Terrorism continues to project an increasing threat globally, mainly inspired by the militant Islamist ideology of Salafi-Jihadi movements such as Al Qaeda and its various regional ramifications, the Islamic State in the Islamic Levant, Al Shabaab, Boko Haram, and other lesser or larger terrorist networks aiming to supplant established regimes throughout the world and their monopoly of violence and control territory.  In doing so, they create insecurity, instability and exacerbate human suffering and undermine development.

In acknowledgement of the detrimental effect that terrorism and radical ideologies can have on development and security, countering terrorism (CT) and violent extremism (CVE) has become a key concept and critical priority in the EU’s external action. The EU Counter Terrorism Strategy of 2005, in line with the Global Counter Terrorism Strategy endorsed by the UN, has identified four strands of work: Prevent, Protect, Pursue and Respond.


The European Union is a leading global actor in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism.  These activities are funded by EuropeAid via the Instrument Contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP, art. 5).

Established initially in 2007, the Instrument for Stability (IfS) was rebranded in 2014 to the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP). It is the main thematic tool of the European Commission to improve security in partner countries, complementing other financial tools in particular where geographical or traditional development instruments cannot be used. It is possible to provide ‘assistance in response to situations of crisis or emerging crisis to prevent conflicts’ as well as longer-term programmes relating to conflict prevention, peace-building and crisis-preparedness as well as addressing global, trans-regional and emerging threats (such as, amongst others, countering terrorism, violent extremism and organised crime).

For the period 2007-2014, €58.3 million of the IcSP long term budget has been committed to specific Counter Terrorism actions. For the period 2014-2020, there will be a significant increase in support to Counter Terrorism – from an average of app. €4 million per year in the previous MFF (2017-2013) to approximately €18 million per year over the coming seven years.


CT MORSE is a project of the EU providing monitoring and support for the Instrument contributing Stability and Peace (IcSP) actions in countering terrorism and violent extremism in third countries.

The objectives of the project are:

  • Policy: to ensure that EU CT and CVE actions benefit from the best of international policy and global lessons learned.
  • Monitoring:  to provide expertise to EU actions on CT/CVE throughout the programme cycle of research, design, implementation and evaluation.
  • Support: to support the EEAS and DevCo to ensure the value-added and coherence of EU policy and practice are maximised.

From June 2019, this project is being implemented by The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) is an independent think tank engaged in cutting edge defence and security research. A unique institution, founded in 1831 by the Duke of Wellington, RUSI embodies nearly two centuries of forward thinking, free discussion and careful reflection on defence and security matters. RUSI maintains its headquarters in London, United Kingdom with multiple satellite offices.

RUSI Europe, the European subsidiary of RUSI, is a think tank working for a safer and more stable Europe. The primary CT MORSE team are located at this office in Brussels, Belgium.