Does Terrorism Change Europe? - Terrorism related politics and resilience

By invitation only

Fri 22.11.2013 at 9:00-10:30
Finnish Institute of International Affairs
Kruunuvuorenkatu 4, 2nd floor

Counterterrorism efforts in Europe have included synchronization of legislation on terrorism crimes, enforcing and facilitating police cooperation, making surveillance and security methods more effective and critical infrastructure more robust. Terrorism has also been very visible in political speeches, social programs against radicalization, terrorist trials and memorial sites for the victims of terrorism. In sum, terrorism and counterterrorism have been diffused to many areas in society also in countries where terrorism itself is not regarded as a likely problem, such as Finland. The question is therefore, has terrorism changed Europe, and if so, how?   

09.00 Does terrorism change Europe? - Norwegian and Spanish experiences
Opening remarks by Bart Gaens, Acting Programme Director of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs

The impact of terrorist trials on the state, law and society 
Liesbeth van der Heide & Daan Weggemans, Center for Terrorism and Counterterrorism, University of Leiden
The Ambiguities of Resilience: Building a New Utøya
Charlotte Heath-Kelly, University of Warwick Institute of Advanced Studies

The case law of Spanish courts as well as of the ECHR illegalizing Basque political parties
Carlos Fernández de Casadevante, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos

Governance and terrorism related crises: Norway vs. Spain
Teemu Sinkkonen, the Finnish Institute of International Affairs

Chair: Leena Malkki, University lecturer at the Network for European Studies, University of Helsinki

Summary of the seminar: 

The seminar "Does Terrorism Change Europe – Norwegian and Spanish Experiences”, opened by Dr Bart Gaens, (Acting Programme Director, the Finnish institute of Foreign Affairs) and Dr Leena Malkki (University lecturer, University of Helsinki),focused on terrorism related politics and resilience. The opening remarks stressed topics’ importance and its’ possibility to deepen knowledge about resilience policy. The seminar consisted of four presentations: first two addressed the Norwegian experiences; third one the Spanish experience and the last one compared the two countries.

The presentation of Dr Liesbeth van der Heide and Dr Daan Weggemans (Centre for Terrorism and Counterterrorism (CTC) at Leiden University) under the topic "Dealing with terrorism trials: a resilience-oriented approach” concentrated on their research on terrorism trials – the research on the trial of Anders Behring Breivik in Norway. A terrorism trial is a continuity of terrorist violence.  In context of terrorism trials, political resilience refers to the capacity of the legal system to proactively deal with the threat and recover through the trial from the terrorist attack. These trials differ in the horizontal accent: either the prosecution and authorities run the show or the terrorists run the show. Terrorism trials are significant because they help people to cope after terrorist violence.  Terrorism puts forward the question of prevention, and it forces to consider how to manage with the experience of terrorist violence. Terrorism trials have a preventative and stabilising role in society. Furthermore communication between a terrorist and a state or society happens in the court.  The outcome of the trial should be a hygienic condition, however if the outcome is not positive, trauma’s will subsists and conspiracy theories will gain power. 

The presentation of Dr Charlotte Heath-Kelly (University of Warwick, Politics department) concentrated on the ambiguities of resilience.  She argued that the resilience policy is unsuitable for framing the recovery of the urban space after terrorism and the resilience is anticipatory and infrastructure focused. Her arguments were based on discussion of resilience policy and the fieldwork in Norway with ‘New Utøya’ project and debates around Norwegian Government Quarter.  She found that the resilience policy focuses on systems and infrastructure rather than enemies and the resilient recovery focuses to return the infrastructure to normal function. But the resilience policy does not comprehend social or cultural dimensions of space, nor memorials or redevelopment- although understanding these is important for equilibrium. In this sense resilience fails.  In Dr Heath-Kelly’s opinion recovery of the space requires public consultations, patience and sensitivity to spatial meanings. Additionally there should be more courage to not apply ‘systems’ too heavily.
Dr Carlos Fernandez de Casadevanti’s (Universidad Rey Carlos Juan) presentation concentrated on the illegalisation of political parties in Spain. In Spain pro-independence or separatist parties are not forbidden by Spanish legal order.  But if a political party has connection to the terrorist organisation ETA it can be forbidden on the basis of the Institutional Law 6/2002. The Institutional Law 6/2002 sets criteria for a political party. According to the regulations for example a party cannot breach of constitutional values, democracy or the rights of citizens. For three political parties Herri Batasuna, Batasuna and Euskal Herritarrok a unanimous judgement by Supreme Court was given on March 27, 2003 on the basis of the Institutional Law. These political parties don’t fulfil the criteria set in the law as the parties have been tightly controlled by ETA.   

The presentation of Dr Teemu Sinkkonen (Researcher, the Finnish Institute of International Affairs) focused on governing terrorism-caused crises: he compared the governing styles in Norway and Spain after a terrorist attack. Governing or governance is the process of management and rule that involves the arrangement and interaction of national socio-political actors, institutions, processes and structures. Crisis aftermaths are complex as they include several actors, such as governmental actors, political forces, media and social media. There are two social responses to terrorism: rally-around the-flag effect, which refers to the support for the leaders and low political activity, and the level of social cohesion. In Norway and Spain the social responses to terrorism related crisis were different. In Spain the aftermath can be described in the following way: from national trauma to party politics. The protests against Prime Minister Aznar’s government present the ideological fragmentation and the loss of his party in the next elections demonstrate that there was no rally-around-the-flag-effect.  In Norway the aftermath can be described as the de-politicization of a partisan attack. There were no street protest, which shows the social cohesion, and Prime Minister Stoltenberg’s support raised and his party was successful in the next elections, in other words the rally-around-the-flag effect existed in Norway.  In his conclusion Dr Sinkkonen noted that the Crisis Governance is important, but nowadays it is impossible to control the information flows. Besides the information given about the terrorism-crisis, also the performance style is important. Active role should be given to people as it is important in the coping process. Existing fragmentations in a society are tested in the times of crisis and through the resilience policies these should be addressed.  

In the end the floor was open for questions and comments. These questions and comments concentrated on the history of terrorism and the feeling of protection.