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Counter-Terrorism Coordinator

On 19 September 2007 Gilles de Kerchove was appointed EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator. In this function, he is in charge of:

  • coordinating the work of the Council in combating terrorism
  • maintaining an overview of all the instruments at the European Union's disposal, to regularly report to the Council and effectively follow up Council decisions
  • presenting policy recommendations and proposing priority areas for action to the Council, based on threat analysis and reports produced by the EU Intelligence Analysis Centre and Europol
  • closely monitoring the implementation of the EU counter-terrorism strategy
  • coordinating with the relevant preparatory bodies of the Council, the Commission and the EEAS and sharing information with them on his activities
  • ensuring the EU plays an active role in the fight against terrorism
  • improving communication between the EU and third countries in this area

In the strategic guidelines for justice and home affairs (June 2014) the European Council reaffirmed the importance of the role of the counter-terrorism coordinator. 

Press material

Most recent areas of activity

Foreign fighters and returnees 

Since March 2013 the Counter-Terrorism Coordinator has regularly briefed the Council on the issue of foreign fighters and returnees, with particular regard to those travelling to Syria and Iraq. In June 2013, the JHA Council adopted a package of 22 measures related to foreign fighters, suggested by the CTC. As a follow up, in December 2013, the Coordinator presented a report identifying four areas where EU support to member states would be particularly important. 

During 2014, the Counter-Terrorism Coordinator has regularly submitted to the Council progress reports on the implementation of measures agreed by the ministers, as well as proposals for future work. In addition, he has met with authorities from third countries and international institutions, to discuss the threat and identify possible areas of cooperation.

Following the terrorist attacks in Paris on January 2015, the Counter-Terrorism Coordinator has taken part in the discussions on enhancing the EU's counter terrorism response, both at the Foreign Affairs Council meeting (19 January) and at the informal meeting of ministers of Justice and Home Affairs (29 January).

International cooperation  

As part of his role of fostering better communication between the EU and third countries in the area of counter-terrorism, the coordinator participates in dialogues with government officials and other stakeholders. To this end, Gilles de Kerchove has travelled to several countries to engage in high level political dialogues and speak with experts, policy makers and civil society. He has also examined possibilities for further cooperation and counter-terrorism capacity building, and attended and spoken at conferences. 

In 2014, Gilles de Kerchove visited countries in North Africa, the Gulf, Central Asia and North America

Between 30 November and 3 December 2014, Gilles de Kerchove visited Cairo, where he met with the Egyptian authorities and the League of Arab States. Foreign fighters and the situation in the Sinai were among the topics of discussion.

The Counter-Terrorism Coordinator also visited Iraq, between the 1-4 November 2014, together with the EEAS managing director. The discussions focused on the current situation, the policies of the new government and the Kurdistan region, and the response to ISIL, as well as identifying possible areas for cooperation.

The Coordinator was also in Lebanon on the 25-26 October, to discuss ISIL, Syria, Iraq and the spill-over effects to Lebanon. After this visit, he continued to Turkey, together with the Commission Director for security (DG Home) and the EEAS Director for Multilateral issues. The discussion there focused on the exchange of information and possible areas for EU counter-terrorism capacity building. This visit was a follow up to the joint mission in April 2014.

Monitoring of existing tools

The Counter-Terrorism Coordinator regularly presents to the Council reports on the functioning and implementation of the existent counter-terrorism tools at EU level. At a December 2014 Council meeting, ministers took note of two reports from the Counter-Terrorism Coordinator: