Promoting law enforcement and intelligence cooperation with the United States has been another top EU priority since 2001. Washington has largely welcomed enhanced counterterrorism cooperation with the EU. Since 9/11, contacts between U.S. and EU officials on police, judicial, and border control policy matters have increased substantially. A number of U.S.-EU agreements have been reached; these include information-sharing arrangements between the United States and EU police and judicial bodies, U.S.-EU treaties on extradition and mutual legal assistance, and accords on container security and airline passenger data. In addition, the United States and the EU have been working together to curb terrorist financing, strengthen transport security, and address the foreign fighter phenomenon.
Nevertheless, some challenges persist in fostering closer U.S.-EU cooperation in these fields. Among the most prominent and long-standing are data privacy and data protection issues. The negotiation of several U.S.-EU information-sharing agreements, from those related to tracking terrorist financial data to sharing airline passenger information, has been complicated by EU concerns about whether the United States could guarantee a sufficient level of protection for European citizens’ personal data. EU worries about U.S. data protection safeguards and practices were further heightened by the unauthorized disclosures of U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance programs in mid-2013 and subsequent allegations of U.S. collection activities in Europe. Other issues that have led to periodic tensions include detainee policies, differences in the U.S. and EU terrorist designation lists, and balancing measures to improve border controls and border security with the need to facilitate legitimate transatlantic travel and commerce.

U.S.-EU Cooperation Against Terrorism

Kristin Archick

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