Directive on combatting terrorism: Council confirms agreement with Parliament

Council of the EU
  • 05/12/2016
  • 18:35
  • Press release
  • 716/16
  • Justice
  • Home Affairs
05/12/2016
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Romain Sadet
Press officer (Justice; Corporate communications)
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+32 473865437

On 30 November 2016, the Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) confirmed the agreement reached by the Slovak presidency with the European Parliament on the Directive on combatting terrorism. Today, 5 December, the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs also confirmed that agreement. This confirmation paves the way for the final formal adoption of the directive in the coming months.

To respond to the evolving terrorist threat, the Directive strengthens the EU's legal framework in preventing terrorist attacks by criminalising acts such as receiving training  for terrorism and travel for terrorist purposes, as well as organising or facilitating such travel. It also reinforces the rights for the victims of terrorism. 

Lucia Žitňanská, minister for Justice of Slovakia said: "The agreement we have reached is the right balance between the need to effectively combat new forms of terrorism - in particular foreign fighters - while at the same time safeguarding individual rights and reinforcing protection and rights of victims of terrorism. However, it is just one side of the story. It is a common understanding between the Parliament, the Council and the Commission that a comprehensive response to the evolving terrorist threat have to include effective measures on prevention of radicalisation and an efficient exchange on information on terrorist offences." 

The Directive strengthens and updates the existing Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA, in particular, as it criminalises: 

  • Travelling for terrorist purposes, to counter in particular the phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters. The compromise reached between the institutions will ensure that for example travel to conflict zones with the purpose to join the activities of a terrorist group or travel to a EU Member State with the purpose to commit a terrorist attack will be made punishable. 
  • The organisation and facilitation of such travels, including through logistical and material support, for example the purchase of tickets or planning itineraries;
  • Receiving training for terrorist purposes,  e.g. in the making or use of explosives, firearms, noxious or hazardous substances mirroring the already existing provision of knowingly providing such a training ;
  • Providing or collecting funds with the intention or the knowledge that they are to be used to commit terrorist offences and offences related to terrorist groups or terrorist activities;

The Directive will also complement the current legislation on rights for victims of terrorism. In this respect, the compromise text includes a catalogue of services to meet the specific needs of victims of terrorism, such as the right to receive immediate access to professional support services providing medical and psycho-social treatments, or to receive legal or practical advice, as well as assistance with compensation claims. The emergency response mechanisms immediately after an attacks will be also strengthened. 

The Directive envisages also enhanced rules for exchange of information between the Member States  related to terrorist offences  gathered in criminal proceedings. 

Next steps

With the political agreement confirmed by both institutions the text will now go to revision by lawyer linguists before the final adoption by the Parliament and the Council early next year.

Background 

The proposal was presented in the context of the Renewed EU Internal Security Strategy and following the call of the Council for accelerated action in the aftermath of the Paris attacks of 13 November 2015. It takes into account the requirements stemming from several international texts: 

  • The UN Security Council Resolution 2178 (2014) and the Additional Protocol to the Council of Europe (CoE) Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism, aimed at countering the phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters;
  • The standards of the Financial Action task Force (FATF) regarding the financing of terrorism.