Increasing cooperation between Europe’s security services

Cooperation between Europe’s security services is being stepped up in order to combat terrorism and jihadist violence. A recently launched platform is allowing intelligence to be shared more effectively. This means that information on European foreign fighters is now available to all participating security services. This is important, as jihadist networks are increasingly operating across national borders. The increased cooperation has led to considerable advances in the way European security services work together. Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk emphasised this in his speech at the meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 10 June.

This closer cooperation sees intelligence officers from all participating countries meet regularly to share operational intelligence. This allows information to be exchanged more quickly and for more links to be established. A database has also been developed for all participating countries to share information on foreign fighters. The information is updated in real-time and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This means it is always possible to see if other services have information on individuals who may be plotting attacks. The cooperation is coordinated in the Counter Terrorism Group (CTG), which brings together the security services of the EU member states, plus Norway and Switzerland. Today it was decided to invite the CTG to Justice and Home Affairs Council meetings whenever terrorism is on the agenda.

Over the past few months, under the chairmanship of the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD), the CTG has taken significant steps to further increase cooperation between members. The common interest in combating terrorism in Europe has always been at the forefront of these efforts. Greater cooperation is a vital step forward in a world where every member state organises its national security institutions, tasks and powers differently, and where operational and legal differences must be overcome.