Joint contribution from Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, and Sir Julian King, European Commissioner for the Security Union
The violence wrought on the citizens of Manchester, London, Paris or Berlin is the same that killed so many in the streets of Alexandria, Saint Petersburg, Teheran and, most recently, Bamako. Terrorism in all its guises is a threat to all of us, within the European Union and beyond its borders. Most of the terrorist attacks in Europe have been carried out by European nationals, many of whom were trained in terrorist strongholds outside our borders. European citizens, radicalised in our cities, have taken up arms as terrorist fighters around the region. The growth of terrorist groups outside Europe has contributed to the spread of vicious ideologies, radicalising vulnerable and angry people worldwide.
As we work to strengthen our internal security and to build a European Security Union, our engagement outside the EU is essential to keeping our citizens safe. On June 19th, the Foreign Affairs Council adopted Conclusions on the EU External Action on counter-terrorism. These provide a further impulse to work with our partners outside the European Union for our common security, for their safety and for ours.
Cooperation on counter-terrorism with our international partners — particularly in the Middle East, North Africa, the Western Balkans and Turkey, but also in the Sahel, the Horn of Africa and the Gulf region — has already grown much stronger over the past two years. The link between internal and external security is now shaping our daily work.
First of all, we are making sure that our partners are capable of contributing to our common security. We are helping them with security sector reform, border controls and aviation security. We are improving our collaboration on monitoring foreign terrorist fighters who return to their home countries — notably, those who return from Syria and Iraq through Turkey. We are working to strengthen our partners’ capabilities to bring to justice and prosecute suspected terrorists — training police officials, prosecutors, judges, and investing in a criminal justice approach to counterterrorism.
Secondly, we are stepping up our cooperation to block all revenues for terrorist groups. Both the Council and the Commission are pushing to increase our support to third countries in their fight against terrorist financing and money laundering. Together with our partners, we are working to identify and halt revenues from all kinds of trafficking: from the smuggling of people, weapons and drugs, to the commerce of stolen cultural goods.
Thirdly, it is also essential that the information we gather outside the European Union contributes in the best possible way to preventing attacks inside our countries. So we are planning to strengthen cooperation and information sharing between our security personnel on the ground — for instance, those dispatched in our CSDP (Common Security and Defence Policy) missions and operations, together with our recently established network of counter-terrorism experts in our delegations to third countries — and our Justice and Home Affairs Agencies, such as Europol, Eurojust, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency and the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training.
Our network of counter-terrorism and security experts in delegations can be essential to performing all these tasks and identifying each country’s specific needs. Experts are today deployed in thirteen countries from the Middle East and North Africa to Western Balkans: we have just decided to expand this network to the Horn of Africa, Central and South East Asia, integrate it better in our daily work, and make it sustainable in time.
As we work to identify and tackle potential threats, we must never forget that prevention is our most effective tool to avoid terrorist attacks on our soil. The work we are carrying out to tackle radicalisation, both at home and beyond our borders, has never been more vital. Youth disenchantment, the shortage of pathways for engaging in our societies and our democracies, a lack of good job opportunities — all these create the breeding ground for terrorist ideologies to spread and prosper. Education and job creation are essential elements of our daily work. Our collective security begins with more just societies both in our region and inside Europe.