The rising fear of terrorism and the emergence of a European security governance space: citizen perceptions and EU counterterrorism cooperation
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of Contemporary European Studies. 2021, 1-17. 10.1080/14782804.2021.1958202
Among a wide range of challenges, EU member states have been facing a growing threat from terrorism in the recent years. The primary responsibility for combating terrorism lies with each individual member state, although the threat is becoming increasingly cross-border and diverse. Regardless of whether terrorism poses a real or perceived threat to the states’ and citizens’ security, public opinion is one important force behind the extensive counterterrorism efforts undertaken in Europe. In this article, we explore the influence of public opinion on EU policy within the security domain in the period 2005–19. We investigate the relationship between the number of attacks carried out on EU territory and citizens’ increased concern for terrorist attacks, as well as the attention given to this topic by EU decision-makers. Based on data from Eurobarometer, the Global Terrorism Database, and evidence from official documents, we perform an analysis of the connection between public perception and anti-terrorism policy coordination in the EU. The results of this investigation point to increasing levels of collective securitization and an ever-stronger focus on security and counterterrorism in the European Union. Our findings are related to policy formation in the EU.