The External Dimensions of Counter-terrorism

The Finnish Institute of International Affairs was conducting a research project entitled “The external dimensions of counter-terrorism”. The project was part of the implementation of the Government Plan for Analysis, Assessment and Research activities (VN-TEAS) and ended in the beginning of 2020.

The fight against terrorism has been one of the key priorities of the EU’s foreign and security policy since the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 2003 Security Strategy. Common strategies on counter-terrorism and on the cooperation between security authorities have shaped the practices and concepts also in countries such as Finland that have not significantly suffered from terrorist attacks. The EU’s 2016 Global Strategy called for enhanced cooperation across agencies, and, for example, resilience building in the EU’s neighbourhood. However, implementing these visions requires fundamental changes to the EU’s security architecture.

The research project focused on counter-terrorism measures in the field of foreign and security policy. Three dimensions of counter-terrorism measures specifically in foreign and security policy have been particularly prominent in recent years: 1) Extension of the use of internal security agencies to third countries, 2) The tools and key focus areas of the European External Action Service and the Neighbourhood Policy, 3) Other cooperation.

Counter-terrorism, including the EU’s policy programmes, has also had an impact on the work of the Finnish authorities. However, administrative borders hinder the ability to see the whole picture. Therefore, comprehensive research is needed on what kind of counter-terrorism measures are being taken in Finnish and EU foreign and security policy. The main objective of the research project was to examine what is the threat level for terrorism and what has been done to counter that threat.

The research project was conducted by Senior Research Fellow Teemu Tammikko and Research Fellow Tuomas Iso-Markku. Research Assistant Anu Ruokamo ( coordinated the project.

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Latest publications

Tammikko, Teemu & Iso-Markku, Tuomas (2019). Reflections on the external dimension of the European Union's counter-terrorism efforts: The case of the Sahel. Council of the European Union, General Secretariat .