Europol’s Internet Referral Unit, organised a tabletop exercise with EU states’ law enforcement authorities, third countries and online service providers on 11 September in The Hague, aiming to develop an EU-led voluntary mechanism to enable a coordinated response to the cross-border abuse of the internet in the context of violent extremism.

The initiative was inspired by the frequent terror attacks, including the one in March in Christchurch, New Zealand, that highlighted the need for a coordinated cross-border response across online service providers and EU law enforcement. The attack was livestreamed online and demonstrated how an offline event in one country can have an immediate negative impact across the globe. In this context, Europol promoted closer cooperation between all parties involved in the fight against terrorism online.

The exercise was attended by representatives of national authorities, third countries, and major online service providers, including Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter.