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Council document outlines implementation of Europol/INTCEN recommendations against foreign fighters
20.6.17
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In December 2016 a series of joint recommendations on dealing with foreign terrorist fighters were issued by Europol, the EU's policing agency, and INTCEN, the intelligence centre of the European External Action Service. A note sent to the Council of the EU's internal security committee (COSI) on 9 June outlines actions that are being taken to implementation the recommendations.

See: Council of the EU: NOTE from: Presidency to: Delegations: Update on the conclusions, recommendations and way forward on the INTCEN and Europol threat assessments mechanism (6699/2/17 REV 2, LIMITE, 9 June 2017, pdf):

"Due to the fact that the findings do not point towards any major new developments, the six recommendations agreed in December 2016 remain valid. In Annex, the Presidency has indicated actions undertaken to implement the recommendations endorsed."

The actions are listed in the document. The recommendations are as follows:

1. With a view to improve detection of terrorist suspects (and in particular foreign terrorist fighters), ongoing work on exchange of information and interoperability as well as on the (national) cooperation between law enforcement and intelligence authorities needs to be continued.

2. To address the issue of returnees it is necessary to further work towards a common EU approach for returnees, taking into account the situation in the EU Member States. Building upon the paper of the CTC, the discussions in the G15 and ongoing work by the Commission services, the EEAS and the Radicalisation Awareness Network, a discussion in the JHA Council could give guidance to COSI and relevant working parties to come with concrete operational recommendations or proposals.

3. Explore possible areas of practical cooperation between the Counter Terrorism Group (CTG) and Europol, while fully respecting the sole competence of Member States for national security. Lessons learned from recent attacks clearly show that (efficient national) cooperation between law enforcement and intelligence actors is needed, maintaining a clear distinction between criminal intelligence and security intelligence. For further strengthening of cooperation between intelligence and law enforcement efforts at national level are crucial.

4. Prepare a discussion at the political level on various aspects of terrorist travel, for example exploitation of illegal migration networks by terrorists’ travel, exploring whether there is a need to exchange information on criminal antecedents of foreign terrorist fighters and how to prevent violent radicalisation, focusing on priority areas, inter alia in asylum centres.

5. The question of possible links between organized crime and terrorism needs to be further analysed, including the use by terrorists of human smuggling networks and access to illegal weapons.

6. In accordance with efforts underway within the EU Internet Forum, Member States are encouraged to second experts to the EU IRU, in order to increase the volume of referrals to deal with terrorist use of the internet. Member States are also encouraged to cooperate closely with and complement relevant EU initiatives such as the European Strategic Communication Network and the EU Civil Society Empowerment Programme.

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