Reflections on the Terrorist Attacks in Barcelona: Constructing a Principled and Trust-Based EU Approach to Countering Terrorism

CEPS Policy Insight, No 2017-32, August 2017; ISBN: 978-94-6138- 635-9

18 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2017

See all articles by Sergio Carrera

Sergio Carrera

Centre for European Policy Studies

Elspeth Guild

Radboud University Nijmegen - Faculty of Law; Kingsley Napley - Department of Immigration; The British Institute of International and Comparative Law; London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Valsamis Mitsilegas

Queen Mary University of London, School of Law

Date Written: August 29, 2017

Abstract

This Policy Insight examines EU counter-terrorism policies in the aftermath of the recent terrorist attacks of 18 August 2017 in Catalonia and explores what more the EU can do to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of those policies. To this end, it puts forward two policy recommendations:

The EU should construct and progressively develop a principled and trust-based policy approach to countering terrorism. Such an approach would consist of an evaluation (fitness check) and regular reappraisal of the effectiveness and efficiency of current EU policies and their priorities – particularly those related to information exchange (and interoperability) and countering radicalisation.

The authors argue that the EU’s present policy is based on two long-standing (mis)conceptions, namely that existing priorities and instruments are effective in preventing, investigating and prosecuting terrorist crimes and that EU principles and fundamental rights act as obstacles to efficient law enforcement. They examine these two conceptions and call for them to be reconsidered in light of existing research and evidence, explaining how they have led to what may be called the “EU liberal paradox”. This paradox relates not only to the deleterious impact that counter-terrorism policies have on the EU and national constitutional principles, which terrorism seeks to destroy, but also the questionable extent to which the objectives pursued in EU security policies and tools are efficiently met in their implementation and practical uses.

If EU policies aimed at tackling terrorism are not properly informed and tested, and their societal impacts and ethical implications rigorously assessed, the result will be a lack of mutual confidence between EU and state law enforcement authorities and judicial practitioners, as well as social mistrust on the part of citizens and communities. The conclusions outline a set of recommendations for the next phases of the European Agenda on Security aimed at implementing a principled and trust-based EU approach in countering terrorism.

Keywords: EU counter-terrorism policies, terrorist attacks, terrorism, radicalisation, EU liberal paradox, EU security policies

Suggested Citation

Carrera, Sergio and Guild, Elspeth and Mitsilegas, Valsamis, Reflections on the Terrorist Attacks in Barcelona: Constructing a Principled and Trust-Based EU Approach to Countering Terrorism (August 29, 2017). CEPS Policy Insight, No 2017-32, August 2017; ISBN: 978-94-6138- 635-9 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3053795

Sergio Carrera (Contact Author)

Centre for European Policy Studies ( email )

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Elspeth Guild

Radboud University Nijmegen - Faculty of Law ( email )

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Kingsley Napley - Department of Immigration ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.kingsleynapley.co.uk/our-people/the-partners/elspeth-guild.htm

The British Institute of International and Comparative Law ( email )

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London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Valsamis Mitsilegas

Queen Mary University of London, School of Law ( email )

67-69 Lincoln’s Inn Fields
London, WC2A 3JB
United Kingdom

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