Complementary Approaches? A Brief Comparison of EU and United States Counter-Terrorism Strategies Since 2001
(2012) 18 Yearbook of the New Zealand Association for Comparative Law 167-195
31 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2017 Last revised: 11 May 2019
Date Written: 2012
Terrorism presents one of the greatest challenges faced by the world today. In the aftermath of the events of 11 September 2001, both the United States of America and the European Union (EU) developed comprehensive approaches to counter-terrorism. This paper posits that these approaches, while similar, differ in several respects. The United States approach is generally regarded as pre-emptive and often military focused, and seeks to externalise the threat of terrorism, with policies potentially undermining human rights and the rule of law. The EU approach attempts to internalise the terrorism threat and treat it as a criminal offence, with institutional inadequacies potentially limiting the effectiveness of its policies. It is argued that the United States and the EU have taken these different approaches because of differing perceptions of the threat that terrorism poses and their different governance arrangements. Progress in cooperation is currently stunted by the reluctance of both the United States and the EU to make compromises on issues such as privacy standards and the death penalty. It is contended that the United States and the EU must accommodate these differences in order to cooperate at the level of international law, for a more effective transatlantic response to counter-terrorism.
Keywords: Terrorism, United States of America, European Union, Human Rights, Rule of Law, Governance
JEL Classification: K00, K33, K40, K49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation