It is for me an honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The countries of Central and Eastern Europe associated with the European Union Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania , Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Associated Countries Cyprus, Malta and Turkey, and the EFTA country belonging to the European Economic Area Iceland, aling themselves with this statement.
The European Union welcomes this new chance to review the work of the Security Council Counter Terrorism Committee (CTC). We commend and support the transparency with which the Committee works..
The fight against terrorism remains an absolute priority for the European Union. In this context we acknowledge the central role of the United Nations, through the Security Council and the CTC and reaffirm our full commitment to cooperation with the Committee.
The CTC is now entering the second phase of its consideration of national and other reports. A great effort has been made by the Members of the Committee, its experts and the Secretariat to process and analyse the wealth of information provided by more than 150 reports.
Member States should provide the CTC with their initial or subsequent reports. We urge those countries that have not yet done so to present their national reports. However, Resolution 1373 is not complied with through the mere presentation of reports. The essential point is to fully implement the resolution, and reports should reflect the reality of legal and practical measures adopted at the national or regional level.
The European Union will provide the Committee with a timely response to its request for further clarifications on its joint report. Similarly, its Member States will do likewise in their national capacity.
Solidarity and international cooperation constitute essential instruments to fight this scourge. The EU stands ready to assist third countries in order to reinforce their capacity to respond effectively to the international threat of terrorism.
The European Commission has scope for further assistance in the framework of existing programmes in the areas covered by resolution 1373. The EU expects the CTC and countries and regions in serious need of assistance to provide specific information regarding assistance needs. This would enable the Commission and the EU member states together with the International Financial Institutions and other donors to enhance coordination in actions defined and implemented upon request of the countries and regions concerned. An overview of the EU assistance programmes appears on the CTC´s web-site.
The EU will take forward the provision of assistance in close consultation with the CTC since it is an important factor in bringing together needs and offers of counter terrorism capabilities.
An important conference organised by the Presidency of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe was held in Lisbon on 12 June, where representatives of various international organisations dealing with the fight against terrorism discussed the need for coordination among regional organisations.
The European Union expressed the view that we should aim to avoid overlaps and proliferation of bodies with similar or identical tasks. Time and resources should be used with greater efficiency by, inter alia, identifying the added value that each organisation can provide.
In order to achieve this, the CTC is optimally placed to serve as a clearing house for contacts and information about the activities of different international bodies.
The effectiveness of national efforts against terrorism can be greatly enhanced through regional organisations. The European Union is well suited for this, since it is not just a cooperation organisation, but one that aims at common rules and policies.
During these last three months, the European Union has continued to implement the Common Position and the Action Plan that were adopted in the wake of the tragic events of September 11.
We have twice revised and substantively enlarged the list of terrorist individuals, entities and groups annexed to the European Union Common Position of 27 December 2001. Recently, we adopted Regulation 881/2002 which incorporates the provisions of Security Council resolution 1390.
The latest development took place last 13 June, when the European Justice and Home Affairs Ministers gave the final approval to the harmonisation of the criminal offence of terrorism. This agreement entails a common definition of terrorism offence with the most severe penalties of each national legal system.
They also approved the setting up of joint investigation teams and the Framework Decision on the common European Arrest Warrant and Surrender Procedures. This is a much simplified model as compared to traditional extradition procedures, that European Union judges will use to carry out the arrest of terrorism suspects and surrender them to the requesting EU Member State.
The European Union is convinced that the fight against terrorism must respect human rights and the rule of law, and that human rights of individuals should be taken into account in the design and implementation of targeted sanctions in the international fight against terrorism.
The European Union believes that States, when taking counterterrorism measures, should not condone acts of indiscriminate violence against civilians nor use counter-terrorism as a pretext for political oppression. We commend the contact the CTC has developed with the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights and its acceptance of parallel monitoring of observance of human rights obligations.
The European Union is trying to assist in the fight of the International Community against terrorism through urging the speedy signing and ratification of all twelve UN International Instruments against terrorism, and we remain committed to finalising the work on the draft Comprehensive Convention against terrorism.
The Vienna UN Center for International Drug Control and Crime Prevention should provide Member States, upon request, with technical assistance for the signature, accession, ratification and effective implementation of the UN International Conventions and Protocols related to terrorism. The European Union awaits the report of the Secretary-General requested by General Assembly resolution 56/253 which will “make proposals to strengthen the UN´s Terrorism Prevention Branch … to enable it to carry out its mandate as approved by the General Assembly”.
The international fight against terrorism is going to take a long and costly effort on the part of all of us. It can only succeed through strong and sustained international cooperation. The United Nations, most notably the Counter Terrorism Committee, will remain crucial in this effort and we urge all States and International Organistations to offer their fully committed assistance.
Thank you, Mr. President.