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The collective securitisation of terrorism in the European Union

Kaunert, Christian; Leonard, Sarah


Christian Kaunert

Sarah Leonard
Professor of International Security


This article explores the recent and significant growth of European Union cooperation on counter-terrorism by drawing upon the concept of ‘collective securitisation’. It highlights how 9/11 was a precipitating event, one which led some EU leaders to call upon the member states to develop an EU counter-terrorism policy and to step up counter-terrorism cooperation with the United States. Various counter-terrorism legislative instruments have since been adopted, defining terrorist acts and having a significant impact on national counter-terrorism policies. 9/11 was therefore used by some actors to convince the EU member states that they all faced one collective terrorist threat, embodied at the time by al-Qaeda, rather than each of them facing a distinctive threat as had hitherto been a common view across Europe. This was a crucial moment, in other words, paving the way for the development of a common EU counter-terrorism policy. The subsequent institutionalisation of this cooperation, in particular through the establishment of the European Arrest Warrant, the Counter Terrorism Coordinator and the European Counter Terrorism Centre within Europol, has contributed to a routinisation of counter-terrorism practices in the EU.


Kaunert, C., & Leonard, S. (2019). The collective securitisation of terrorism in the European Union. West European Politics, 42(2), 261-277.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 10, 2018
Online Publication Date Nov 26, 2018
Publication Date Feb 23, 2019
Deposit Date Nov 12, 2018
Publicly Available Date May 27, 2020
Journal West European Politics
Print ISSN 0140-2382
Electronic ISSN 1743-9655
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 42
Issue 2
Pages 261-277
Keywords European Union, securitization, collective securitization, terrorism, 9/11
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in West European Politics on 26th November 2018, available online:


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