EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report & EU-US Relationship
Highlights extracted “Key Judgments” section in the Europol report indicate:
- Returning jihadists from conflict zones continue to be a threat to the EU. They return with specific contacts, skills and modi operandi, and the potential intent to apply these in EU Member States.
The connections between terrorist and organised criminal activities appear to be growing. Crime is being extensively used to finance terrorist activities. Criminal activities that terrorist groups are involved in, either through affiliation with individual criminals and criminal groups or through their own operations, can include the trafficking of illegal goods and substances such as weapons and drugs, trafficking in human beings, financial fraud, money laundering and extortion. Separatist terrorist groups such as the PKK/KONGRA-GEL and LTTE are involved in the trafficking of drugs and human beings to raise funds for their terrorism activities. Separatist and ethno-nationalist terrorist groups rely substantially on extortion to finance their activities..
- The economic recession is conducive to political tensions and, in a number of Member States, is triggering both left- and right-wing extremists to demonstrate their views both on the recession’s causes and on the solutions required. This is raising public order concerns and threatening social cohesion. Growing unemployment, especially among young people seeking to enter the job market, has radicalised some youths, even those with relatively high levels of education. In 2010, 45 left-wing and anarchist attacks occurred. The increased use of violence led to six fatalities.
Notwithstanding the on-going discussions between the Commission and the US authorities regarding cooperation in counterterrorism, the following “talking points” in the paper authored by the Heritage Foundation raise some thought provoking issues for the Community:
- “The EU has become a major actor in counterterrorism policymaking. While some policies have aided the fight against global terrorism, many have advanced unnecessary EU programs and created ineffective institutions.
- Although the Islamist terrorist threat requires strong transatlantic cooperation, the EU–U.S. counterterrorism relationship has been marked as much by confrontation as it has by cooperation.
- The European Parliament has challenged two vital data-transfer deals between the EU and the U.S. and will continue to oppose U.S. counterterrorism policies in the future on the basis of enhanced powers granted by the Lisbon Treaty.
- Europe is one of Hezbollah’s primary fundraising bases, yet there is little prospect of the EU adding the terror group to its list of foreign terrorist organizations.
- The U.S. must continue to invest in its bilateral relationships with individual EU states, especially for intelligence-sharing and counterterrorist operations”.