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7. The international dimension: addressing violent radicalisation beyond the EU's borders Like EU Member States, third countries also face the challenges of responding to the security threat of radicalisation, address its root-causes and build resilient and cohesive societies. The EU actively works with the UN, the Council of Europe and OSCE in their efforts to counter violent extremism, for example through continued support through the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) initiatives39.

EU action in the international arena follows two complementary approaches. First, when assisting third countries, the EU will support law enforcement and human rights compliant responses that aim to prevent radicalised individuals from committing terrorist acts. Secondly, and more importantly, the EU will step up engagement in preventive action, tackling the root causes of certain forms of radicalisation that can lead to violent extremism.

 Strengthening partner countries' security capacities Where possible, EU support is framed within wider reforms aimed at strengthening security capacities in partner countries since organised crime, smuggling and illicit trafficking as well as weak border management have proven links with violent radicalisation. The EU and its Member States must be better equipped to cooperate with law enforcement agencies in third countries. To this end, the EU will further expand expertise and refine situation awareness in countries that present the highest risks. For example, in the Middle East and North Africa support will be provided to establish effective criminal justice systems to cooperate regionally and internationally in fighting radicalisation.

The EU is engaging with countries through counter terrorism and targeted and upgraded security dialogues leading to the creation of counterterrorism packages and roadmaps. The review of the European Neighbourhood Policy addresses several aspects related to tackling radicalisation, by giving priority to youth, education and socio-economic development.

Tangible progress has been made so far with Tunisia, Lebanon and Jordan. Further actions tackling violent extremism will be launched in order to implement the EU Regional Sahel Action Plan. A number of specific activities to counter radicalisation are taking place in Notably Hedayah and the Global Community Engagement Resilience Fund.

Pakistan and South East Asia. Similar work is taking place in the Horn of Africa and EU support will be extended after the successful conclusion of various pilot projects in the region.

 Supporting third countries in tackling the underlying factors of radicalisation Preventing and countering violent extremism has become a key component of the EU's external counter-terrorism activities and has been mainstreamed into development policy bridging the gap between security and development. The EU funded package of "Strengthening Resilience to Violence and Extremism" (STRIVE)40 activities has been the precursor to the development of an increasing number of initiatives aimed at identifying drivers for youth extremism, empowering women, promoting community dialogue, strengthening local actors or improving the media and education capacities to counter radicalising ideologies.

Financial support to civil society will factor in the anti-radicalisation dimension, as specified in the 2015 review of the European Neighbourhood Policy41. The EU will further interact with civil society, practitioners and academia, including in partner countries, to deepen its understanding of the driving factors and identify effective responses. Where possible, the experience and expertise gained with the RAN will be mobilised outside the EU's borders, in priority third countries, especially in Turkey, the MENA region and the Western Balkans, provided certain requirements are fulfilled.

The EU is offering a more positive narrative through targeted communication to young audiences that may be more vulnerable to radicalisation. Among numerous ongoing activities, a Strategic Communication Task Force works with EU Delegations in Arab countries and with the Anti-ISIL Global Coalition to identify shared values and develop concrete actions.

For example, the EU co-funds a project in Tunisia to increase financial inclusion among vulnerable communities through micro-credits. The Commission finances a project of EUR 3 million for Tunisia, Morocco and Lebanon that helps build community resilience by working with the civil society and amplifying voices through strategic communications.

The EU will encourage direct contacts between people. It will extend further the eTwinning platform to selected countries of the European Neighbourhood, especially those facing problems related to violent radicalisation and where intercultural dialogue is most needed42.

The Commission will also launch an Erasmus+ project to connect students and other young people from the EU and third countries. These moderated virtual exchanges will help young people develop mutual understanding and respect and also improve intercultural skills that employers are looking for.

Key actions:

 Supporting international organisations in their work to counter violent extremism.


The EU has provided substantial support to counter-terrorism measures by means of a variety of instruments, in particular under the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP), the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) and through wider development.

The eTwinning network is already active in some third countries, notably in Tunisia, where nearly 300 teachers and 85 schools are currently registered on this online platform.

 Additional initiatives to focus EU's external financial instruments on the prevention of violent radicalisation.

 Continue support to the Global Counter Terrorism Forum (GCTF) initiatives working on preventing and countering violent extremism.

 Extending further eTwinning Plus networks to selected countries of the EU's neighbourhood.

 Launching a feasibility project for Erasmus+ Virtual Exchanges to promote online engagement of young people with the aim of reaching 200,000 young people by 2019.


Violent radicalisation is an increasingly complex and evolving challenge that calls for new and wide-ranging responses, from immediate security concerns to addressing underlying factors. As indicated in the Commission Communication on delivering on the European Agenda on Security, the absolute priority must be to prevent more people from being radicalised and ensure that those who already are enter de-radicalisation programmes and are prevented from spreading terrorist propaganda and hate speech". Member States are in the front line, be it through its security and judiciary bodies, teachers, social workers and civil society. The EU can play a supportive role by mobilising its policies, its coordination capacity and its financial instruments, to assist national actions and provide real added value on the ground, within the limits of its competences.

This Communication sets out concrete actions to support Member States in introducing initiatives and policies that will help us prevent and tackle radicalisation and violent extremism within the EU and in third countries. The Commission encourages Member States to make use of the various support measures and cooperative tools at EU level to support their work. In the end, it is only in a joint effort by all stakeholders at national, EU and international level that the challenge of violent radicalisation can be effectively overcome.

The Commission invites the European Parliament and the Council to endorse this Communication, with a view to implementing the actions proposed, in close cooperation with all relevant actors.

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