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The terrorist attacks in France and Denmark and the sharp rise in terrorist activity in the countries of North Africa and the Middle East have focused the international community’s efforts on areas beyond fighting the terrorist activities of organizations like Al-Qaeda. The ongoing flow of foreign fighters from many countries into Syria and Iraq, and the threat to their countries of origin upon their return, in combination with the globalization of the threat of the violent extremism of the Islamic State (ISIL), have centred discussions in the European institutional organs and internationally on issues having to do with prevention of terrorism, including deterring the radicalization and recruitment of young terrorists, confronting violent extremism, and intercepting the financial flows fuelling terrorism.
The Security Council has taken the leading role, introducing the Counter-Terrorism Committee – established in 2001, based on Resolution 1373 (2001) – which oversees the implementation of counter-terrorism policy.
In 2005, the UN Secretary General proceeded to the introduction of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task force for the combating of Terrorism, an organ which oversees the involvement of all the services of the UN. In September 2005, Resolution 1624 was adopted by the Security Council, condemning every form of terrorist action, regardless of origin, and calling on states to take the necessary measures to prohibit any incitement to the commission terrorist attacks.
In September 2006, the General Assembly passed the United Nations Global Counter Terrorism Strategy. This strategy is the central political instrument of the UN and is the basis for shaping anti-terrorism policy on individual issues. The Strategy text has been revised four times (2008, 2010, 2012, 2014).
Under the auspices of the UN, the international community, continuing a process initiated prior to Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001), has adopted 16 international legal instruments on terrorism. These instruments set out the obligations undertaken by states within the framework of terrorism, cover a broad range of actions characterized as terrorism, and contain the general guidelines and overall policy outlook against terrorism.
To confront the new challenges that have arisen recently on the terrorist front – including the Islamic State (ISIL), the phenomenon of foreign fighters, and the financing of terrorism – in 2014 the Security Council adopted Resolutions 2170 and 2178, followed, in 2015, by Resolutions 2199 and 2214, which call on states to work together to deal with these threats.
At the upcoming UN General Assembly (September 2015), a Summit Meeting is to be held on the level of heads of state and government to look at the issue of confronting violent extremism.
In the context of the European Union, the fundamental text on this issue is the European Union Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which was adopted in November 2005 and focusses on four key areas: prevention, protection, pursuit and response.
The EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator is responsible for coordinating the harmonization of national practices and the policy followed by the EU on terrorism issues.
In January 2015, the EU Foreign Affairs Council adopted a Strategy for Combating the Phenomenon of Foreign Fighters in Syria and Iraq, which sets action priorities aimed at minimizing the threat to Europe, drawing up a European communication strategy, and contributing to the strategic defeat of ISIL.
At the Informal European Council of 12 February 2015, a statement was adopted to guide the work of the EU and its member states with regard to confronting terrorism, focusing on three main areas: ensuring the security of citizens, preventing radicalisation and safeguarding values, and cooperating with international partners.
Greece has signed all of the international legal instruments on Terrorism.
Since 1991, our country has been a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental organization that promotes policies through 40 recommendations aimed at, among other things, preventing the financing of terrorism.
During the Greek Presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2014, Greece played a leading role in promoting EU policy in the area of combating terrorism, and specifically on these issues: deterring radicalization and the recruitment of terrorists, combating the financing of terrorism, linking security and development, and flows of foreign fighters to Syria and Iraq.
In the context of the efforts to eradicate sources of funding for terrorism, Greece has raised at the competent EU working group the issue of confronting illegal trafficking in, and sale of, ancient artefacts from the region of Iraq and Syria as a source of funding.
On the level of national legislation, all necessary measures are being taken in the direction of deterring the financing of terrorism. The Anti-Money Laundering, Counter-Terrorist Financing and Source of Funds Investigation Authority operates based on Law 3932/2011 and is, among other things, the national unit active in combating the financing of terrorism.