The Juncker Commission made the fight against terrorism a top priority from day one. The Commission drives progress on this in various ways – for instance supporting national measures and promoting cooperation to prevent radicalisation and recruitment, taking steps to shut down terrorist financing and enhancing the protection of public spaces and critical infrastructure.
As part of this work, in July 2017 the Commission set up a group of experts (the High-Level Commission Expert Group on Radicalisation) to offer advice on:
- ways to improve cooperation among stakeholders and Member States;
- the further development of policies for the prevention of radicalisation;
- a mechanism for future structured cooperation in this area.
In its final report, the expert group recognises the valuable work already done, and the achievements of EU initiatives such as:
- the Radicalisation Awareness Network — connecting key practitioners and policy-makers involved in countering radicalisation across the EU
- the EU Internet Forum — disabling access to terrorist content online and increasing the volume of effective counter narratives
- the European Strategic Communications Network — assisting Member States in developing strategic communication strategies to counter violent extremism.
The final report also presents a number of recommendations to the Commission, to address challenges in areas such as:
- radicalisation in prisons
- online propaganda and communication
- ideology and polarisation
- cooperation at local level
- education and social inclusion
- children returning from conflict zones or raised in a radicalised environment.
The Commission welcomes the report and will follow up its recommendations — in particular the recommendation to establish an EU Cooperation Mechanism to ensure closer involvement of Member States in counter-radicalisation work — with these steps:
- First, by setting up a Steering Board composed of Member States (with the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator and the European External Action Service as observers) to ensure that EU actions in this field are better geared towards needs and policy priorities within Member States.
- Second, by gradually setting up a coordination and support structure within the Commission to better connect stakeholders and initiatives across the different policy areas, and to provide guidance and steer for the development of practical guidance to improve the skills of stakeholders.
- Third, by convening a meeting of the network of national prevent policy makers before October 2018 to facilitate further exchanges among Member States and to discuss concrete follow-up actions.
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