Directive on combating terrorism

[Proposed Directive on combating terrorism to bring EU law into line with the requirements of UN Security Council Resolution 2178.]

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from Commission: COM(2015) 625 final, 2 December 2015

Final text: DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on combating terrorism and replacing Council Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA and amending Council Decision 2005/671/JHA (pdf) and: Joint statement by the Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission (pdf)


Proposed Directive on combating terrorism to bring EU law into line with the requirements of UN Security Council Resolution 2178. It will replace the current Framework Decision on combating terrorism, introduced in 2002 and amended in 2008.

Does not apply to UK, Ireland or Denmark


EP committee

Monika Holmeier (EPP) appointed as rapporteur for LIBE on 11 January 2016. Position on proposal adopted 12 July 2016.
EP plenary

Vote on 15 February, text approved.

5 December 2016: Directive on combatting terrorism: Council confirms agreement with Parliament (Council press release, link)

21 November 2016: Outcome of the final trilogue with a view to agreement (Brussels, 17 November 2016) (14673/16)

11 November 2016: Consolidated text (14238/16): The Council's preferred final version of the text for the seventh (and in theory final) trilogue.

26 October 2016: Consolidated text (13686/16): The Council's preferred version of the text in preparation for the sixth trilogue meeting with the Parliament.

30 September 2016: Follow-up to the third trilogue of 28 September 2016 (12736/16): highlights a number of outstanding issues, in particular the criminalisation of travel for terrorist purposes.

15 July 2016: Exchange of views on the LIBE orientation vote of 4 July 2016 (11169/16): This 4-column trilogue document sets out the Commission proposal, the positions of the Council and the European Parliament and the "compromise" position.

3 March 2016: General approach (6655/16): "The Council is invited to reach a general approach on the text, as set out in the Annex, which will constitute the basis for future negotiations with the European Parliament in the context of the ordinary legislative procedure."

23 February 2016: Examination of the revised text (6326/16, pdf): Further proposals for discussion amongst national delegations. Covers travel, financing, relationship to terrorist offences and offences related to terrorist activities, jurisdiction, victims' rights, transposition and introduces "a number of new elements": cyber-attacks, glorification, investigative tools and others.

12 February 2016: Examination of the revised text (5982/16, pdf): "The present text seeks to reflect the balance of positions expressed by delegations and to address the outstanding issues in a global framework that could serve as a basis for the final compromise."

13 January 2016: Member States on Commission's proposal: Compilation of replies (5201/16, pdf): contains the detailed views of the governments of Germany, Finland, France, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK. See also: 5201/16 COR 1 (pdf)

16 December 2015: Comparison table of new proposals and existing EU rules (15279/15, pdf)


In early December 2015, shortly after terrorist attacks on cafés and nightclubs in Paris, the Commission published its proposal for a Directive on combating terrorism. This will replace the EU's 2002 Framework Decision on combating terrorism (2002/475/JHA), which was amended in 2008 (by Framework Decision 2008/919/JHA). The EU is already a signatory to a Protocol to the Council of Europe Convention on combating terrorism, but is obliged to introduce its own criminal law provisions in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2178 (September 2014). The Commission's proposals also include further measures.

One of the key targets of the proposal is the "foreign fighter", who becomes "radicalised" in Europe, travels to Iraq, Syria or elsewhere to fight for a terrorist group, and then returns to Europe, potentially willing to carry out terrorist attacks. Thus, implementing the requirements of UN Security Council Resolution 2178, the proposed Directive would criminalise "receiving training for terrorism, travelling abroad for terrorism and the organising or otherwise facilitating travelling abroad for terrorism," and the "financing of travelling abroad for terrorism".

The Commission also decided to propose the criminalisation of a number of other actions: "attempt of recruitment and training, travel abroad with the purpose of participating in the activities of a terrorist group, and the financing of the various terrorist offences defined in the draft Directive."

Despite this extensive array of proposals, the Commission declined to subject them to an "impact assessment", citing "the urgent need to improve the EU framework security in the light of recent terrorist attacks." Impact assessments are supposed to be used to "set out the logical reasoning that links the problem (including subsidiarity issues), its underlying drivers, the objectives and a range of policy options to tackle the problem. They must present the likely impacts of the options, who will be affected by them and how."

Nevertheless, the Commission's need for speed may be undermined by the Member States. A number of them objected to the proposed implementation deadline of 12 months after the measure is passed, citing the need to account for domestic parliamentary and legal procedure. A whole host of more immediate measures have been introduced over the last year in the attempt to deal with terrorism within Europe.

Background and further reading

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