Combating terrorism

Police officers in front of Munich central station after a terror warning on New Year's Eve 2015

Police officers in front of Munich central station after a terror warning on New Year's Eve 2015, © picture alliance / dpa


Germany is involved in international efforts to combat terrorism and is making a military contribution to the fight against IS.

As a global challenge, terrorism requires a globally coordinated response from the international community. The German Government is helping to develop effective operative measures to fight terrorism at the international level. As part of its international obligations as a member of the anti-IS alliance, Germany is also contributing military resources to the fight against this terrorist organisation.

Combating terrorism and violent extremism successfully and in the long term requires a comprehensive approach that also takes measures for tackling the political, social and economic causes into account. A further aim is to strengthen rule-of-law structures. Respect for human rights is a key issue.

The German Government plays an active role in international forums for combating terrorism, including:

The United Nations

The United Nations establishes the political and legal standards for global efforts to combat terrorism. Germany has ratified and is implementing the 14 anti-terrorist conventions of the United Nations as a binding basis under international law for international cooperation in this area.

The sanctions lists of the Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committees of the United Nations Security Council against persons and organisations affiliated with these terrorist organisations and IS/Daesh also apply in Germany.

The European Union

The member states of the European Union have pledged to fight terrorism together and to offer their citizens the greatest possible protection. The EU’s 2005 counter-terrorism strategy aims to combat terrorism around the world while respecting human rights, making Europe safer and enabling its citizens to live in an area of freedom, security and justice. Furthermore, the member states of the European Union established the position of a Counter-Terrorism Coordinator in September 2007.

The EU implements the United Nations Security Council’s sanctions list via regulations. It also maintains its own list of persons and organisations subject to restrictive measures such as asset freezing.


NATO is continuing to expand its range of capabilities for defence against terrorist threats. Training measures for allies and partners play an important role along with reconnaissance, the exchange of information and projects for combating terrorism with innovative technologies, for example.


The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) plays an important role in strengthening the capabilities of its 57 participating States to respond to terrorist threats while at the same time complying with the rule of law and human rights. The German Government supports the work of the OSCE Secretariat’s Action against Terrorism Unit (ATU) and the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), which focuses on ensuring that human rights are respected in the fight against terrorism. Within the framework of Germany’s OSCE Chairmanship in 2016, the German Government is also focusing on cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

The Council of Europe

Alongside the prevention of acts of terror, the Council of Europe focuses on ensuring that anti-terrorism measures go hand in hand with the protection of human rights. The multi-disciplinary Committee of Experts on Terrorism (CODEXTER) was also set up for this purpose. In May 2015, an additional protocol on foreign terrorist fighters and on the fight against violent extremism and radicalisation was adopted.

The anti-IS alliance

Consisting of 64 partners (including the EU), the anti-IS alliance coordinates international efforts to combat the terrorist organisation IS/Daesh. The alliance takes a comprehensive approach comprising five lines of action:

  • Military actions
  • Disrupting IS’s financial flows
  • Disrupting the recruitment of foreign fighters
  • A communication strategy
  • Stabilising liberated territories

In all five areas, Germany is actively involved in the international anti-IS alliance’s corresponding working groups and has assumed a leading role in the area of stabilisation as the working group’s chair.

The Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF)

Within the framework of the GCTF, the German Government is working to develop and share best practices, as well as to assist and coordinate steps to enhance civilian capacities as part of international anti-terrorism efforts.


Best practices are drawn up and cooperative efforts are agreed in a pragmatic and targeted manner within the framework of the Roma-Lyon Group. The most recent meeting of the Roma-Lyon Group was held in Berlin under the German G7 chairmanship from 5 to 6 November 2015.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

The FATF sets authoritative standards for combating terrorist financing around the world. The mandate for its work are the United Nations Security Council’s resolutions, which call on the member states to halt terrorist financing.

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