Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for the Security Union Sir Julian King, Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu and the President of Committee of the Regions Karl-Heinz Lambertz, today reaffirm the importance of ensuring the security of citizens across the EU by protecting our public spaces and preventing radicalisation. Having suffered tragic terrorist attacks in recent years, local authorities can play an active and crucial role in the protection of citizens.
Considering the cross-border and transnational nature of terrorism, we stress the need for cooperation to fight this scourge at all levels of governance: local, regional, national and EU-wide. By uniting our efforts, we intend to do our utmost to protect our citizens in public spaces.
We underline the value of the joint initiative of the European Commission and the European Committee of the Regions as an important step further to promote cooperation against terrorism at local level. We also highlight the Commission's Action Plan to support the protection of public spaces as a key instrument to achieve this goal. The fruitful exchanges at this conference and the initiatives presented will feed into the ongoing work to implement the measures of the Action Plan.
Additionally, there is a need to mobilise all available funding under the Internal Security Fund for Police, and in the area of urban security, under the Urban Innovative Actions, as a vital means, amongst others, to enhance the security of our public spaces, also through public-private cooperation. We invite cities and local authorities to maximise the use of financial support from the European Union for joint actions and projects, including for developing guidance materials and implementing the 'security by design' principle in the conception and development of our public spaces.
We underline the shared responsibility for the protection of our public spaces with private stakeholders and operators and express our wish to continue cooperating closely with them in the framework of the recently established EU Operators Forum, through the sharing of information and knowledge and the development of common security strategies and tools. Joining our public and private efforts in the fight against terrorism would benefit from more structured cooperation and sharing mechanisms.
The prevention of radicalisation in our cities is an issue of utmost urgency, and requires a holistic approach based on all relevant policies, including in the field of education and social inclusion, with the aim of increasing prevention and resilience against radicalisation and ultimately to prevent terrorist attacks from materialising. Cities, practitioners and other local stakeholders need to be supported in their efforts to prevent and counter all forms of radicalisation. Information exchange, exchanges of good practices, the collection of data and training can draw on existing fora such as the Radicalisation Awareness Network, in close coordination with other networks and initiatives such as Efus, the Alliance of European Cities against violent extremism.
We welcome the intention of EU mayors to set up a covenant of mayors on the protection of public spaces as an important contribution to the EU's efforts to protect citizens in public spaces and counter radicalisation.
We therefore invite all representatives of cities from the European Union to join the common effort to address terrorism and radicalisation and make our cities safer for our citizens.
For More Information
Opening speech of Commissioner Avramopoulos
Closing remarks of Commissioner Creţu (will be available after delivery)
Programme – the EU Mayors' Conference on "Building Urban Defences Against Terrorism" in Brussels"
Factsheet – A Europe that Protects: Preventing Radicalisation
Factsheet – Security Union: Protecting Public Spaces