EU leaders vow to boost operational co-operation on terrorism

At the European Council, EU leaders set the direction for future work on terrorism. They agreed to reinforce practical co-operation and integrate terrorism in the relationship between the EU and third countries.

EU leaders have reviewed the progress made since the adoption,a
few days after the 11 March terrorist attacks in Madrid, of the
declaration on combating terrorism. While several agreements have
been reached in the past twelve weeks, some key measures, such as
the European Arrest Warrant, initially due to be implemented in
January 2004, have still not been implemented in all Member
States.

EU leaders welcomed the proposals by EU foreign and security
policy chief Javier Solana on integrating an EU intelligence
capacity on the internal and external terrorist threats in the
Council Secretariat and re-establishing the Counter Terrorism Task
Force within Europol. Javier Solana has been asked to implement
such arrangements as soon as possible and report on progress to the
December 2004 European Council (see

).

The European Council conclusions underline that "the appointment
of an EU counter-terrorism co-ordinator will help to improve
co-ordination and visibility of the EU's actions in this
field".

The European Council has set priorities for EU action on
terrorism and deadlines for the Council to reach agreement on:

  • preparation of an overall strategy to enhance the protection of
    critical infrastructures (end 2004)
  • exchange of information and cooperation concerning terrorist
    offences and on retention of communications data (June 2005)
  • simplifying the exchange of information and intelligence
    between law enforcement agencies (December 2005).

Other anti-terrorist measures include:

  • setting up an information policy for law enforcement
  • drawing up a coherent overall approach on terrorist
    financing
  • assessing the capabilities of Member States both in preventing
    and coping with the consequences of any type of terrorist
    attack.

Furthermore, EU leaders want the fight against terrorism to be
integrated into EU external relations policy. The European Council
conclusions underline that "combating terrorism must be a key
element in political dialogue with third countries, with emphasis
on ratification and implementation of International Conventions,
preventing the financing of terrorism, addressing factors which
contribute to terrorism, as well as non-proliferation and arms
control". EU leaders also emphasised that "solidarity and
international co-operation are integral to combating terrorism and
to addressing its root causes" and said the EU is seeking to
co-operate more closely with international organisations,
particularly the UN, and to maintain the closest possible
co-ordination with the United States and other partners. Terrorism
will figure high on the agenda of the EU-US Summit - where a joint
statement is due to be adopted on 26 June 2004.

 

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