EU action plan to check extremism

Brussels, Jan 18 (IANS/WAM) A 10-point action plan published by the European Commission calls on European Union (EU) countries to do more to tackle the threat of extremist violence.

The Commission has earmarked 20 million euros to help implement the recommendations over the next four years, according to a press statement issued Wednesday.

The plan calls for stronger preventive and coordinated action to combat the radicalisation of potential terrorists and the rising threat of violent political extremism across Europe.

One of the main proposals is for more action to stop people from getting involved in extremist activities in the first place, or to convince them to turn away from such radical ideologies.

To achieve that aim, the Commission wants EU countries to develop programmes that encourage extremists to leave radicalised environments and abandon violence.

The plan also calls for the creation of an EU-wide knowledge hub to share information, research and best practice on dealing with political extremism.

Another proposal is for internet discussion forums and social media to be used to combat the spread of propaganda and online recruitment techniques.

The suggested measures aim not only to prevent extremist violence within Europe, but also to discourage European residents travelling abroad from committing terrorist acts, attending terrorism training camps or fighting in conflict zones.

Such people often become further radicalised in the process and when they return to Europe pose an increased internal security threat, the statement said.

The Commission will allocate funds to train frontline practitioners, such as law enforcement and prison officers and social workers, to recognise and help people who could be at risk of espousing extremist views.

The 10 recommendations are the result of two years’ work by the Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN), set up by the Commission in 2011, which brought together 700 experts and frontline practitioners from all over Europe.