Council Conclusions on Combating Terrorism
On 9 June 2022, the JHA Council adopted conclusions on the achievements and next steps in protecting Europeans from terrorism. Combatting terrorism, especially with regard to the return of foreign terrorist fighters and the detection of terrorist individuals in the Schengen area, was one of the priorities of the French Council Presidency in justice and home affairs (→ eucrim 1/2022, 206-207).
The conclusions stressed that the EU is facing a persistent high level of terrorist threat, which is fostered by an unstable international environment. Several recommendations were addressed to the Member States, inter alia:
- To continue discussions on the effective sharing of information on foreign terrorist fighters who constitute a serious threat;
- To issue entry bans on third-country nationals who constitute a threat to national security and to enter these bans into the Schengen Information System (SIS);
- To maximise coordination by furthering cooperation between counter-terrorism authorities and immigration/asylum authorities;
- To coordinate as much as possible their actions and restrictive measures, such as the freezing of assets and economic resources of the persons and organisations concerned.
The Commission was, among other things, invited to do the following:
- Assess legal and technical changes that would allow voluntary Member States to be informed of a hit in the SIS on foreign terrorist fighters who constitute a serious threat, in order to improve information exchange on measures already adopted and currently awaiting implementation (→ eucrim 1/2022, 9-10);
- Consider a legal act allowing the mutual recognition of entry bans on terrorist suspects;
- Examine different solutions that would allow counter-terrorism authorities to be informed about the timing and state of progress of certain procedures of international protection application lodged by an individual posing a terrorist threat;
- Launch a legislative initiative for establishing minimum rules on the definition of criminal offences and sanctions in the field of illicit arms trafficking.
Ultimately, the conclusions highlight the importance of access to digital data, including data retention, encryption, and artificial intelligence.