Terrorism: France’s International Action



International terrorism is one of the most serious threats to international peace and security. Since this threat has never been so strong, France is taking action at every level with its international partners to combat terrorist networks in France and abroad.

The goals are many:

  • Reduce terrorist groups’ regional hold;
  • Combat financial, human, logistic and terrorist propaganda networks;
  • Prevent radicalization;
  • Protect French interests and nationals abroad.

To achieve these goals, France’s international action against terrorism includes:

  • Taking determined military action;
  • Stabilizing liberated areas and seeking political solutions to conflicts;
  • Scaling up action by the European Union;
  • Enhancing international cooperation to fight terrorist financing in particular.

Enhancing international cooperation

Because terrorist groups represent a global threat, France is taking action with its partners to enhance international cooperation when it comes to fighting terrorism in many areas, including:

• Preventing radicalization and curbing terrorist propaganda

France conducts high-level dialogue with its main partners on prevention of radicalization and participates in multilateral discussions on this issue.
Efforts to stop the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes remain a key focus of our counterterrorism action. France is conducting high-level dialogue with digital companies to achieve rapid and lasting withdrawal (in one hour maximum) of terrorist content online.

• Working to combat foreign terrorist fighters (FTF)

France is involved in different work aiming to contain the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters, in the appropriate international bodies, notably the United Nations, and within the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), which brings together 29 countries and the European Union.

• Building our partners’ capacity to combat terrorism

France is implementing training programmes for its partners: law enforcement investigators, magistrates and services working on counterterrorism.

Spearheading the fight against terrorist financing

Terrorist groups need financing and they use all the means at their disposal to attain it, including new technologies to collect and transfer funds. That is why in 2018 France mobilized countries determined to identify and drain all the sources of terrorist financing. At the instigation of President Macron, an international No Money for Terror Conference was held on 25 and 26 April in Paris on combating the financing of Al-Qaeda and Daesh. Representatives from 70 countries and leaders of some 20 international and regional organizations and specialized agencies attended the first No Money for Terror Conference. In their final statement, the participants committed to reinforce their legal frameworks and their intelligence cooperation. Several clear priorities and tangible measures were defined in in a summary document called the Paris Agenda.

A second No Money for Terror Conference was held on 7 and 8 November 2019 in Australia. France is making important efforts to rally the international community’s support for implementing the Paris Agenda:

1/ For the first time, a resolution on terrorism was adopted in the Security Council on 28 March 2019, enshrining a key political decision on this issue:

- By reaffirming the obligations of States, including the criminalization of the financing of terrorists, terrorist organizations and acts.

  • By calling for increased use and effectiveness of asset freezing tools in counter-terrorism;
  • By urging States to assess and anticipate terrorist financing risks, create a financial intelligence unit, and strengthen international cooperation:
  • By increasing the involvement of the UN system in tackling terrorist financing, in addition to the action conducted by the FATF whose central role in determining international standards in this area must be enhanced.
  • By recalling the need to make sure humanitarian stakeholders’ action continues when measures are taken to curb terrorism financing.

2/ Fighting terrorist financing was one of the three counter-terrorism priorities promoted by France during its G7 presidency.

3/ France, which seeks to set an example in this area, regularly recalls its commitment to implementing the Paris Agenda to its technical and political partners.

4/ France actively supports increasing FATF’s resources and visibility. In 2018, it made a voluntary contribution of €1 million over three years. It supported prolonging the FATF mandate and increasing its operational budget in April, during a ministerial meeting that was held on the sidelines of the World Banks’ and the IMF’s spring assemblies.

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International conference regarding the fight against the financing of Daesh and al-Qaeda "No money for terror": closing speech by French president Emmanuel Macron
© F. de La Mure / MEAE

Taking determined military action

In recent years, several terrorist groups have sought to broaden their regional hold in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Africa. Terrorist safe havens are a threat to the international community. They are hotbeds of terror and oppression for local populations and centres for disseminating murderous ideology. It is from these havens that many terrorist attacks targeting local populations and foreign countries have been planned and organized.

France is combating terrorism on all fronts

The Sahel

Present in the Sahel since 2013 (Operation Serval in Mali), France has played a leading role in blocking the advancement of terrorist groups in the region. French troops participating in Operation Barkhane provide vital assistance to the G5 Sahel countries (Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad) in their action to fight terrorism.

Syria and Iraq

France has joined forces with the Global Coalition against Daesh in August 2014, launching Operation Chammal to support Iraqi authorities engaged in fighting the terrorist group. In September 2015, faced with the terrorist threat in France, the scope of action of Operation Chammal was extended to include Syria in order to destroy Daesh’s regional hold in the country.

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Operation Chammal

More about the achievements of the Global coalition against Daesh

Stabilizing liberated areas and seeking political solutions to conflicts

In addition to military action, French diplomats and their partners actively seek political solutions, which are the only way to end conflicts and prevent the emergence and strengthening of terrorist actors.

In Iraq, stabilization and reconstruction are key objectives for France. National reconciliation, reconstruction and stabilization are steps that need to be taken to definitively end terrorism, in addition to destroying Daesh’s military capabilities. France will continue to support efforts conducted in this direction by Iraqi authorities.

In Syria, France supports and finances many projects helping to stabilize the regions taken back from the terrorist group Daesh and actively works at the diplomatic level to find a credible political solution to the Syrian crisis. It is the only way to address root causes that have led to the emergence of terrorism in this country

In the Sahel region, France’s strategy is based on a comprehensive approach (addressing political, security and development issues). Created in February 2014, at the instigation of regional leaders, the G5 Sahel is an institutional framework for monitoring regional cooperation with the aim of coordinating the security and development policies of its members. Launched in July 2017, the Sahel Alliance reinforces the action of the G5 Sahel with a focus on the following five areas: the employability of young people, education and training; agriculture, rural development and food security; energy and climate; governance; and decentralization and support for the deployment of basic services.

More on France’s engagement

Scaling up action by the European Union

France is also taking action at European level to improve and strengthen the tools available to the European Union for combating terrorism. In recent years, France and its partners have made several notable advances:

• The creation of a European Passenger Name Record system that will help better monitor air travel;
• The strengthening of cooperation with the digital platforms to combat the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes within the framework of the EU Internet Forum;
• The mobilization of European asset freezing and seizure tools;
• The bolstering of arms trafficking measures;
• The establishment of new rules to prevent terrorist financing and money-laundering;
• The reinforcement of Europol, and especially its European Counter Terrorism Centre.

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