The EU Counter – Terrorism Policy Responses to the Attacks in Paris

This paper examines the main EU-level initiatives that have been put forward in the weeks following the attacks in Paris in January 2015, which will be discussed in the informal European Council meeting of 12 February 2015. It argues that a majority of these proposals predated the Paris shootings and had until that point proved contentious as regards their efficacy, legitimacy and lawfulness. The paper finds that EU counterterrorism responses raise two fundamental challenges:

  • A first challenge is posed to the freedom of movement, Schengen and EU citizenship. Priority is being given to the expanded use of large-scale surveillance and systematic monitoring of all travellers including EU citizens, which stands in contravention of Schengen and the free movement principle.
  • A second challenge concerns EU democratic rule of law. Current pressures calling for the adoption of measures such as the EU Passenger Name Record challenge the scrutiny roles held by the European Parliament and the Court of Justice of the EU on counterterrorism measures in a post-Lisbon Treaty setting.

The paper proposes that the EU adopts a new European Agenda on Security and Liberty based on an EU security (criminal justice-led) cooperation model that is firmly anchored in current EU legal principles and rule of law standards. This model would call for ‘less is more’ concerning the use, processing and retention of data by police and intelligence communities. Instead, it would pursue better and more accurate use of data meeting the quality standards of evidence in criminal judicial proceedings.

Authors: Didier Bigo is Director of the Centre d’Etudes sur les Conflits, Liberté et Sécurité (CCLS) and Professor at Sciences-Po Paris and King’s College London. Evelien Brouwer is Associate Professor at VU University Amsterdam (The Netherlands). Sergio Carrera is Senior Research Fellow and Head of the Justice and Home Affairs section at CEPS. Elspeth Guild is Associate Senior Research Fellow at CEPS and Jean Monnet Professor ad personam at Queen Mary, University of London as well as at the Radboud University Nijmegen. Emmanuel-Pierre Guittet is Lecturer at the University of Manchester. Julien Jeandesboz is an Assistant Professor at the University of Amsterdam. Francesco Ragazzi is Lecturer at the University of Leiden. Amandine Scherrer is European Studies Coordinator and Associate Researcher at CCLS.

Download the study