"The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks gave new momentum to European Union (EU) initiatives to combat terrorism and improve police, judicial, and intelligence cooperation among its member states. Since the 2001 attacks, the EU has sought to speed up its efforts to harmonize national laws and bring down barriers among member states' law enforcement authorities so that information can be meaningfully shared and suspects apprehended expeditiously. Among other steps, the EU has established a common definition of terrorism and a common list of terrorist groups, an EU arrest warrant, enhanced tools to stem terrorist financing, and new measures to strengthen external EU border controls and improve aviation security. [...] Despite U.S.-EU strides to foster closer counterterrorism and law enforcement cooperation, some challenges remain. Data privacy has been and continues to be a key sticking point. In February 2010, the European Parliament (EP) rejected a U.S.-EU agreement--known as the SWIFT accord--that would have continued allowing U.S. authorities access to financial data stored in Europe to help combat terrorism on the grounds that it did not contain sufficient protections to safeguard the personal data and privacy rights of EU citizens. [...] This report examines the evolution of U.S.-EU counterterrorism cooperation and the ongoing challenges that may be of interest in the 112th Congress. For additional background, also see CRS Report RL31509, Europe and Counterterrorism: Strengthening Police and Judicial Cooperation, by Kristin Archick."
CRS Report for Congress, RS22030