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Squaring the circle : West European terrorism, EC/EU counter-terrorism and liberal democratic acceptability Chalk, Peter


This dissertation is concerned with an analysis of the dynamic of West European terrorism and European Community/Union (EC/EU) counter-terrorism as it has evolved since the late 1960s. The first half of the study is devoted to an investigation of the nature of the terrorist phenomenon itself; the factors that were primarily responsible for its escalation from the late 1960s onwards; the new and continuing trends that are likely to affect the future course of terrorism within Western Europe into the 1990s. The main focus of the second half of the project centers on an examination of the effectiveness and appropriateness of the latest EU provision to counter terrorism (and other major threats to internal security) - the Maastricht third "pillar." This assessment is made from a perspective that takes into account questions of both operational anti-terrorist proficiency and liberal democratic acceptability. Police and security forces throughout the EU have strongly endorsed the third pillar as providing an efficient response to serious criminality. However, from a liberal democratic point of view, the Maastricht provisions raise critical questions concerning the underlying ideological rationale that appears to be guiding the Twelve's evolving internal security cooperation, the lack of public debate surrounding this coordination and the absence of any effective means to control closer EU judicial and law enforcement action. All this poses a serious problem for the future of EU counterterrorism cooperation. Close coordination between the EU member states is absolutely necessary if the continuing threat of terrorism in Western Europe is to be effectively quashed in the 1990s. However, one cannot realistically expect this to happen if fundamental fears exist over the desirability and legitimacy of establishing ever closer internal security cooperation. It is therefore vital that in the headlong rush to provide for an enhanced international operational capacity to deal with terrorism critical considerations of democratic control and acceptability (both of which the EU as well as individual member states are sworn to uphold by virtue of their "status" as a liberal democratic entities) are not lost by the Union Twelve.

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