On April 17 and 18, EU Member States will participate in the anti-terrorist exercise of the ATLAS network.
European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström commented. “The fight against terrorism is one of the key challenges to our internal security. Terrorism does not recognise borders and maintaining public security is a complex challenge which requires the coordination of our efforts. I believe that the cooperation between police authorities in Europe is more necessary now than ever and I welcome the exercise of the ATLAS network.”
The anti-terrorist exercise will emulate simultaneous attacks in Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and Romania. The practice is named “Common Challenge” and the terrorist targets will include attacks on power plants, schools, and several transport modes such as shops, busses and trains.
According to the Commission, the ATLAS network “Common Challenge”, will be the largest of exercise of this kind, and will help EU Member States to draw lessons on how to further strengthen preparation and crises response. The Commission's Directorate-General for Home Affairs is responsible for the coordination of the anti-terrorist exercise, which is carried out jointly with the ATLAS Presidency held by the German Police Special units (GSG9).
The ATLAS network is an association consisted by all the special police units of the 27 EU Member States, working on countering terrorism and criminal acts. The Network is financed and supported by the Home Affairs DG.
Overall, the goal of ATLAS Network is to improve cooperation among the Member State's police units.