The Interaction between the Humanitarian Aid and Counter-terrorism Policies of the European Union

Author (Person)
Series Title
Series Details 2/2023, Number 2
Publication Date January 2023
Content Type


This paper examines the links and dynamics between the counter-terrorism and humanitarian aid policies of the European Union (EU). These policies often target the same areas and are subject to sensitive interactions as one of them is very political and the other, by principle, is not. Thus, it is important to understand to what extent the dynamics between humanitarian aid and counter-terrorism policies contribute to the effective achievement of their respective objectives, and what the impact of these dynamics is on the overall coherence of EU foreign policy.

The paper finds that some of the objectives of the two policies may overlap but the ways in which these objectives are achieved differ. A certain complementarity exists in the prevention of violent extremism and terrorism, field expertise and the capacity of humanitarians to cooperate with local actors. However, contradictions generated by sanctions and the criminalisation of aid as well as the antagonism triggered by the humanitarian principles may cause ineffective or incoherent policies. Finally, the two policies are forced to co-exist on the ground and the EU has to some extent been able to meet some of the challenges but could not achieve coherence.

Source Link
Subject Categories ,
Subject Tags ,
International Organisations