A War on Terror?: The European Stance on a New Threat, Changing Laws and Human Rights Implications

Marianne Wade and Almir Maljevi? Although the worries about terrorism paled in comparison

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Marianne Wade and Almir Maljevi? Although the worries about terrorism paled in comparison to the economic crisis as a topic during the last US election, one can find plenty of grounds to assume that they remain issue number one in the minds of politicians in Europe. As the German houses of Parliament prepare to call in the mediation committee in the discussion of legislation which would provide the Federal Police – thus far mandated purely with the post-facto investigation of crime – with powers to act to prevent acts of terrorism, Spain’s struggle with ETA and the British Government licks its wounds after a resounding defeat of its latest anti-terrorist proposals by the House of Lords, one cannot but wonder whether post 9/11, the Europeans are not even more concerned with terrorism than their US counterparts. A look at media reports, legislative and judicial activities in either Britain or Germany clearly underlines that those two countries are deeply embroiled in anti-terrorist activity. Can it be that Europe is embroiled in the “War on Terror”; constantly providing for new arms in this conflict? Or is it a refusal to participate in the “War on Terror” that fuels a constant need for Parliaments to grapple with the subject; begrudgingly conceding one increasingly draconian measure after the other? The question as to where Europe stands in the “War on Terror” is a fascinating one, but one, which is difficult to answer.

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