Terrorism is one of the most significant security threats in Europe. As it is transnational in character, counterterrorism requires both cooperation between EU member states, and widespread external action. This report examines the latter by focusing on the concepts, actors, policies and practices of the EU’s external counter-terrorism activity.

The EU’s external counterterrorism is performed in four different frameworks: diplomacy, crisis management, external aid, and the external action of EU agencies. All of these have their own policy-making structures with different actors and mandates, and hence the overall picture is complex. Several ongoing institutional reforms add to the complexity.

Although external counterterrorism has its challenges, the EU has shown that it is capable of adjusting the course of its action when the threat perceptions change. It can also bring added value to the counterterrorism action of its member states by developing and promoting common concepts and practices, maintaining an overview of the threat as a whole and facilitating cooperation with different partners. However, the EU’s external counterterrorism is dependent on the ability of the member states to define common goals.

This publication is part of the implementation of the Government Plan for Analysis, Assessment and Research. (tietokayttoon.fi)

Senior Research Fellow
Research Fellow