The European Union counter-terrorism strategy origins, problems, and prospects
Kirkwood, Lea T.
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The European Union (EU) published its first Counter-Terrorism Strategy in December of 2005. After four years of reacting to the major terrorist attacks in the United States in 2001, Madrid in 2004, and London in 2005, the EU has enacted a substantial body of counterterrorism measures across multiple functional areas. The implementation of these actions, however, has not always been consistent or timely, due to a number of issues, including public threat perception, concern over social tensions, and competing national priorities. These roadblocks to a successful counterterrorism policy were often discovered upon new terrorist attacks and a renewed evaluation of EU counterterrorist activity. After the London bombings, the United Kingdom held the EU Presidency and immediately set to work on a strategy to counter terrorism, both similar and subordinate to the 2003 European Security Strategy, which specifically listed terrorism and weapons of mass destruction amoung the top five threats to the EU. The new strategy of 2005 outlines EU efforts over the long term and provides a tool for public information. Despite the EU's embrace of its new strategy, the document has many shortcomings. Evaluation of this strategy against a series of counterterrorism best practices accumulated from the work of functional and scholarly experts shows several areas in which the effectiveness of this strategy to successfully affect terrorism is severely limited. In all, the European Union Counter-Terrorism Strategy serves limited use as a strategy document, but does serve to guide the EU's efforts in fighting terrorism, as well as deepen EU integration in security affairs and in justice and law enforcement.
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