Vice-President Franco FRATTINI
European Commissioner responsible for Justice, Freedom and Security
Internal and external dimension of fighting terrorism
4th congress on European defence
Berlin, 28 November 2005
At the heart of our activities. The fight against terrorism lies at the heart of the European Union’s activities in the field of justice, freedom and security, one of the most dynamic sectors of the EU.
Ten years ago. If we look back ten years ago, the fight against terrorism in Europe was mainly an issue of national concern. Examples of terrorist attacks could be found in a number of EU Member States such as Spain [ETA], here in Germany, or in my home country Italy, but EU cooperation against terrorism was not then particularly developed. This has changed dramatically since the devastating attacks of September 11, 2001.
The terrorist attacks in Madrid and London reinforced the EU?s determination to combat terrorism and confirmed the need for a comprehensive response to the terrorist threat.
Citizens? expectations. Terrorism has also changed citizens? expectations as to what should be priority issues at European Union level. According to a recent [Eurobarometer] survey, 91% of EU citizens expect the EU to take action to fight terrorism and to maintain peace and security.
We must share experience and info. In our globalised world with rapid travel and communications, a single state cannot tackle the threat of terrorism on its own. We have to share experience and information, and pool resources in order to provide citizens with a high level of security.
A longer term endeavour. Our counter-terrorism efforts will be a longer-term endeavour.
We must build a network of security against the network of terror. Such a network of security would require the involvement of all the relevant actors in order to achieve operational cooperation in all fields of common concern. The network would bring together the EU Member States and as well as the EU?s partners.
Terrorism requires a global response. Let me first give you an overview of our internal efforts and then look at the international dimension of our counter-terrorism-policy.
Internal dimension ? Action plan on combatting terrorism
A set of strategic objectives. In the aftermath of the terrorist atrocity which struck Madrid and the European Union as a whole on 11 March 2004, the European Council agreed a set of strategic objectives, which have since directed the Union’s fight against terrorism. The recent terrorist attacks in London reaffirmed our commitment.
The Action Plan on combating terrorism sets out the EU?s activities in the counter-terrorism field and sets deadlines for agreeing new measures.
In a comprehensive fashion. The terrorist threat must be addressed in a comprehensive fashion. Adequate measures are needed for the prevention of “, protection against ” and response to terrorist threats and attacks.
Only the prevention of terrorism can guarantee our success in the long run.
How and why. We first have to ask how and why there are people ready to promote and take part in activities, which cause the deaths of so many innocent citizens. I have therefore chosen to address the issues of radicalisation and terrorist recruitment.
Soft and tough. I proposed a set of measures and recommendations, some of them “soft? (such as the study and analysis of the phenomenon and the development of intercultural relations and exchanges especially between young people), and some of them “tough? (such as the prohibition of television programmes that advocate or incite terrorism, because the development of global communication and because of elements of the media that has facilitated the dissemination of violent radical ideas and their potential conversion into terrorist action). These proposals will contribute to the elaboration of a long-term strategy on the subject.
The Third Money Laundering Directive. Preventing terrorists from financing their operations is another key component of the EU counter-terrorism strategy. The Third Money Laundering Directive extends the scope of the anti-money laundering rules to include transactions suspected to be linked to terrorist financing. It also requires that money remittance businesses in the EU should be registered. In July, I proposed measures to tighten controls on money transfers. We want to make sure that a person transferring funds can be more easily identified and traced. And I will soon be producing an “EU Code of Conduct? to prevent misuse of charities by terrorists.
In the pipeline. A wide range of protective measures are currently in the pipeline. Intensive work is being done to strengthen the protection of critical infrastructure in Europe. I launched an option paper on a European Programme for Critical Infrastructure Protection (EPCIP) to improve the protection of key European and national infrastructures. In addition to this there will be the Critical Infrastructure Warning Information Network, which will provide the Member States with a rapid alert capacity concerning threats to their critical infrastructure and which will facilitate the exchange of best practices. This way, more experienced partners will be able to share their knowledge in the interest of greater security for all of Europe. Investing in security research and the promotion of public-private dialogue will also be crucial for enhancing the EU?s protective capacity. Continuing support for the victims of terrorism will be an important element of the EU?s future actions.
Swift, coordinated and efficient. Our response to the terrorist threat must be swift, coordinated and efficient. Those who plan or commit terrorist acts must be caught and brought to justice where they have to be submitted to a fair trial. Undoubtedly, the operational responsibility for these activities falls primarily on national intelligence, law enforcement and prosecution services. My role is to propose EU legislation corresponding to the needs of our common area of security and justice.
By putting forward such instruments as the European Evidence Warrant and the Framework Decision on Combating Terrorism, our potential to respond to terrorist threats has increased dramatically. Our aim is to give the relevant national services suitable tools to efficiently pursue and prosecute terrorists, and to set up frameworks for the exchange of information. This is an area where action at the European level can bring clear benefits.
Criminal Justice. I seek to deepen cooperation in the area of criminal justice. This includes improving the exchange of information contained in criminal records. The work carried out by Eurojust and Europol must be further strengthened.
Principle of availability. I have submitted a proposal on the so-called “principle of availability? to facilitate access to information for law enforcement authorities. We are also preparing specific legislation to inter-connect national DNA databases, in order to accelerate the potential identification of authors of serious crimes such as terrorist attacks.
A response system. A strong response on the part of the EU will require the development of mechanisms to minimise the terrorist threat and the consequences of a potential attack. Only a well-organised and effective response system can guarantee an expeditious return to normality.
A Law Enforcement Network. In an emergency situation, coordination between national law enforcement authorities will be aided by the establishment of a Law Enforcement Network. For the fight against terrorism to be effective, the exchange of information between law enforcement authorities within a Member State and between different Member States is vital.
The “right to security”. As a general remark, I would like to stress that I see no inherent contradiction between the “right to security”, which is basically the right to life, and other fundamental rights. Without security, we cannot enjoy other civil liberties. To be secure is a basic human right! I therefore contest the affirmation that increasing security comes at the expense of civil liberties.
“We remain credible”. What is essential is that we remain credible and adopt counter-terrorism measures that are necessary, proportionate and legitimate for the declared objective. The protection of fundamental rights is deeply rooted in our culture and societies.
A balanced approach. It is a priority for the Commission and for me personally. This is why I am insisting on a balanced approach for enhancing security while safeguarding fundamental rights.
A parallel instrument. Let me illustrate this balanced approach with a very recent example: Sharing information amongst law enforcement and judicial authorities ? such as the recent proposal on the availability principle – requires a parallel instrument on data protection in the law enforcement field, which I submitted at the same time.
International cooperation. Next, I would like to address the international dimension of our counter-terrorism policy. International cooperation in the fight against terrorism is as important as internal EU cooperation because the fight against terrorism is a worldwide issue.
We cannot be complacent .The attacks in London and those that followed around the world, like in Jordan, demonstrate the continuing threat from terrorism. We cannot be complacent. We must all reinforce our support for the UN framework of conventions, resolutions and instruments which set the international norms for counter terrorism action. We must support those third countries which lack the capacity to effectively fight terrorism.
The Commission is working to mainstream counter-terrorism in all its external actions. We are using every opportunity to raise awareness on counter-terrorism in our political dialogue with third countries. We must all become more systematic in our approach to counter-terrorism.
Assistance programmes. Commission assistance programmes renforce UN objectives. In total more than ?400 million of assistance is being provided to around 80 countries. Assistance consists mostly of support for institution building and implementation of international agreements, training for police and law enforcement authorities and capacity building for the judiciary, but also addresses broader issues like development and some of the underlying causes of terrorism. Whilst much is being done there is always the potential to do more and to do better.
UN key role. The EU also supports the key role of the United Nations and will continue to work to ensure universal adherence to all UN Security Council Resolutions, UN Conventions and Protocols relating to terrorism. We fully support the rapid adoption of the UN Comprehensive Convention of Terrorism and effective multilateralism. We also call on all partners to sign the Convention against Nuclear Terrorism.
Taking resolute efforts. The EU supports the message of the UN 2005 World Summit outcome declaration that condemns terrorism “in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whoever, wherever and for whatever purposes.” In taking resolute efforts to combat terrorism, states must ensure that they comply with international law, particularly international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law.
Cooperation with the United States figures particularly prominent in our external relations strategy because our societies are based on common values such as democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. The transatlantic security partnership has a long-standing history and will remain a pillar of our policy. By working together with our transatlantic partners, we will make it as difficult as possible for the terrorists to operate.
Terrorism is international in nature. Terrorist attacks have taken place in the USA, Indonesia, Egypt, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, Madrid and London. This underlines the fact that no purpose is served in distinguishing between the security of citizens inside the European Union and those outside. Terrorism is international in nature. We therefore need to build a network of security to fight the network of terror.
Europe must realize that it can and must be a protagonist in this battle. The successful fight against terrorism requires commitment and concrete action. Only through a joint effort by all European citizens, the Member States and the EU institutions, can we be successful in eradicating the scourge of terrorism.