Second year undergraduate student and Dickson Poon Scholar of the LLB in Politics, Philosophy & Law (PPL) at King’s College, London
The European legal order is beset by an unprecedented challenge today. Domestic nationals, prevailingly of Western European origin, are engaged at the centre of ideological conflicts in Iraq and Syria in increasing numbers. Against the backdrop of sectarian conflict and the proliferation of terrorist networks, European ‘foreign fighters’ pose a significant threat, upon return, to the security and prosperity of their Member States (MS) of origin. National governments have enacted legislation in recent months in order to stem the tide of European fighters leaving and re-entering Union or State territory, accentuating the need for a collaborative and synergetic regional strategy. This article assesses the impediments, actual and potential, to the prevention and prosecution of foreign fighter criminality in the Middle East region (ME) under European Union law. It identifies potential lacunae in the law, concluding with the case for EU-wide legislation facilitating the arraignment of foreign fighters consistently across MS, as proposed by Gilles De Kerchove, Brussels’ Counter-Terrorism Coordinator (CTC), at the Commission in December 2014.