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8.1.4.  The fight against terrorism inside the European Union

    The common policy for the fight against terrorism has two wings: one in the EU area of freedom, security and justice; and one attached to the European security and defence policy [see section 8.2.3]. In the light of the attacks in the United States on 11 September and following on from the decisions taken since the Tampere European Council, the Justice and Home Affairs Council met on 20 September 2001 to take the necessary measures to maintain the highest level of security and any other measure needed to combat terrorism. It decided to set up within Europol a team of counter-terrorist specialists for which the Member States appoint liaison officers from police and intelligence services specialising in the fight against terrorism, whose remit includes the following tasks: to collect in a timely manner all relevant information and intelligence concerning the current threat; to analyse the collected information and undertake the necessary operational and strategic analysis; to draft a threat assessment document listing targets, damage, potential modi operandi and consequences for the security of the Member States.

    A framework decision aims to approximate the definition of terrorist offences in all Member States, including those offences relating to terrorist groups, and to provide for penalties and sanctions for natural and legal persons who have committed or are responsible for such offences [Directive 2017/541]. A Directive aims at the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing [Directive 2015/849, see section 6.7]. On the other hand, a regulation obliges the Member States to incorporate in new passports a digital photograph and fingerprints of the holder. It also harmonises security standards for the production of passports and other travel documents issued by the Member States [Regulation 2252/2004]. The Judicial Cooperation Unit, Eurojust, brings together Member States' magistrates (prosecutors, judges or police officers) specialising in counter-terrorism in order to examine any measure whereby current investigations into terrorism can be properly coordinated [Decision 2002/187, see section 8.1.2].

    The EU States have decided to step up their cross-border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism and cross-border crime [Decisions 2008/615 and 2008/616] and to improve the cooperation between their special intervention units in crisis situations [Decision 2008/617]. The Police Chiefs Task Force brings together the heads of EU counter-terrorism units in order to discuss further: improved operational cooperation between Member States and third countries; coordination of measures implemented in the Member States to guarantee a high level of security, including in the field of air safety; the missions to be entrusted to the team of counter-terrorist specialists within Europol. A Counter-Terrorism Task Force within Europol and an EU counter-terrorism coordinator within the Council aim to improve coordination and visibility of the EU's actions in this field. A European network for the protection of public figures, consisting of national police services and other competent services, aims at developing common approaches and promoting the exchange of information, the selection and the training of appropriate staff [Decision 2002/956].

    The Council invited Member States to ratify the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, and to take the implementing measures necessary. The European Union and the Member States review the relevant EC and EU instruments in order to achieve greater coherence and effectiveness as well as ensuring that banking systems do not facilitate the generation and transfer of terrorist funds, including those resulting from drugs-related criminal activities [see section 6.7]. The Schengen information system (SIS II) is used by Europol and Eurojust in the fight against terrorism [Regulation 1987/2006, see sections 8.1.2 and 9.2]. The Member States have agreed to enlarge the scope of information exchanges to include all terrorist offences without limiting them to an exhaustive list of individuals and entities, while also making this information available to Europol and Eurojust [Decision 2005/671, last amended by Directive 2017/541].

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