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Brussels, 14.6.2016

COM(2016) 379 final




supporting the prevention of radicalisation leading to violent extremism EN EN Introduction The recent terrorist attacks in Europe once again underlined the urgent need to tackle the radicalisation leading to violent extremism and terrorism. The majority of the terrorist suspects implicated in those attacks were European citizens, born and raised in Member States, who were radicalised and turned against their fellow citizens to commit atrocities. The prevention of radicalisation is a key part of the fight against terrorism, as was highlighted in the European Agenda on Security1.

The design and implementation of measures countering radicalisation takes place mainly on the ground, at local but also regional or national level, and falls primarily within the competence of the Member States. Local actors are usually best placed to prevent and detect radicalisation both in the short-term and the long-term. At the same time, the EU has a supporting role to play not least because the similar nature of the challenges faced by Member States, and the scale and interconnected nature of the problem, which mean that cooperation, networking, funding and exchange of good practices at Union level also have a role to play.

The EU has been supporting Member States' work in this area for over a decade. In 2005 2, the EU counter-terrorism strategy identified prevention as one of the four pillars of its actions.

The Commission adopted a specific Communication in 20143 identifying priorities for further actions. The European Agenda on Security of April 2015 put the prevention of violent radicalisation in a broader policy context. Following the 12 February 20154 European Council's call and those of the European Parliament5, the Foreign Affairs Council of 9 February 20156 and the Justice and Home Affairs Council of 20 November 2015 7 and 24 March 20168, the Commission proposed further concrete actions in its 20 April 2016 Communication9 to further support the effectiveness of Member States' national policies to tackle radicalisation through: improved EU coordination structures, use of EU wide networks, The European Agenda on Security, COM (2015) 185 of 28 April 2015.

The EU Counter Terrorism Strategy of 30 November 2005, http://register.consilium.europa.eu/doc/srv?l=EN&f=ST%2014469%202005%20REV%204.

Commission Communication on Preventing Radicalisation to Terrorism and Violent Extremism: Strengthening the EU's Response, COM (2013) 941 final of 15 January 2014.

Informal meeting of the Heads of State or Government Brussels, 12 February 2015 - Statement by the members of the European Council, http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2015/02/150212-europeancouncil-statement-fight-against-terrorism/.

European Parliament resolution of 25 November 2015 on the prevention of radicalisation and recruitment of European citizens by terrorist organisations (2015/2063(INI)), http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//NONSGML+COMPARL+PEDOC+PDF+V0//EN&language=EN; see also the European Parliament resolution of 19 January 2016 on the role of intercultural dialogue, cultural diversity and education in promoting EU fundamental values, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//NONSGML+TA+P8-TA-2016DOC+PDF+V0//EN.

Council conclusions on counter-terrorism of 9 February 2015, http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/pressreleases/2015/02/150209-council-conclusions-counter-terrorism/.

Conclusions of the Council of the EU and of the Member States meeting within the Council on CounterTerrorism of 20 November 2015, http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2015/11/20-jhaconclusions-counter-terrorism/.

Joint statement of EU Ministers for Justice and Home Affairs and representatives of EU institutions on the terrorist attacks in Brussels on 22 March 2016, http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/pressreleases/2016/03/24-statement-on-terrorist-attacks-in-brussels-on-22-march/.

Delivering on the European Agenda on Security to fight against terrorism and pave the way towards an effective and genuine Security Union, COM (2016) 230 final.

better deployment of funds and European scale projects. This latest Communication also complements the United Nations Plan of Action to prevent violent extremism presented in January 201610.

Violent radicalisation is not a new phenomenon; however, its most recent manifestations, its scale, as well as the use of new communication tools present new challenges that call for an approach addressing both the immediate security implications of radicalisation as well as the root causes, bringing together all relevant actors across society This Communication addresses the EU's contribution to support Member States in preventing radicalisation leading to violent extremism in the form of terrorism. This multifaceted and complex challenge can only be met through a combination of actions across several policy areas and bringing together competent authorities, and societal and community actors at all levels – local, regional, national and European. This Communication focuses on how work at EU level can support Member States in meeting this challenge in seven specific areas: (i) supporting research, evidence building, monitoring and networking; (ii) countering terrorist propaganda and hate speech online; (iii) addressing radicalisation in prisons; (iv) promoting inclusive education and EU common values; (v) promoting an inclusive, open and resilient society and reaching out to young people; (vi) the security dimension of addressing radicalisation and; (vii) the international dimension.

1. Violent radicalisation, a complex phenomenon that calls for an in-depth knowledge and a multi-faceted response  An increasingly complex and evolving phenomenon The EU has long been confronted with different kinds of terrorism, notably based on extreme political ideologies. These remain a serious concern across the EU, and there are signs that they may increasingly lead to violent extremism in the form of terrorism. However, the drivers of the recent terrorist acts in Europe are different from, and more complex than, previous radicalisation phenomena. Radicalisation today has different root causes, operates on the basis of different recruitment and communication techniques, and is marked by globalised and moving targets inside and outside Europe. It grows in various urban and peri-urban contexts and is fuelled and inspired by violence-inciting ideologies that target new audiences such as women and very young people from different social backgrounds. Moreover, violent radicalisation is a complex matter, that depends on an intricate web of push and pull factors. It is not caused by a single “trigger” and does not have a single cause or an inevitable path, but is usually the result of a combination of different factors The drivers conducive to radicalisation may include a strong sense of personal or cultural alienation, perceived injustice or humiliation reinforced by social marginalisation, xenophobia and discrimination, limited education or employment possibilities, criminality, political factors as well as an ideological and religious dimension, unstructured family ties, personal trauma and other psychological problems. These factors can be exploited by recruiters who prey on vulnerabilities and grievances through manipulation or be reinforced on the contrary, by self-isolation. Social media provide connectivity, virtual participation and an echohttps://www.un.org/counterterrorism/ctitf/en/plan-action-prevent-violent-extremism.

chamber for like-minded extremist views. Moreover, practitioners and academics have noted that the process of radicalisation can in certain circumstances take place in increasingly short time frames. Some 4000 EU nationals are estimated to have joined terrorist organisations in countries of conflict such as Syria and Iraq.

Recent terrorist attacks have put Islamist extremism in the spotlight. Ideological and religious factors are one of many possible drivers of radicalisation. Recruiters and extremist preachers have become adept at exploiting grievances abusing religious narratives and symbols providing justifications for acts of violence. At the same time, religion can play a vital role in preventing or countering radicalisation: it binds communities, strengthens the sense of belonging and guides people in a positive direction.

 Supporting research, evidence building, monitoring and networks EU research has provided useful comparative results on radicalisation and de-radicalisation processes among young people and on the evolving and complex social context of religions, multiculturalism and political extremism in many Member States. It has produced and should continue to produce concrete tools and policy analysis directly usable by Member States' security practitioners and policy-makers. The most recent terrorist attacks perpetrated in Europe, however, show new trends in the process of radicalisation which need to be further investigated.

Several projects on radicalisation were launched under the Seventh Framework Programme for European Research and Technological Development (FP7)11. These projects targeted a better understanding of the drivers underlying radicalisation, as well as methodologies to assess the effectiveness of measures addressing them.

In order to further bridge the gap between academia and security practitioners in this field, the Commission has included research topics on radicalisation and inclusion in 2016 under the Horizon 2020 programme12. There is also important research on religious diversity in Europe13. The fresh evidence generated by these projects will strengthen the capacity of Member States to fine-tune existing policy approaches and develop new policies and practices.

Further research priorities include: systematizing the available knowledge and expertise to support strategic decision-making; enhancing interdisciplinary fieldwork on terrorists' recruiting grounds, socialisation and techniques; using big data in order to analyse the information related to the communication practices of violent radicalisation; improving existing links between academia including non-EU researchers, policy-makers and other stakeholders; and research and education on languages, cultures, religions and ideologies.

FP7 security projects: www.safire-project.eu; www.impacteurope.eu; www.fp7-prime.eu/project;

http://voxpol.eu/. FP7 social science and humanities projects: "Religious Diversity and Secular Models in Europe-Innovative approaches to Law and Policy"; "Finding a place for Islam in Europe"; "Combating inequalities through innovative social practices of, and for, young people in cities across Europe".

EUR 8.5 million call on developing a comprehensive approach to violent radicalisation in the EU from early understanding to improving protection and EUR 5 million call on contemporary radicalisation trends and their implications for Europe.

EUR 2.5 million call on religious diversity in Europe – past, present and future.

Radicalisation Awareness Network Centre of Excellence The Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) Centre of Excellence is the European hub and platform to exchange experiences, pool knowledge, identify best practices and develop new initiatives in tackling radicalisation. It engages, different actors (including psychologists, educators, social workers, community leaders and NGOs together with police, prison and probation officers as well as representatives from different ministries and administrations) in all relevant areas ranging from enhancing resilience against extremist propaganda on the internet, radicalisation in prison as well as in the educational environment with a particular focus on youth. The RAN is conceived as a network of networks and cooperation between other relevant networks and the RAN Centre of Excellence helps pooling relevant expertise and mutually reinforcing initiatives in different policy areas. The Commission has foreseen up to EUR 25 million over a period of four years to the Radicalisation Awareness Network Centre of Excellence to provide specific support to stakeholders in the Member States in designing comprehensive prevent strategies, setting up multi agency frameworks and networks and implementing concrete projects. Finally, the RAN Centre of Excellence is mapping latest research findings which are directly relevant for the concrete work of practitioners and authorities within the different RAN working groups.

Key actions:

 RAN Centre of Excellence providing support to Member States in designing and implementing effective prevent work, providing guidelines and handbooks for establishing multi agency structures, creating a platform for exchange of experiences and practices and through further mapping of research on radicalisation.

 Establishment of a repository of prevent strategies at national, regional or local level, networks of practitioners and national/regional contact points in Member States.

 Mobilising research under Horizon 2020 on the complex root causes of violent radicalisation, in order to deliver concrete tools to allow better informed policy interventions.

2. Countering terrorist propaganda and hate speech online: fighting threats, strengthening critical minds and encouraging civil society engagement.

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