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Addressing the factors contributing to violent radicalisation

This communication is the Commission's initial contribution to the development of a long-term EU strategy for addressing the factors contributing to violent radicalisation *. Combating this phenomenon, which forms part of the Hague Programme, has been a priority matter since the terrorist attacks in Madrid and London. The Commission takes stock of the measures already adopted and proposes new measures.

ACT

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council concerning terrorist recruitment: addressing the factors contributing to violent radicalisation [COM (2005) 313 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

SUMMARY

This communication is the Commission's initial contribution to the development of a long-term EU strategy for addressing the factors contributing to radicalisation and recruitment to terrorist activities. The measures set out are a combination of:

  • soft measures, such as inter-cultural exchanges among young people;
  • hard measures, such as the prohibition of satellite broadcasts inciting terrorism.

All the measures and recommendations in this communication must be viewed as complementary to, and in support of, current national efforts.

Broadcast media

The [TWF] prohibits any incitement to hatred on grounds of race, sex, religion or nationality in broadcasts. Under some circumstances, this includes third-country programmes transmitted to the EU. The Commission notes that the effective application of this prohibition in third-country programmes is working quite well.

In addition, it plans:

  • to organise a conference on the role of the media in radicalisation and in the fight against terrorism;
  • to support cooperation between national regulatory authorities in the broadcasting field.

Internet

The E-Commerce Directive provides for the possibility of taking appropriate measures against violent radicalisation. Member States may:

  • derogate from the rules governing freedom of movement to take measures, such as sanctions or injunctions, that restrict the provision of a particular on-line service from another Member State where there is a need to protect certain public policy interests;
  • to oblige information society service providers to inform the public authorities immediately of illegal activities;
  • to require the removal of any illegal information.

The Commission encourages Member States to make use of the enabling provisions in the Directive in the most effective way to address violent radicalisation in Europe.

Education, youth engagement and active European citizenship

Various European programmes make it possible to combat violent radicalisation:

  • the Youth programme develops understanding of cultural diversity in Europe;
  • the 2007 Culture programme promotes intercultural dialogue and enhances the understanding of cultural diversity;
  • the Socrates programme is designed, among other things, to develop concepts of European citizenship.

In the same connection, the Commission has launched a proposal to adopt a new programme entitled "Citizens for Europe". One of the objectives of this programme, which is designed to promote active European citizenship, is to enhance mutual understanding between European citizens by respecting and celebrating cultural diversity.

Encouraging integration, inter-cultural dialogue and dialogue with religions

As regards integration, the Commission notes that policies in this field can have positive effects on preventing violent radicalisation. It is committed, therefore, under the Hague Programme to take action to promote more vigorous national integration policies. It has:

  • set out its proposals in a communication adopted in September 2005;
  • proposed, under the financial perspectives 2007-2013, the setting up of a European Integration Fund.

The Commission will stress that a holistic approach to integration is necessary that includes not only access to the labour market for all groups but also measures designed:

  • to combat discrimination: a number of directives have been adopted in this respect. In addition, 20% of the European Social Fund budget is already being allocated to improving equal opportunities in employment for disadvantaged groups;
  • to reduce social inequalities: the Commission here takes the view that Community policies may prove helpful, particularly those designed to step up the regeneration of deprived areas and neighbourhoods, to improve housing conditions, to encourage access to education and to protect against social exclusion.

As regards the cultural dialogue, the Commission plans to launch a proposal to establish 2008 as the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue.

As regards dialogue with religions, the Commission organises regular conferences and seminars to strengthen mutual understanding and to promote European values. For instance, a Conference of EU Home Affairs Ministers was held in 2002 on "The inter-faith dialogue - a social cohesion factor in Europe and an instrument of peace in the Mediterranean area". The aim was to discuss establishing a "European Forum for inter-faith and faith-governments dialogue".

Law enforcement authorities and security services

The Commission:

  • suggests that those Member States that promote the recruitment of people from different backgrounds should also encourage other Member States to do likewise;
  • urges Member States that have already attained good results to share their experiences and best practices with other Member States via EU structures, and in particular Europol and the Joint Situation Centre (SitCen).

Expert networks

The Commission is planning to allocate funds to establish a network of experts that will submit a preliminary contribution on the state of knowledge on violent radicalisation at the beginning of 2006.

It will also launch a public tender for studies in this area that will focus in particular on:

  • the motivational and desisting factors for violent radicalisation;
  • the socio-economic factors contributing to such radicalisation.

Monitoring and collection of data

The Commission:

  • has received feedback in the form of a study from the Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights about the link between violent radicalisation and fundamental rights within the legal framework of Member States;
  • has taken note of the studies by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), notably with regard to racist violence and Islamophobia. It will ask the EUMC for studies on different manifestations of hatred towards fundamental constitutional values of the EU, such as religious freedom and equality between men and women.

External relations

Dialogue with and, where appropriate, technical assistance to third countries and regional partners must be an integral part of the EU approach to addressing violent radicalisation and terrorist recruitment.

The Commission is planning to promote development aid as an instrument for combating violent radicalisation and terrorist recruitment. Such assistance can help erode the support base for terrorist networks through a focus on reducing inequalities, providing support for democratisation and ensuring good governance.

The Commission would also like:

  • to deepen the dialogue with the Mediterranean countries on anti-radicalisation measures within the framework of the institutions created by the Association Agreements. This dialogue can be based on the EU action plans adopted under the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), which includes a number of anti-radicalisation measures;
  • to promote moderate Islam in the third countries where Islam is the predominant religion, with support being given to moderate Islamic groups;
  • to direct the funding priorities under the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights towards the need to fight racism and xenophobia in the content of its cooperation with third countries in the field of human rights.

Context

The Hague Programme provides for the development of a long-term EU strategy for combating violent radicalisation. This measure forms part of a holistic approach to the preventive side of fighting terrorism. The recent terrorist attacks in London (July 2005) and Madrid (March 2004) have underscored the priority nature of addressing violent radicalisation. This communication served as the basis for the document drawing up an EU counter-terrorism strategy that was adopted by the Justice and Home Affairs Council in December 2005.

Key terms used in the act
  • Violent radicalisation: the phenomenon by which certain individuals holding certain points of view, opinions and ideas may be led to commit terrorist acts.
 
Last updated: 19.01.2006
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