International situation – Conclusions, Plan of Action of Extraordinary EU Council – Letter from Belgium

Identical letters dated 25 September 2001 from the Permanent Representative

of Belgium to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General

and the President of the Security Council

I have the honour to transmit the text of the conclusions and plan of action of the extraordinary European Council of 21 September 2001 (see annex).

I should be grateful if you would have this letter and its annex circulated as a document of the fifty-sixth session of the General Assembly, under agenda item 166, and of the Security Council.

(Signed) Jean De Ruyt

Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Belgium

to the United Nations

Annex to the identical letters dated 25 September 2001 from the Permanent Representative

of Belgium to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General

and the President of the Security Council

[Original: English, French and Spanish]



The European Council met in extraordinary session on 21 September 2001 in order to analyse the international situation following the terrorist attacks in the United States and to impart the necessary impetus to the actions of the European Union.

Terrorism is a real challenge to the world and to Europe. The European Council has decided that the fight against terrorism will, more than ever, be a priority objective of the European Union.

Moreover, the European Union categorically rejects any equation of groups of fanatical terrorists with the Arab and Muslim world.

The European Council reaffirms its firm determination to act in concert in all circumstances.


The European Council is totally supportive of the American people in the face of the deadly terrorist attacks.  These attacks are an assault on our open, democratic, tolerant and multicultural societies.  They are a challenge to the conscience of each human being.  The European Union will cooperate with the United States in bringing to justice and punishing the perpetrators, sponsors and accomplices of such barbaric acts.  On the basis of Security Council Resolution 1368, a riposte by the US is legitimate.  The Member States of the Union are prepared to undertake such actions, each according to its means. The actions must be targeted and may also be directed against States abetting, supporting or harbouring terrorists. They will require close cooperation with all the Member States of the European Union.

Furthermore, the European Union calls for the broadest possible global coalition against terrorism, under United Nations aegis. In addition to the European Union and the United States, that coalition should include at least the candidate countries, the Russian Federation, our Arab and Muslim partners and any other country ready to defend our common values. The European Union will step up its action against terrorism through a coordinated and inter-disciplinary approach embracing all Union policies. It will ensure that that approach is reconciled with respect for the fundamental freedoms which form the basis of our civilisation.


The European Council approves the following plan of action:

  • Enhancing police and judicial cooperation

1. In line with its conclusions at Tampere, the European Council signifies its agreement to the introduction of a European arrest warrant and the adoption of a common definition of terrorism.  The warrant will supplant the current system of extradition between Member States.  Extradition procedures do not at present reflect the level of integration and confidence between Member States of the European Union.  Accordingly, the European arrest warrant will allow wanted persons to be handed over directly from one judicial authority to another .  In parallel, fundamental rights and freedoms will be guaranteed.

The European Council directs the Justice and Home Affairs Council to flesh out that agreement and to determine the relevant arrangements, as a matter of urgency and at the latest at its meeting on 6 and 7 December 2001.

In addition, the European Council instructs the Justice and Home Affairs Council to implement as quickly as possible the entire package of measures decided on at the European Council meeting in Tampere.

2. The European Council calls upon the Justice and Home Affairs Council to undertake identification of presumed terrorists in Europe and of organisations supporting them in order to draw up a common list of terrorist organisations.  In this connection improved cooperation and exchange of information between all intelligence services of the Union will be required.  Joint investigation teams will be set up to that end.

3. Member States will share with Europol, systematically and without delay, all useful data regarding terrorism.  A specialist anti-terrorist team will be set up within Europol as soon as possible and will cooperate closely with its US counterparts.

The European Council trusts that a cooperation agreement will be concluded between Europol and the relevant US authorities by the end of the year.

  • Developing international legal instruments

4. The European Council calls for all existing international conventions on thee fight against terrorism (UN, OECD, etc.) to be implemented as quickly as possible.  The European Union supports the Indian proposal for framing within the United Nations a general convention against international terrorism, which should enhance the impact of the measures taken over the last twenty-five years under UN aegis.

  • Putting an end to the funding of terrorism

5. Combating the funding of terrorism is a decisive aspect.  Energetic international action is required to ensure that that fight is fully effective.  The European Union will contribute to the full.  To that end, the European Council calls upon the ECOFIN and Justice and Home Affairs Councils to take the necessary measures to combat any form of financing for terrorist activities, in particular by adopting in the weeks to come the extension of the Directive on money laundering and the framework Decision on freezing assets.  It calls upon Member States to sign and ratify as a matter of urgency the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.  In addition, measures will be taken again non-cooperative countries and territories identified by the Financial Action Task Force.

  • Strengthening air security

6. The European Council calls upon the Transport Council to take the necessary measures to strengthen air transport security at its next meeting on 15 October.  These measures will cover in particular:

– classification of weapons;

– technical training for crew;

– checking and monitoring of hold luggage;

– protection of cockpit access;

– quality control of security measures applied by Member States.

Effective and uniform application of air security measures will be ensured in particular by a peer review to be introduced in the very near future.

  • Coordinating the European Union's global action

7 . The European Council instructs the General Affairs Council to assume the role of coordination and providing impetus in the fight against terrorism.  Thus, the General Affairs Council will ensure greater consistency and coordination between all the Union's policies.  The Common Foreign and Security Policy will have to integrate further the fight against terrorism. The  European Council asks the General Affairs Council systematically to evaluate the European Union's relations with third countries in the light of the support which those countries might give to terrorism.

The General Affairs Council will submit an overall report on these issues to the next European Council.


The fight against terrorism requires of the Union that it play a greater part in the efforts of the international community to prevent and stabilise regional conflicts.  In particular, the European Union, in close collaboration with the United States, the Russian Federation and partners in the Arab and Muslim world, will make every endeavour to bring the parties to the Middle East conflict to a lasting understanding on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions.

It is by developing the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and by making the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) operational at the earliest opportunity that the Union will be most effective.  The fight against the scourge of terrorism will be all the more effective if it is based on an in-depth political dialogue with those countries and regions of the world in which terrorism comes into being.

The integration of all countries into a fair world system of security, prosperity and improved development is the condition for a strong and sustainable community for combating terrorism.

The members of the European Council issue an appeal to the international community to pursue, in all multilateral fora, dialogue and negotiation with a view to building, at home and elsewhere, a world of peace, the rule of law and tolerance.  In this respect, the European Council emphasises the need to combat any nationalist, racist and xenophobic drift, just as it rejects any equation of terrorism with the Arab and Muslim world.

The European Union will give special attention to the problem of refugee flows.

The European Council asks the Commission to set up urgently an aid programme particularly for Afghan refugees.


The events of  11 September mean that the slowdown of the economy will be more pronounced than foreseen.  The members of the European Council will remain vigilant.  The members of the European Council welcome the concerted action by the European Central Bank, the US Federal Reserve Bank and other central banks, on both sides of the Atlantic, which should provide the financial markets with further leeway.

The European Council calls upon the Commission to submit an analysis of trends in the economic situation and any recommendations to the next European Council.

Stability, which is the fruit of the policies and structural reforms put in place by the European Union over latter years, is enabling the Union to face up to such a situation.  Thanks to the single currency, the countries of the euro zone are sheltered from the shocks associated with monetary fluctuations.

The forthcoming putting into circulation of the euro will make it possible for each of us to become aware of the positive effects of this increased stability.

At the same time, the efforts made to consolidate public finances have provided the necessary room for manoeuvre to enable automatic stabilisers to come into play.  They have also enabled the European Central Bank to play a central role in facing up to the shock affecting European economies.  In the present circumstances, such action should suffice to restore consumer confidence.  The European Council reaffirms its commitment to respect the framework, rules and application in full of the stability and growth pact.

The European Council welcomes the decision of OPEC to ensure the continuity of oil supplies.

The European Council has asked the Presidency to establish contact with the candidate countries for accession so that the latter may associate themselves with these conclusions.

The European Council has decided to send a ministerial troika mission to present the European Union's position to certain partners, particularly in the Middle East.

The European Council has asked the Presidency of the European Union to convey and explain the outcome of the extraordinary European Council meeting on 21 September 2001 to the highest authorities of the United States.


Document symbol: A/56/407|S/2001/909
Document Type: Conclusions, Plan of action
Document Sources: European Union (EU), General Assembly, Security Council
Country: Belgium
Subject: Agenda Item, Middle East situation, Terrorism
Publication Date: 21/09/2001

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