From May 2013 to November 2014 I led an international consortium in undertaking research into EU counter-terrorism by means of the FP7-funded project SECILE (Security Europe through Counter-Terrorism: Impact, Legitimacy, Effectiveness).

SECILE was established with the overall objective of providing an empirically-informed, multi-stakeholder understanding of how the impact, legitimacy and effectiveness of EU counter-terrorism legislation might be best measured and understood. In the fulfillment of this objective the project placed particular emphasis on gathering and understanding the practical experiences of implementing and assessing such measures from and with end users.

The key activities of the project were the presentation of preliminary findings at two workshops, convening of four focus groups for eliciting empirical insights from end users, a set of semi-structured interviews with policy-makers in EU counter-terrorism, and the presentation of the project findings at a major end-of-project final conference, together with a wide range of scientific desk-based research. From the aforementioned activities, one major scientific publication (an edited collection), three empirical case studies, one report on civil society perspectives, one report on policy-maker perspectives, one desk-based case study, one catalogue of measures, two best practice guides, one end-user-oriented report, one briefing paper, and seven scientific reports were produced.

SECILE provided an empirically-informed understanding of impact, legitimacy and effectiveness in the counter-terrorist context, as well as the first comprehensive catalogue of EU counter-terrorist measures. The key findings from the research are:

1. Since 2001, the EU has been very active in counter-terrorism, having produced 238 counter-terrorism measures between Autumn 2011 and Summer 2013, 88 of which are ‘legally binding’.

2. Ex ante impact assessments in the field of counter-terrorism appear to prioritise quantifiable predicted impacts (such as economic impacts) over societal impacts.

3. The European Parliament has often been marginalised in respect of the making and oversight of EU counter-terrorism, raising concerns as to the democratic legitimacy of such measures.

4. EU counter-terrorist measures are rarely subjected to formal ex post facto review.

5. The lack of systematic, participatory, evaluative review of EU counter-terrorist measures arguably undermines their legitimacy, as well as stymying efforts to understand their impact and assess their effectiveness.

6. In some cases, measures that were introduced under the ‘counter-terrorism’ umbrella (eg European Arrest Warrant) are not perceived of as primarily ‘counter-terrorist’ by those who use and apply them, reflecting the fact that many of these measures have multiple applications and a complex provenance.

A briefing on the main findings is available here and the final report, as published by the European Commission is here.

The major findings and insights from the project have been gathered together in an edited book, published by Routledge, entitled The Impact, Legitimacy and Effectiveness of EU Counter-Terrorism (eds: Fiona de Londras & Josephine Doody; 2015). Below you will find links to download the major publicly available deliverables from the project.