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Working paper


Working paper on the implementation of the EU’s policies



This working paper builds on earlier research in which we mapped and analysed the toolbox of the European Union (EU) and a handful of European countries by providing a comprehensive overview of existing measures aimed at counter-terrorism (CT) and preventing violent extremism (PVE) within and outside the EU. It listed the institutional setup, the decision-making processes, and co-ordinating practices at both the EU and state levels. In addition to an analysis of CT and PVE strategies at the level of EU institutions, the toolbox of four EU member states (Germany, France, Ireland, Spain) and one former member state (UK) was unpacked because of their particular experiences with and competences in the area of prevention of violent extremism.

Overall, our research found that the PVE agenda is quite a recent phenomenon in most member states and principally aims at preventing violent Islamist extremism through community engagement. The UK has been a pioneer in developing a ‘prevent’ pillar as part of its 2003 CT strategy and has since then actively contributed to the development of an EUlevel PVE framework. This EU framework has in turn pushed other member states, such as Ireland and Spain, to develop their own national PVE strategies in recent years. While Germany has also over the past decade made significant strides in preventing involvement in extremism and has brought its national practices to the EU level, France has generally favoured a more securitized than preventive approach.

The present working paper takes the research one step further by looking more closely at the implementation of adopted PVE measures and practices in the EU and the abovementioned key states, both domestically as well as vis-à-vis the Western Balkans and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. As such, we present a more evaluative overview geared towards identifying best practices and lessons learned in this field. The paper not only focuses on how policy is implemented and followed up, but also assesses the EU’s experiences in co-operating with member states and vice versa. In doing so, the research tries to take on board key recent developments, in particular in France and at the EU level, in response to a new series of terrorist attacks that took place in Paris, Nice, and Vienna between the end of October and mid-November 2020. The research builds on a set of in-depth interviews with PVE officials and practitioners within the EU and national administrations.
  • Published year: 2020
  • Full version: Read here
  • Publisher: PREVEX
  • Language: English