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Policy brief


Policy brief on the implementation of the EU’s policies



Violent extremism is not a new phenomenon and terrorism has a long history in Europe, often linked to separatist movements, anarchism, and far-right and far-left extremism. The trends, means, and patterns of radicalization have evolved rapidly since the Arab uprisings flared exactly a decade ago. Counter-terrorism (CT) and preventing violent extremism (PVE) strategies have developed alongside these trends at the national and supranational level.

In the wake of a series of Jihad-inspired terror attacks in Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, the UK, and elsewhere, European Union (EU) member states ramped up their military campaigns against the Islamic State (ISIS, aka Daesh) and al-Qaeda in Syria and Iraq. But since the fall of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), governments’ interest in fighting terrorism in the Middle East has decreased. Nevertheless, some European countries remain on the front foot in their securitized PVE approach. Although there is no apparent connection between the anti-jihad war waged by the French army in Mali and the radicalization in France, the government is calling for more support from European countries to fight against jihadi movements in the Sahel. But the appetite for costly expeditionary campaigns is decreasing.

By and large, the phenomenon of violent extremism is perceived as homegrown. And whereas large differences remain in individual countries’ approaches to tackling the challenges posed by violent extremism, it has nevertheless become increasingly clear that today’s security challenges – whether it is terrorism, organized crime, cyberattacks, disinformation, or other evolving cyber-enabled threats – are shared threats that require a transnational approach. Indeed, Europe as a whole faces new security issues and specific challenges for preventive work that (lone) actors and (returning) foreign terrorist fighters raise, while the internet and social media give extremist and terrorist groups and their sympathisers new opportunities for spreading their propaganda, mobilization, and communication. It is against this changed backdrop that this policy brief asks what lessons the EU can learn from best practices identified at the national level, and in the co0ordination efforts with the supranational institutions.
  • Published year: 2020
  • Full version: Read here
  • Publisher: PREVEX
  • Language: English