Following the terrorist attacks in Madrid on 11 March 2004, the European Council adopted a declaration on combating terrorism. Among the measures included in this declaration was the establishment of the position of a Counter-Terrorism Coordinator.
On 19 September 2007, then EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, appointed Gilles de Kerchove as EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator.
In this function, he is in charge of:
- coordinating the work of the Council in combating terrorism
- presenting policy recommendations and proposing priority areas for action to the Council, based on threat analysis and reports produced by the EU Intelligence Analysis Centre and Europol
- closely monitoring the implementation of the EU counter-terrorism strategy
- maintaining an overview of all the instruments at the European Union's disposal, to regularly report to the Council and effectively follow up Council decisions
- coordinating with the relevant preparatory bodies of the Council, the Commission and the EEAS and sharing information with them on his activities
- ensuring the EU plays an active role in the fight against terrorism
- improving communication between the EU and third countries in this area
In the strategic guidelines for justice and home affairs (June 2014) the European Council reaffirmed the importance of the role of the counter-terrorism coordinator.