analysis of obstacles to achieving greater progress in this area and in particular to better control over their misuse.

Autor externo

Anders Holgers (GRIP) Groupe de recherche et d'information sur la paix et la sécurité

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