The terrorist attacks faced by EU member states from 2015 until today, they have made terrorism the main threat to European security, but also an important issue in public debate. As expected, the EU adopted a series of measures at strategic, institutional and operational level to respond to the threat of terrorism.

However, since 2001 the EU gradually created its own counter- terrorism architecture. The purpose of this paper is to present the evolution of the institutional architecture of the fight against EU terrorism and to emphasize the new Agenda and the framework of political and operational responses that will shape the responses of the Union and the Member States by 2025.

  • In the aftermath of the tragic attacks of September 11 in the USA, the EU took steps that gradually made it a distinct actor in the fight against terrorism.
  • In 2005, the first integrated institutional and political architecture of the EU was created to tackle terrorism and radicalization leading to violent extremism.
  • The EU Strategy adopted in 2005 (EU Counter Terrorism Strategy), outlined the overall policy framework of the Union and focused on four main pillars of action: a) prevention, b) protection, c) prosecution and d) response.
  • The EU had adopted an anti-terrorism architecture that emphasizes the entire political and operational cycle of counter-terrorism.
  • The new overall framework for the fight against terrorism is set by the Security Union Strategy adopted in July 2020.
  • The new architecture is based, like the corresponding one of 2005, on four pillars: a) Anticipation, b) Prevention, c) Protection and d) Response.
  • The emphasis on anticipation and prevention is the only effective initiative in tackling lone actors.
  • Early risk identification and standard security plans for critical infrastructure and public spaces will be a catalyst for enhanced protection.
  • Victims support is also an important part of the response.
  • The new architecture prioritizes the interconnection of the internal and external dimension of security in the fight against terrorism.

You may read the Policy brief by Dr. Triandafyllos Karatrantos, ELIAMEP Research Fellow, here (in Greek).