Terrorist attacks across the world, but also in Europe, show the extent of the unabated threat we face from all forms of violent extremism. A strong multilateral partnership is essential to counter effectively such threat, fully respecting human rights and the principles of international law. It is in this spirit that the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU) held their third annual UN-EU Leaders’ Dialogue on Counter-Terrorism on 2 December.
Discussions focused on the political priorities of the EU internal and external action agenda on counter-terrorism and preventing violent extremism, the upcoming Review of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, and on the preparations for the 2021 UN Counter Terrorism Week, where the EU will be actively supporting the first ever Global Congress of Victims of Terrorism. UN and EU representatives recalled that terrorist attacks affect in the gravest way the fundamental principles of our societies, and that the needs of victims of terrorism deserve to be heard and responded to, including through the adoption of protection, support and assistance measures.
In line with the UN-EU Framework on Counter Terrorism signed last year, UN and EU representatives agreed to intensify cooperation on countering terrorism and preventing violent extremism in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the Western Balkans. They also discussed new activities, such as the support to Iraq to improve evidence building relevant to ISIL/Da’esh crimes committed in the country and bring those responsible to justice, or a new project supporting Central Asian countries with the reintegration of children of Foreign Terrorist Fighters and their families.
Participants committed to further exchanges between the EU and the UN in relation to sharing analysis and assessments. In this respect, the EU shared its plans to increase exchanges and cooperation between the EU and the UN with a dedicated Counter-Terrorism liaison officer in the EU Delegation to the United Nations in New York.
The Dialogue was co-chaired by Ms Joanneke Balfoort, Director for Security and Defence Policy at the European External Action Service and Mr Vladimir Voronkov, Under-Secretary-General of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism, with the participation of Mr Gilles de Kerchove, European Union Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, representatives of the European Commission as well as principals and senior representatives of 16 UN Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact entities.