Risk and EU law

Risk and EU law

Edited by Hans-W. Micklitz and Takis Tridimas

Risk and EU Law considers the multiple reasons for the increase in the types and diversity of risks, as well as the potential magnitude of their undesirable effects. The book identifies such reasons as; the openness of liberal societies; market competition; the constant endeavour to innovate; as well as globalization and the impact of new technologies. It also explores topics surrounding the social epistemology of risk observation and management, the role of science in political and judicial decision-making and transnational risk regulation and contractual governance.

Chapter 5: Managing the unmanageable: the European Union and terrorism

Jan Wouters and Sanderijn Duquet

Subjects: law - academic, european law, regulation and governance


Over the years, public authorities have been struggling to anticipate and to respond to sudden, politically inspired, attacks that target citizens and society. The European Union (‘EU’ or ‘Union’), the Member States of which have repeatedly suffered from terrorism in the past, is sensitive to the issue. To protect European society, counterterrorism measures have been integrated across the Union’s legal framework. Following a surge of common counterterrorism action in the first few years of the 21st century, however, a sense of ‘fatigue’ in fighting terrorism was detectable in EU circles. This is remarkable, as Europol’s latest strategic analysis – the 2013 EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report – shows that the terrorist threat remains high in Europe. Statistics indicate that small EU-based groups and solo terrorists are on the rise against the structured actions of larger groups and networks. As a result, terrorist activities have become more varied than ever and thus more difficult to predict. In addition, terrorism-related activities are facilitated by modern technologies, such as the internet. The changing nature of the threat of terrorism, and the risks that emerge from it, require the revitalisation of regulatory answers. This chapter examines if and how the EU advances risk-oriented approaches in its counterterrorism management. It will be argued that it is necessary for the Union not only to focus on threats posed by terrorism, but, and even more prominently, also to decrease its vulnerability to terrorism through the further development of its legal framework.

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