15 January 2014
Terrorist and violent extremist activities have evolved and are a growing, significant threat within the EU. The European Commission has identified 10 areas in which Member States and the EU are called to reinforce their actions to prevent all types of extremism that leads to violence.
Violent extremist activities in Europe are carried out not only by organised groups but increasingly by smaller groups or lone actors, now being driven by a wide range of sources. The use of online tools for recruitment purposes and to spread propaganda is increasing, in turn making violent actions harder to predict and detect. Furthermore, an increasing number of Europeans travel abroad to train and to fight in combat zones, becoming more radicalised in the process, and could pose a threat to our security upon their return.
The proposed measures from the European Commission include the creation of a European knowledge hub on violent extremism, the development of training for frontline practitioners and financial support for projects making use of modern communication tools and social media to counter terrorist propaganda. Member States are also asked to establish programmes making it easier for members of extremist groups to abandon violence and the underlying ideology. The ten recommendations are the result of two years of work in the Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN), founded by the Commission in 2011, gathering 700 experts and frontline practitioners from all over Europe.
"No country is spared from the scourge of violent extremism. But still far too few EU Member States are facing up to this rising threat. We need strong, preventive measures to counter extremism in all its forms. Our aim is to boost Member States efforts against radicalisation and extremist violence, and to provide a toolbox for preventive action in Europe", said Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs.
Protecting citizens against these threats requires an approach that involves a broad range of partners at local, national, EU and international level through the funding of projects, to facilitate communication activities and to increase awareness.