Ilbiz, Ethem; Kaunert, Christian; Anagnostakis, Dimitrios
Terrorism and Political Violence
Peer reviewed version
Link to publication in Discovery Research Portal
Citation for published version (APA):
Ilbiz, E., Kaunert, C., & Anagnostakis, D. (2015). The counterterrorism agreements of Europol with third
countries: data protection and power asymmetry. Terrorism and Political Violence. DOI:
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Download date: 23. Jan. 2018
This article investigates empirically the impact of power asymmetry and
interest formation in European Union’s (EU) external relations with third
countries in the context of the Europol data exchange and
counterterrorism agreements. It focuses on three countries, namely the
United States (U.S.), Turkey and Morocco, which have each a different
level of counterterrorism cooperation with the EU. This article argues that
the EU acts as a pragmatic actor with regard to Europol’s data exchange
agreements with third countries, and that the power asymmetry between
the EU and the third country under question determines the extent of the
EU’s flexibility. If the power asymmetry favours the EU, then it insists on
its data protection demands. Otherwise, the EU is more flexible towards
its counterparts on data protection issues.
Key Words: Europol, Counter-terrorism, Data Protection Rules, United
States, Turkey, Morocco, Power Asymmetry.
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Terrorism and
Since the end of the Second World War, the protection of human rights
has gradually gained a prominent role, both among the EU member states
and in the EU’s external relations. The EU and its member states are part
of a comprehensive human rights regime based on documents such as the
‘Charter of the Fundamental Rights of European Union’ (CFR) and the
Council of Europe’s ‘European Convention on Human Rights’. Additionally,
the EU has set the adoption of liberal democratic norms as a condition to
third countries when these countries have sought to cooperate with EU. In
particular, in the issue-area of counterterrorism the protection of human
rights is considered by the EU as a vital requirement for cooperation with
third countries. In its functions and operation, Europol is bound by the
same human rights principles and treaties as the EU.
Regarding data protection and data privacy in the EU, the right to privacy
human right and the EU has a detailed data protection regime (the
comprehensive legislative framework model)
based on a number of
protection supervisory authorities. The protection of personal data has,
therefore, a central place in Europol’s mode of operation as reflected in
the organisation’s convention. In order for a third country to sign a data
exchange agreement with Europol, it is required that this country has an
adequate data protection framework.
In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, however, the EU and the Europol
protection rules as before prioritizing instead the expansion of counter-
terrorism cooperation with third countries.
This had the risk of the EU
in the course of many years.