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The European Union Counter-Terrorism Strategy

To combat terrorism effectively, the EU proposes to organise its actions around four objectives: prevention, protection, pursuit and response.


The "Prevention" pillar aims to combat radicalisation and recruitment of terrorists by identifying the methods, propaganda and the instruments used by terrorists. Although these challenges lie with the Member States, the EU helps to coordinate the national policies, determine good practice and share information. The Council adopted an EU strategy for combating radicalisation and recruitment to terrorism, which was revised in June 2014 to take into account evolving trends, such as the phenomena of lone actors and foreign fighters or the growing potential of social media for mobilisation and communication. In December 2014, the justice and home affairs ministers adopted a series of guidelines for the revised EU radicalisation and recruitment strategy, setting out a series of measures to be implemented by the EU and member states.


The "Protection" pillar aims to reduce the vulnerability of targets to attack and to limit the resulting impact of attack. It proposes to establish collective action for border security, transport and other cross-border infrastructures. In this area, the EU is currently working on legislation regulating the use of passenger name record (PNR) data for law enforcement purposes.


The aim of the third pillar is to pursue terrorists across borders, while respecting human rights and international law. The EU wishes first and foremost to cut off access to attack materials (arms, explosives, etc.), disrupt terrorist networks and recruitment agents and tackle the misuse of non-profit associations. The second aim of pursuing terrorists is to put an end to sources of terrorist financing by carrying out inquiries, freezing assets and impeding money transfers (which also concerns the “protection” aspect). In this regard, in May 2015, the Council and the European Parliament adopted new rules to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing. The third aim is to put an end to the planning of terrorist activities by impeding the communication and dissemination of terrorists' technical knowledge, especially via the Internet.


The risk of terrorist attacks cannot be reduced to zero. It is for Member States to be able to deal with them when they occur. The response systems to terrorist attacks will often be similar to those in place to manage natural, technological or man-made disasters. To make provision, full use should be made of the existing structures and European civil protection mechanisms. An EU database lists the resources and assets which Member States could mobilise in the case of a terrorist attack.

type: Strategy

Reference number: 14469/4/05

Issue date: 30-11-05

Official Journal: Not published in the Official Journal


Uploads: ST_14469_2005_REV_4_EN