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The European External Action Service, Counterterrorism and the Imperative of Coherence


The European External Action Service (EEAS), specifically mandated with enhancing coherence between the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and non-CFSP bodies on the one hand, and the European Union and member states on the other hand, has the potential to increase CFSP’s contribution to the fight against terrorism and diminish the boundaries between CFSP and other policies. Several of the EEAS’ cooperation and coordination duties, as well as the inclusive composition of the Service, allow for a more coherent approach to counterterrorism policymaking. In practice, coherence is unfolding in diplomatic cooperation with third countries and Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions, as CFSP and Justice and Home Affairs actors seem to build on one another’s strengths. The picture is more nuanced in the area of intelligence, where the activities of the EU intelligence centre, transferred from the Council of the European Union to the EEAS, are conditional upon member states’ willingness to exchange information. Ultimately, current efforts towards coherence remain subject to a somewhat paradoxical two-speed process: one that encourages the meshing together of institutional actors and policy cultures, while deferring access to justice to national law, thereby yielding a system of protection of individuals à géométrie variable.
Keywords: CFSP, counterterrorism, JHA, governance, intelligence