The EU must do more to tackle radicalisation

Written by Claude Moraes on 9 September 2015 in Opinion
Opinion

As the terror threat rises more must be done to combat radicalisation, argues Claude Moraes.

On 7 July this year, I presented, on behalf of the European Parliament, my resolution on the European agenda for security 2015-2020.

This was our contribution to the European Commission's strategy and, poignantly, it took place on the anniversary of the 7/7 bombings in London, the city I represent in the Parliament.

The 7/7 bombings remain one of the deadliest single terrorist attacks in Europe's post-war history.


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These events also spoke of the new challenges posed by the radicalisation of EU citizens. Internal security, combating terrorism and dealing with the new challenges of radicalisation are high on individual member states' list of priorities.

Therefore, many wonder what the role of the EU should be. The answer is clear in the effective and valuable contributions of agencies such as Europol and Eurojust. These are the first line in preventing, and responding to, terrorist attacks on EU soil.

Countering terrorism is often a cross-border activity requiring the most sensitive handling of our personal data, such as passenger name records (PNR). Parliament must use its power to legislate with great care and effectiveness to ensure balanced, competent anti-terrorism measures.

MEPs take their role in sharing best practice on tackling radicalisation very seriously - my colleague, Rachida Dati, makes that clear in her report on this topic.

No one country has all the best solutions as to how to deal with this issue or how to tackle the extraordinary phenomenon of so-called 'foreign-fighters'. Most are, in fact, EU citizens born in the EU, some radicalised and some travelling with mixed motivations and sentiments.

How we deal with this within our judicial, criminal, education and prison structures presents tough questions that the EU must not only ask but also answer.

The EU’s Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) has also strengthened and encouraged the exchange of best practice between community professionals and groups to end radicalisation.

Now more than ever, it is essential to improve cooperation between EU agencies, national law enforcement agencies and community groups to offer a coherent strategy to prevent the radicalisation of our citizens.

Information-sharing between law enforcement agencies is a major asset in disrupting terrorist networks across the EU.

However, such information collection must fully respect strong data protection safeguards. Concluding negotiations on the data protection package, expected by the end of 2015, will be a major step forward.

In recent months, the European Parliament’s civil liberties, justice and home affairs (LIBE) committee met with the European Commission, Council and representatives from national governments and civil society to outline the EU counter-radicalisation and counter-terrorism roadmap.

It is important that policymakers maintain a strong dialogue to ensure unity on this crucial issue.

As chair of the LIBE committee, I will keep pushing for a strategy that promotes better use of existing cross-border measures and that looks at all aspects that lead to radicalisation.

Promoting tolerance and respecting diversity are two core European values that we must apply when tackling the root causes of radicalisation.

About the author

Claude Moraes is chair of Parliament's civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee

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