In response to a heightened threat of Jihadist terrorism across Europe in the wake of several serious terrorist incidents in recent months, an extraordinary meeting of high-ranking police representatives from the European Union Member States, Norway and Switzerland was held in Berlin on 7-8 February.
Organised by Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) and the European Union’s law enforcement agency Europol, almost 100 participants gathered in Berlin at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to consider means by which to enhance the co-ordination of European policing efforts designed to fight terrorism.
Key topics under discussion included the current state of the terrorist threat in Europe following the attack in Berlin in December last year, Best Practice methodologies for police response to terrorist incidents and enhanced use of the European Counter-Terrorism Centre (ECTC) at Europol for the purpose of increasing information sharing and operational co-ordination between national counter-terrorism agencies.
The meeting concluded with a robust determination to reinforce national and European arrangements for co-operation via the ECTC, including through the establishment of an operational Steering Board of leading European Union Member States and Europol.
Holger Münch, president of the BKA, said: “Today’s terrorists are extremely mobile. They work together in international networks and take advantage of modern communications technology. We can only be successful in the fight against terrorism if all European security authorities work closely together and are co-ordinated by a central body. The most recent attacks in Europe have shown that, in particular, the exchange of information needs to be further enhanced and that European information systems must be better co-ordinated. The establishment of an operational Steering Board at Europol is another important element for a strong European security network.”
Rob Wainwright, director of Europol, responded: “Europe is facing its most serious terrorist threat for over ten years. The increasing transnational nature of terrorist groups and their activities demand ever closer collaboration between relevant law enforcement authorities across Europe. The ECTC has been established at Europol for this purpose. I’m pleased by the confidence expressed in the work of the ECTC by the police chiefs meeting in Berlin, and delighted by their clear commitment to enhance collaboration efforts even further.”