European Union External Action

EU actions to counter Da’esh

Bruxelles, 09/02/2018 - 09:47, UNIQUE ID: 170322_11

The European Union is fully committed to fighting terrorism, both inside and outside the European territory, with its prime objective being to eradicate Da’esh and other terrorist groups. Our support is based on a criminal-justice approach, in full compliance with international law, fundamental values and international human-rights standards.


The European Union is fully committed to fighting terrorism, both inside and outside the European territory, with its prime objective being to eradicate Da'esh and other terrorist groups. EU actions are comprehensive and wide-ranging   from preventing radicalisation and violent extremism, to countering terrorism through non-military means, as well as support for rehabilitation and reconciliation to communities in the post-conflict phase. Our support is based on a criminal-justice approach, in full compliance with international law, fundamental values and international human-rights standards.

Following the adoption of the EU Regional Strategy for Syria and Iraq, as well as the ISIL/Da'esh threat, reviewed in May 2016, the EU has stepped up its bilateral and multilateral engagement with international partners, including the United Nations (UN), the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), and the Global Coalition against Da'esh. The common aim is to stem the spread of Foreign Terrorist Fighters, stabilise areas liberated from Da'esh, squeeze Da'esh finances and counter Da'esh messages. Combatting Da'esh in the long-term requires addressing the political and socio-economic root causes that have facilitated the spread of terrorism.

Specific EU actions in counterterrorism

Dedicated counterterrorism structures have been set up within the EU institutions and across the global network of EU Delegations, in view of enhancing and coordinating the fight against terrorism, notably  against Da'esh. So far, 13 Counterterrorism experts have been deployed to key EU Delegations, to liaise with local authorities and contribute to joint counter-terrorism efforts.

Concrete Counterterrorism Action Plans  have been  already finalised with Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Israel and Tunisia.  The Counterterrorism Action Plan with Iraq is close to finalisation. On the latter, in coordination with the UN and the Global Coalition against Da'esh, the EU is engaging in substantial work  with the Iraqi intelligence community directly.

The total amount of EU funding for projects aimed at Preventing/Countering Violent Extremism today is €300 million. The focus of such projects is primarily on the Middle East and North Africa, but the Western Balkans, Turkey, Central Asia and Pakistan also fall within the geographical scope.

The EU works with a range of actors including NGOs, local municipalities and religious organisations to provide alternative pathways and to research the drivers behind radicalisation; it also provides support to security agencies with an eye to enhancing operational capabilties in fields such as integrated border management and counterterrorism. 

Preventing the diversion of arms and dual-use goods to terrorists is a guiding principle of the EU's export-control rules. To identify diversion, the EU supports the tracking of supplies of arms and bomb-making materials to terrorist organisations, including Da'esh.

The EU transposed into binding EU law UN Security Council Resolution 2253/2015, which prohibits making economic resources available to Da'esh. This prohibition applies to both direct and indirect trade in oil.

The EU has adopted a broad range of measures that support the Global Coalition in its fight against Da'esh, including in Iraq and Syria, through non-military means, including in the judicial sector, to bring Da'esh to Justice, to collect evidence in the battlefield and deal with mass graves. The EU is member of four of the Coalition's working groups (on foreign terrorist fighters, Anti-Money Laundering / Counter-financing of Terrorism, Communications and Stabilisation). Synergies between existing projects of the Global Coalition Communication Cell and those of the EU are pursued , e.g. in Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia.


The stabilisation of liberated areas in Iraq has been a major priority for the EU. As co-chair of the Global Coalition´s sub-working group on explosive hazards mitigation, the EU has provided €6.3 million to enable the United Nations Mine Actions Service (UNMAS) to return to Iraq. The EU, together with UNMAS and Global Coalition partners, has been instrumental in establishing an integrated and blended approach to the "demining" challenge in Iraq and in managing donor coordination. These efforts have leveraged contributions of over €200 million to explosive hazard mitigation in Iraq from all donors. The EU has also provided €64.4 million to the UN Development Programme's Funding Facilities for Stabilisation.

Support to the security sector and the rule of law are essential components of the EU's contribution to the stabilisation of Iraq. €16 million are being dedicated to projects in areas liberated from Da'esh, such as police training, the improvement of Iraqi counterterrorism efforts, including the interoperability of Iraqi security services, the development of a human-rights compliant Iraqi counterterrorism strategy and other legislative and administrative measures. In November 2017, the EU deployed a civilian mission to support Iraqi civilian security sector reform and provide strategic advice and assistance in areas such as counterterrorism and fighting organised crime.

These actions are providing continuity to previous EU interventions which have supported   stabilisation efforts in Iraq reducing tensions between Internally Displaced Persons and host communities through a €3.5 million contribution. In view of achieving long-term stability in Iraq, the EU also supported national and community reconciliation plus local governments   through several actions.

The EU is at the forefront of the humanitarian response in Iraq to support the victims of the conflict, having delivered a total amount of €370 million since 2014.


The primary objetive of the European Union in Syria is to reach an end to the conflict through a genuine political settlement in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254/2015 and to decisively defeat Da'esh and other terrorist organisations. This can only be achieve through a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political transition, which would bring lasting peace to the country and enable Syrians to return to their homes in safeand dignified conditions and contribute to the reconstruction of the country.

Since the beginning of the conflict, the European Union has allocated more than €1 billion in assistance to the Syrian population living inside Syria, including Internally Displaced persons and their host communities, in particular €740 million to cover humanitarian needs.

To promote resilience and stabilisation, at least €13.7 million have been allocated to support Syrian civil society and human-rights organisations, including for human rights violation documentation, support to independent media, transitional justice and accountability, and capacity development.   

The EU strongly stands in for transitional justice and accountability for all serious human rights abuses and violations of International Humanitarian Law, including any which may constitute a war crime committed in Syria by all parties, including Da'esh. The EU supports various projects, for example:

More than €65.2 million aimed at supporting dialogue initiatives, transitional justice and countering violent extremism, as well as €2 million to support political dialogue between parties to the armed conflict.  At least €80 million have been allocated to the education sector to contribute to the "no lost generation" initiative to increase basic and secondary education enrolment and quality and improve psycho-social well-being of children and youth.

A project of €8 million is in place to promote the use of mass-media programming and platforms to build resilience and social cohesion to promote inclusion and counter violent conflict and radicalisation across all sections of Syrian society, as well as a €1 million project to promote social cohesion and moderate voices in Syria.

€1.5 million have been provided to support the Commission for International Justice and Accountability, contributing to International Security and Justice in Syria and the global pursuit of justice for the victims of war, to investigate allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the belligerent parties inside Syria. Also, since 2017 the EU supports the International Commission on Missing Persons to launch a process of collecting data on missing persons from Syria. € 1.5 million has also been made available to support the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism to Assist in the Investigation and Prosecution of Persons Responsible for the Most Serious Crimes under International Law Committed in Syria.