“The threat of further terrorist attacks in Europe remains high,” Europol said on January 25 after announcing the launch of the European Counter Terrorism Center (ECTC).
According to the press release by Europol, Europe is currently facing the most significant terrorist threat in over 10 years and therefore the EU needs to help the national security agencies to better co-ordinate to enforce their actions against terrorism.
“EU institutions responded swiftly and strongly to the terrorist attacks of last year and moved to augment the European Union’s capacity to deal with the terrorist threat. As foreseen in the European Agenda on Security put forward by the European Commission, the establishment of the European Counter Terrorism Centre is a major strategic opportunity for the EU to make our collective efforts to fight terrorism more effective. I call on EU Member States to trust and support the European Counter Terrorism Centre to help it succeed in its important mission,” said Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship.
The launch of the ECTC as of January 2016 followed a decision from the EU Justice and Home Affairs Ministers last November. The ECTC will be a central information hub by which the Member States can increase information sharing and operational coordination.
“The ECTC will improve the exchange of information between law enforcement agencies. This is the kind of cooperation Europe needs in the fight against organized crime and terrorism”, said Ard van der Steur, Minister of Security and Justice of the Netherlands, currently holding the presidency of the Council of the EU.
“Our ambition is for the European Counter Terrorism Centre to become a central information hub in the fight against terrorism in the EU, providing analysis for ongoing investigations and contributing to a coordinated reaction in the event of major terrorist attacks. Europol is grateful for the support of the Member States, the European Parliament and the European Commission in the establishment of the ECTC. It will lie at the heart of a stronger EU standing up to the threat of terrorism”, said Europol’s Director Rob Wainwright.
According to AFP news agency, during the press conference the Europol chief also told reporters that according to a new report by Europol, “the so-called Islamic State had developed a new combat style capability to carry out a campaign of large-scale terrorist attacks on a global stage, with a particular focus in Europe.”