Europol launched Monday the European Counter Terrorism Centre (ECTC) at the informal meeting of the justice and home affairs ministers in Amsterdam. The ECTC will address issues like foreign fighters and share information regarding terrorist financing, online propaganda and arms trafficking.
Europe is facing its most serious terrorist threat in 10 years, which combined with the growing number of foreign fighters, this is a new challenge for EU member states.
“The ECTC will enhance operational coordination and information-sharing between law enforcement agencies,” said the Dutch Minister of Security and Justice, Ard van der Steur, at the start of the meeting. “This is necessary to fight organised crime, terrorist networks and foreign fighters.”
How ECTC is organized
The ECTC, which is part of the Europol organization, will be led by the Spaniard Manuel Navarrete Paniagua. He currently has a staff of 39, plus five seconded experts. They will work with other operational centers within Europol.
Europol plays a central role in the European response to terrorist threats. For example, after the Paris attacks Europol assigned up to 60 officers to support the French and Belgian investigations in Taskforce Fraternité, which resulted in over 1,600 leads regarding suspect financial transactions.
Financial investigations are an effective instrument in tackling organized crime and terrorism and one of the priorities of the Netherlands’ EU Presidency.