In the absence of a generally accepted definition under international law, “terrorism” can be defined as the intentional and systematic use of actions designed to provoke terror in the public as a
Countering the financing of terrorism is a core component of the EU’s strategy in the fight against terrorism. As terrorists and their supporters constantly modify their ways to collect, move and gain access to funds, the EU needs to adapt its instruments and measures to deprive them from the possibility to engage in criminal activity.
The EU has developed a range of measures that aim at cutting off terrorists' access to funding. The Third Anti-Money Laundering Directive expressly extends the scope of the anti-money laundering regime to terrorist financing. The Cash Control Regulation requires the disclosure of cash or equivalent in excess of EUR 10 000 when entering or leaving the EU. The Regulation on funds transfers implements the Special Recommendation VII of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global standard setter in this field, to ensure that identifying information accompanies wire transfers. FATF Special Recommendation VI on alternative remittances was addressed by the Payments Services Directive.
EU legislation concerning procedures for listing persons and entities related to terrorism, with a view to freezing their assets, has been reviewed to strengthen the fundamental rights components (such as the rights of the defence). In addition, the Lisbon Treaty (Article 75 TFEU) gives the EU the responsibility to define a framework of administrative measures for capital movements and payments, such as the freezing of funds belonging to or owned or held by natural or legal persons, groups or non-State entities. The listing procedures relating to the freezing of funds are currently based on Common Position 931/2001, Regulation 2580/2001 and Regulation 881/2002.
The Commission also promotes close cooperation between Financial Intelligence Units (for further information see: "Money laundering").
The great majority of non-profit organisations (NGOs) carry out completely legitimate and valuable work. However, the potential vulnerability of NGOs for terrorist financing has been revealed by cases in the EU and in non-EU countries (studies). Voluntary guidelines for the sector could be a means to enhance transparency and accountability of NGOs and to reduce their potential abuse for terrorist financing. The Commission aims to closely involve the NGO sector and EU States in its work in this field.
The Commission is a member of FATF and actively contributes to its work as well as to the implementation of the FATF Recommendations in the EU. In addition, relevant UN Resolutions and Council of Europe instruments, such as the Council of Europe Convention No. 198, play an important role in this context; the Commission supports EU States in implementing these.