COUNTER-TERRORISM STRATEGY (14469/1/05)
Letter from the Chairman to Rt Hon Charles
Clarke MP, Secretary of State, Home Office
Sub-Committee F (Home Affairs) of the House
of Lords Select Committee on the European Union considered this
document at a meeting on 1 February.
We agree that, in a matter of this importance,
it is regrettable that the document was not deposited for scrutiny,
with an Explanatory Memorandum, in time for it to be considered
before its adoption. We also doubt whether an Explanatory Memorandum
sent to us "in early December as intended" would have
been of any value given that, as you say, the Strategy was agreed
at the JHA Council on 1-2 December, and thereafter was in practice
not susceptible of amendment.
Since the Strategy has now been adopted, the
question of clearance from scrutiny does not arise. We hope however
you will have put in place arrangements to make sure, not just
that documents are deposited for scrutiny, but that they are deposited
in time to give the Committee a realistic opportunity of expressing
its views to Ministers in advance of any agreement on their content.
2 February 2006
Letter from Tony McNulty MP, Minister
of State, Home Office to the Chairman
I attach the revised EU Action Plan on Terrorism
(not printed) for your consideration. As you will remember, during
the UK Presidency we reorganised it into four headingsPrevent,
Protect, Prosecute (which now replaces what was previously Pursue)
and Respond. The plan measures progress made against objectives
to date, and is a useful framework for EU CT work.
There are two annexes to this version. The first
indicates progress on legislative measures, including international
Treaties and Conventions, as at February. The second is a list
of CT achievements since 2001. Neither of these are contentious
and they are helpful reference documents.
Also attached for Committees' information are:
the EU Counter Terrorism Co-ordinator's (Mr. Gijs De Vries) 6-monthly
report on implementation of the Action Plan from May 19; an updated
list of progress on legislative measures, also done in May; and
an update from Mr. De Vries on Terrorist Financing work from June
This detailed assessment of the various stands
of EU CT work is welcome, and puts pressure on Member States to
take action. We fully support the effective implementation of
the Action Plan and will work closely with the Finnish and German
Presidencies to help resolve any areas of difficulty. We are concerned
not to lose the momentum that we gave EU CT work during our Presidency,
and the revision of the Action Plan and Co-ordinator's report
are important levers in ensuring progress. Some important developments
in the revised Action Plan are identified below, together with
areas of concern for the UK.
As the material is Restricted, the Action Plan
has been sent under cover of this letter rather than accompanied
by an Explanatory Memorandum.
The Prevent strand focuses principally on two
aims: preventing the radicalisation and recruitment of EU citizens,
and preventing terrorists from financing their activities.
Recent reports have included an assessment
of the impact of the July 7 bomb attacks on Muslim communities
within the EU.
A joint strategy paper has been issued
on terrorist financing and all Member States have now ratified
the 1999 UN Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of
Terrorism. A number of other legislative measures have also been
introduced, strengthening the EU's approach to tackling the financing
of terrorist organisations.
NB the dossiers on terrorist financing and on
limiting terrorist access to weapons and explosives have been
moved from the Prosecute to the Prevent strand.
Our view is that the Prevent strand is progressing
along the right lines, albeit somewhat slowly. There is some Commission
funding allocated to this work. For example they are conducting
polls of Member States' minority communities; we await the results
with interest. The Austrian Presidency made some progress on the
media communications strategy, which will go to GAERC on 17 July
for endorsement and to JHA Council on 24 July for final sign off.
The Finnish Presidency has proposed a friends of the presidency
sub-group of media experts to take forward implementation, which
we will support. Separately, we will question the unhelpful inclusion
of financing and access to material in this section, as they would
normally fall under `Prosecute'.
Under the Protect strand, the EU addresses the
need to protect its citizens, infrastructure and borders, and
makes regular assessment of the threat to each.
Two Framework Decisions have been
adopted on the European Programme for Critical Infrastructure
Protection (EPCIP), and discussions continue.
The EU has also adopted a number
of other legislative measures to counter the terrorist threat
to our borders as well as to our transport networks and other
civilian and military targets. The Action Plan also details developments
in EC/US collaboration on the protection of citizens and infrastructure.
The funding of technological and medical research
is also addressed in this strand.
Progress on the EPCIP, which represents the
main programme under the Protect strand, has been slow. A Green
Paper was published in January and the subsequent consultation
phase is now complete. The UK supports the programme but feels
that it should be limited to cross-border infrastructure, focusing
on research and best practice which raises the CIP capability
of Member States without interfering in national security matters.
The Commission is now expected to put forward their proposal in
Within this strand, the EU addresses a number
of areas including the legal framework for fighting terrorism,
sustaining international consensus on fighting terrorism and enhancing
judicial and law enforcement co-operation.
The peer evaluations are now complete.
Member States have been reporting back to the Terrorism Working
Group (TWG) as to how they have responded to the recommendations
made. Furthermore, the implementation of the Framework Decision
on combating terrorism has now been completed by 22 Member States.
The Commission will report back on its implementation by the end
The EU has adopted a number of legislative
measures to assist in both judicial and police co-operation, including
the Council Decision to establish Eurojust.
Thematic SitCen threat assessments
have continued to be used as the basis for informing EU policy
The Austrians have made good progress in taking
forward implementation of the peer evaluations, and have completed
the assessment of the 15 "old" Member States. Once Finland
has heard from the 10 accession states (and Bulgaria and Romania),
the final report will need to capture best practice and remaining
vulnerabilities, as well as possible options for next steps under
the German Presidency. We also hope that the recommendations will
form a basis for bilateral lobbying on capabilities (from eg Mr.
De Vries) and Commission funding to address vulnerabilities in
It is the UK's view that the Austrian Presidency
has been unfocused on the issue of the EU's provision of technical
assistance to third countries, which also falls under "Prosecute".
The UK will work with the Finnish and German Presidencies to encourage
a more flexible approach to third country assistance, in particular
seeking to focus the EU on countries that HMG considers to be
Under the Respond strand, the EU aims to strengthen
its ability to react effectively to a terrorist attack, and to
enhance its crisis and consequence management.
A Council Decision and a Commission
decision on the Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident have
In terms of civilian assistance,
the EU has made further progress on implementing the Solidarity
programme and the guidance on the threat of biological and chemical
agents. Work continues to be done on military databases.
The EU recognises that there is a need to work
further to assist the victims of terrorism; both those directly
affected by a terrorist attack and those who may be discriminated
against as a result of an attack. These have been addressed by
legislative measures adopted during the Austrian Presidency.
The Barnier report on EU crisis management,
in particular on closer consular co-operation, was not favourable
to the UK. However, the draft language in the June Council Conclusions
was better and the Finns are planning to hold bi-laterals with
Member States who had difficulties with the work, which is encouraging.
We will of course keep the Committees abreast
of any further developments in regard to the EU Action Plan on
combating terrorism. We shall endeavour to work with the Presidency
and partners to ensure continued progress on CT measures, and
that Commission resources are devoted to supporting Member States'
activities in the most effective manner.
17 July 2006