The Western Balkan counter-terrorism initiative (WBCTi) and the capability of the EU as a counter-terrorism actor

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Series Details Volume 27, Number 4, Pages 503-514
Publication Date August 2019
ISSN 1478-2790
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Abstract :

In less than twenty years, the European Union (EU) developed a range of policy documents, instruments and institutional structures enabling it to combat terrorism outside its borders. The concentration of operational capabilities on the member-state-level, however, combined with a complex external institutional infrastructure on counter-terrorism led to poor understanding of the ability of the Union to influence the global fight against terrorism. The current paper contributes to the discussion of the EU’s capability as an actor in the field by investigating an Integrative and Complementary Approach to Counter-Terrorism and Violent Extremism in the Western Balkans, commonly known as the Western Balkan counter-terrorism initiative (WBCTi). The initiative, launched in 2015, promised a response to the growing threats of terrorism and violent extremism, emanating from the Western Balkans, through consistent and coherent action. The conducted analysis, however, reveals that although conceptually the WBCTi has the potential to improve the consistency and coherence of the EU’s counter-terrorism action, in practice it is unable to do so due to the non-binding nature of the approach and its dependence on non-EU actors.

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