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THE EU FIGHTS AGAINST THE SCOURGE OF TERRORISM
Terrorism takes many forms and uses ever more sophisticated and deadly organizational techniques and operational methods .
Bioterrorism and chemical threats are all too real. Well organized terrorist groups are receiving support from sympathizer networks in many countries, and have rear bases and sizeable financial resources.
The battle against terrorism requires the mobilization of all citizens to guarantee freedom and security for all.
The European Union has strengthened its commitment to fight against terrorism in order to increase its internal security and to assist its international partners in this fight on a global scale. The European Commission stressed the need to identify and address the factors contributing to violent radicalisation. It identifies the policies that could be channelled more effectively towards tackling possible factors that contribute to radicalisation like terrorist propaganda in the media, youth vulnerability, and integration failure.
The existence of money flows which enable terrorists to travel, hide and purchase or produce the means to cause destruction and carnage has led the EU Commission to reflect upon the possible ways to disrupt those flows. To that end, it proposed measures to tighten controls on money transfers and to take up the highly sensitive issue of how to prevent the misuse of non-profit organisations by terrorists to finance their activities. The European Union and its citizens have demonstrated their sympathy with the victims of terrorism on a number of occasions. In 2005, € 2m was allocated for projects proposed by organisations who in one way or another help the victims. Several organisations from across the whole Union benefited from these funds, reflecting the shared solidarity that exists across the EU.
The Commission is working on enhancing work on countering chemical and biological threats too. The evaluation of chemical, biological and radiological threats, the strengthening of preventive measures as well as the ability to respond to possible attacks will continue to be high on the agenda of the Commission and Union. The Commission has been supporting a number of research projects in this field. New preventive measures such as the possibility of creating mobile laboratories that may be deployed in times of crisis will also be explored.
The need to exchange information between law enforcement agencies is among the more important issues. In that context, there was presented a legislative proposal to allow law enforcement authorities to obtain relevant information. This “principle of availability” is intended to become a key instrument in the fight against terrorism.
The EU Commission adopted a proposal to improve police co-operation , especially at the internal borders of the European Union with the purpose not only of standardising, simplifying and accelerating procedures, but also of improving the conditions under which important operational tactics like hot pursuit and surveillance may be made as well as providing the means to enable a more effective and efficient deployment of human and material resources.
On 21 February 2006, the EU Council has adopted a Directive on retention of telecommunications traffic data , based on a Commission proposal presented in September 2005.
The EU approach to combating terrorism also includes a strong focus on enhancing preparedness and improving consequence management . When prevention fails and attacks occur, only a well-organised and effective response system can guarantee an expeditious return to normality. A direct response to terrorist attacks is the responsibility of the national authorities of the affected Member State . However, the assets and capabilities required to handle the consequences of terrorist attacks could exceed the civil protection capabilities of the country affected. This is when the EU can come in. Joint action can ensure a timely and adequate response . A general link has been installed between all specialised Rapid Alert Systems (RAS) that are currently hosted by the Commission by way of a system called ARGUS. This will facilitate coordinated and comprehensive responses by the Commission to emergencies that require action at European level.
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