The biggest anti-terrorism exercise at EU level takes places within the ATLAS Network framework

The European Commission announced that the 2013 practical exercise, named “Common Challenge” that simulates terrorist attacks in nine different EU member states in different areas of public life, will be carried out on April 17 and 18 by the Atlas Network. This network is an association consisting of special police units of the 27 EU member states working on countering terrorism and criminal acts.

The EU member states anti-terrorist police forces are uniting as part of the European sponsored ATLAS Network, which carries out the most complex preparation and crises response simulation so far at European level, on April 17 and 18 of 2013. The simulation involves simultaneous terrorist attacks in nine different EU member states (Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and Romania).

The “Common Challenge” simulates terrorist attacks in 9 different EU Member States in different areas of public life. Simulated terrorist targets include attacks on power plants, schools, and several transport modes (shops, busses and trains). Therefore, this practical exercise is the largest of this kind, and it will help practice and draw lessons on how to further strengthen preparation and crises response. The European Commission's Directorate-General for Home Affairs is responsible for the coordination of the simulation exercise, which is carried out jointly with the ATLAS Presidency held by the German Police Special units (GSG9).

According to the European Commission, the ATLAS Network exchanges best practices and procedures and undertakes joint training exercises in order to ensure equal protection for all citizens in the EU. Also, in order to prepare against terrorist attacks, real life simulations of terrorist acts are carried out by Atlas members of the anti-terrorist units from different member states.