What do we do?
The Common Database (CDB)
Our democratic rule of law defends itself against terrorism and extremism. Threats are continuously identified by the security services and monitored as a matter of priority.
The Common Database (CDB) contains the names of the persons who are monitored with priority in our country with regard to extremism and terrorism. It is the tool to ceaselessly share relevant information between the partner services. Extremism manifests itself in various ways. We identify five categories of extremists with strong links to Belgium.
- Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs): persons who have travelled to a conflict zone in order to join a terrorist group, who have returned from a terrorist conflict zone, who have been prevented from leaving or who intend to leave.
- Homegrown Terrorist Fighters (HTFs): persons who do not intend to travel to a terrorist organisation abroad. They choose to commit or support terrorist acts here.
- Hate propagandists (HPs): persons who want to justify the use of violence for ideological purposes. With their influence, they aim to radicalise their environment and undermine the rule of law.
- Potentially Violent Extremists (PVEs): persons with extremist sympathies who intend to convert these into actions through violence, but who have not yet taken concrete steps to do so.
- Persons Convicted of Terrorism (PCTs): persons who are convicted of terrorism, interned or placed under specific protective measures for terrorism in Belgium or abroad
The Strategic Note Extremism and Terrorism (Strategy T.E.R.) replaces the Action Plan against Radicalism, the Belgian multidisciplinary action plan against extremism and the radicalization process in Belgium.
The Strategy builds on past experiences and lessons learned. The federal level, the Communities and the Regions and all services involved in the multidisciplinary approach that have been working together for years on tackling extremism have now also officially endorsed the Strategy. The Strategy thus gives all partners greater scope to tackle all forms of extremism and terrorism, whether religious, ideological, or otherwise inspired, in an equal manner, using a common framework and a common strategy. Mutual trust and cooperation under the coordination of CUTA remain essential.
Punctual and strategic threat assessments
Based on the information and intelligence of its partners, CUTA draws up punctual as well as strategic threat assessments.
The punctual assessments specifically determine the level of a threat. These are drawn up for specific events such as Christmas markets, festivals and EU summits. Punctual threat assessments are also made for threats against certain individuals such as VIPs and politicians. A third type of assessment is made for the threat posed by a particular person or group.
These analyses are concluded with a threat level 1, 2, 3 or 4. The lowest level is allocated if it appears that the situation is not under a threat. The highest level is applied if the threat is very serious and imminent. Determining the threat level is based on a strict methodology.
It is on the basis of these analyses that other services take security measures. These threat assessments are drawn up at the request of our partner services or on CUTA’s owns initiative. The most common threat assessment is the one for Belgium in general: the general threat assessment.
The strategic assessments focus on a particular trend or problem in our society related to CUTA’s fields of competence. The analyses point out possible developments in the longer term and create a broader framework on the threat posed by, for example, Salafist jihadism, right-wing extremism and anarchism. Strategic analyses can be drawn up at the request of the authorities or on CUTA’s own initiative.
Critical infrastructures are the subject of a specific type of strategic analysis. The National Crisis Centre (NCCN) identifies a Belgian or European infrastructure as critical.
Click here to read the public analyses. (link to publications, summary analyses for general distribution, only available in French and Dutch).
Individual administrative measures
The individual administrative measures are preventive measures aimed at preventing individuals from committing terrorist acts. In this context, CUTA is responsible for issuing a reasoned opinion to the minister of Foreign Affairs, to the minister of the Interior or to the National Security Council, depending on the measure considered. CUTA’s opinion is always based on consultation and close cooperation with its support and partner services, especially with the federal public prosecutor’s office.
These measures include:
- Withdrawing/invalidating/not renewing passports (Passban). The decision to apply this measure falls within the remit of the minister of Foreign Affairs.
- Withdrawing/invalidating/not renewing identity cards (ID-ban). The decision to apply this measure falls within the remit of the minister of the Interior.
- Freezing financial or economic assets. The implementation of this measure must be adopted by the Council of Ministers and is enacted in a Royal Decree published in the Belgian Official Gazette. The persons subject to this measure are registered on the national list. Only individuals who commit, attempt to commit, facilitate or participate in terrorist acts can be subject to this measure. This national list should not be confused with “CUTA’s list”, i.e. the Common Database.
International exchange of information
Terrorism and extremism transcend national borders. CUTA therefore calls for more European and international cooperation. The office maintains close contacts with partner services abroad.
The Coordination Unit for Threat Assessment is a strong advocate of multidisciplinary cooperation to tackle the root causes of terrorism and extremism. With this in mind, CUTA provides as much information and advice as possible to various levels of government, academia and civil society. This is always in accordance with the rules on the classification of the information and intelligence.