Anti-terrorism: EU home affairs chief calls for more cooperation with UN

Written by Martin Banks on 8 April 2016 in News
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EU home affairs Commissioner says that defeating terrorism cannot be done by military or security means alone.

Speaking on Friday, Dimitris Avramopoulous, the Commissioner responsible for migration, home affairs and citizenship, said, "Terrorism cannot be defeated with security measures alone.

"We need to counter radicalisation and recruitment to terrorism holistically, by involving all relevant policy areas and actors of society; we need to find innovative cross-sectoral approaches and partnerships. The UN has an important role to play in these global efforts."

His comments come in the wake of the recent deadly terrorist attacks in Brussels which left 32 people dead and scores of others injured.


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On Thursday, an appeal was made for public support to catch one of the bombers who is still on the run.

Avramopoulous was speaking in Geneva at a high-level conference on 'preventing violent extremism - the way forward'.

The event was organised by the United Nations in partnership with Switzerland. 

The UN's action plan to prevent violent extremism and key issues related to the fight against radicalisation was among the issues discussed.

The Greek official told the conference, "The horrific terrorist attacks around the globe remind us of the urgent need to join forces to fight radicalisation and recruitment to terrorism, at a global level."

He points out that the EU set up a 'radicalisation awareness centre of excellence', with 2000 European professionals such as teachers, health care workers, social and youth workers, prison officers and NGOs to exchange best practices on prevention.

"The approach," said the official, "is founded on understanding root causes. The goal is to propose practical tools and recommendations to both practitioners and decision makers."

Europe, he said, had also targeted "abuse" of the internet by terrorists who use the medium to "target our youngest, most vulnerable citizens with messages of violence."

"Beyond our own backyards, we are also active in developing strategic communications to people outside the EU. A taskforce is working in the Arab world to identify shared values and develop concrete communication actions."

He added, "Addressing root causes means also eradicating the inequalities that lead to exclusion, marginalisation and radicalisation.

"Our material support to developing countries is a given. Poverty reduction, ensuring sustainable economic, social and environmental development, democracy, rule of law, good governance and human rights - these are critical pieces of the anti-radicalisation puzzle."

Meanwhile, Belgian police say they have received dozens of tips after spreading new footage reconstructing the Brussels Airport bomb suspect's walk from Zaventem to the Brussels borough of Schaarbeek, where he was last caught on camera.

The compilation of this so-called "crime clip" is a first for Belgium. 

"The dream of what we see in CSI is becoming reality", says Willy Bruggeman, spokesperson for the federal police.

The clip takes over two minutes and was made using CCTV images from various spots spread over a long distance - the man walked over nine kilometres in two hours. The suspect, dubbed the man with the hat, was the third man seen on Brussels Airport CCTV footage just before the blasts. He allegedly also left a strong bomb behind, which didn't go off.

Existing and new measures to fight terrorism following recent attacks are up for a debate between MEPs and the Commission in Strasbourg on Tuesday.

About the author

Martin Banks is a Brussels-based freelance journalist

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