Brussels, 28 January 2013
Sharpening our tools against violent extremism
How to sharpen Europe's tools to prevent violent extremism? A High Level Conference in Brussels on 29 January 2013 aims to give the answers to these questions, based on the work carried out by experts and practitioners in the Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN), launched by EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström in 2011. Policy proposals include training local police to detect signs of radicalisation into violent extremism, and providing de-radicalisation or exit programs for members of extremist groups. By bringing together field workers with ministers, academia and local authorities, the conference aims to take the EU's work against extremism to a new level.
''Violent extremism represents one of the greatest threats to EU citizens' security. It is an ever-growing and increasing internal security concern.The terrorist threat has in part shifted away from organised groups to individuals, who are harder to detect, and whose actions are harder to predict. A lot can be learnt from front line professionals and their recommendations provide important tools and concrete suggestions for policy makers in countering extremism,'' said Commissioner Cecilia Malmström.
''We will not defeat violent extremism without also addressing the populist and demagogic propaganda which lays the ground for ideologically motivated violence in Europe," added Commissioner Malmström. "Not since World War II have extremist and populist forces had so much influence on national parliaments as they have today. We need more European leaders to express their opposition to rising extremism. We must have the courage to stand up and protect our common European values".
The people best placed to tackle the phenomenon of violent extremism are those in direct contact with vulnerable individuals or groups. All over Europe there are field workers, researchers, teachers and community leaders who are trying to identify and help individuals who are at risk of becoming radicalized and committing violent acts. At the high-level conference, these field workers will join forces with the interior or justice ministers of Belgium, Cyprus, France, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Norway and Sweden, as well as representatives from a range of other countries.
The Radicalisation Awareness Network has gathered the foremost experts and practitioners in the field into 8 working groups, dealing with police and law enforcement; voices of victims of terrorism; internet and social media; prevention; de-radicalisation; prison and probation; health; internal and external dimension. The working groups have elaborated 15 recommendations in three main areas: experiences and lessons learned by local actors in preventing violent extremism; the role of diasporas in preventing violent extremism; communication and counter-messaging via the Internet.
The proposals to be discussed at the conference also include helping victims of terrorism sharing their stories as a power tool for prevention; engaging former extremists to deconstruct violent extremist narratives and using resources from public-relations companies and film industry in developing counter-narratives and help promoting effective alternative messages online.
Terrorism, in all its forms, remains a key challenge for the internal security of the EU. Preventing and addressing radicalisation are amongst the key objectives set in the Communication on the Internal Security Strategy adopted in 2010 (IP/10/1535 and MEMO/10/598).
Recognizing that radicalisation can be best contained at a level closest to the vulnerable individuals in the most affected communities, the Commission launched in September 2011 the EU Radicalisation Awareness Network – RAN (IP/11/1011).
The RAN supports first-line local practitioners involved in countering violent extremism across the EU, and facilitates the exchange of experiences and best practices amongst them.
The High Level conference takes place on January 29 in Brussels at Palais d'Egmont where some of the experts will be available for media contact and interviews.
Media attendance is strictly conditioned to pre-registration. To register please e-mail
Audio-visual material from the conference will be available at: http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/
More information on the High Level Conference
About the Radicalisation Awareness Network
Cecilia Malmström's website
Follow Commissioner Malmström on Twitter
DG Home Affairs website
Follow DG Home Affairs on Twitter
Michele Cercone (+32 2 298 09 63)
Tove Ernst (+32 2 298 67 64)