Terrorism is an existential threat. In our European Security Strategy, it was deemed one of the key strategic threats facing the European Union, and to fight it we are using all instruments at our disposal, particularly in the intelligence area.
The first objective of intelligence is to find terrorists, prevent them from acting, and track them after they do attack. This is the kind of operational intelligence that is best done at the national level. Many arrests and disruptions of terrorist operations in Europe result from cooperation between EU members' intelligence services.
I was recently asked by journalists whether inter-agency cooperation is sufficient and whether European mechanisms for sharing operational intelligence should be created. Later that very day, a joint operation resulted in simultaneous arrests in five European countries.
The operation's success was no accident. Last year, the Union concluded two Europol agreements, as well as an Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement. Europe's security services are working closely together within the Counter-Terrorist Group, and Europol's Counter-Terrorist Task Force has been re-established. A high-level group on border and transport security is at work, and links between member states' police chiefs are strengthening.