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Procedure : 2015/2063(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0316/2015

Texts tabled :

A8-0316/2015

Debates :

PV 24/11/2015 - 12
CRE 24/11/2015 - 12

Votes :

PV 25/11/2015 - 9.7
CRE 25/11/2015 - 9.7

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2015)0410

Texts adopted
PDF 245kWORD 136k
Wednesday, 25 November 2015 - Strasbourg Final edition
Prevention of radicalisation and recruitment of European citizens by terrorist organisations
P8_TA(2015)0410A8-0316/2015

European Parliament resolution of 25 November 2015 on the prevention of radicalisation and recruitment of European citizens by terrorist organisations (2015/2063(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 21 of the Treaty on European Union and to Articles 4, 8, 10, 16, 67, 68, 70, 71, 72, 75, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87 and 88 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the publications ‘European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey Data – Focus Report 2: Muslims’ and ‘FRA survey on Jewish people's experiences and perceptions of hate crime and discrimination in European Union Member States’, both published by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA),

–  having regard to the resolution adopted by the UN Security Council on 8 October 2004 on ‘Threats to International Peace and Security Caused by Terrorism’,

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, in particular Articles 6, 7, 8, 10(1), 11, 12, 21, 48, 49, 50 and 52 thereof,

–  having regard to the EU Internal Security Strategy as adopted by the Council on 25 February 2010,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 22 November 2010 entitled ‘The EU Internal Security Strategy in Action: Five steps towards a more secure Europe’ (COM(2010)0673) and creating the European Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 September 2013 on the second report on the implementation of the EU Internal Security Strategy(1) ,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 15 January 2014 entitled ‘Preventing radicalisation to terrorism and violent extremism: Strengthening the EU's Response’ (COM(2013)0941),

–  having regard to the Revised EU Strategy for Combating Radicalisation and Recruitment to Terrorism, adopted by the Justice and Home Affairs Council at its meeting on 19 May 2014 and approved by the Council at its meeting of 5 and 6 June 2014 (9956/14),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 20 June 2014 on the final implementation report of the EU Internal Security Strategy 2010-2014 (COM(2014)0365),

–  having regard to Europol’s EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (TE-SAT) for 2014,

–  having regard to the resolution adopted by the UN Security Council on 24 September 2014 on threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts (Resolution 2178 (2014)),

–  having regard to the report of the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator to the European Council of 24 November 2014 (15799/14),

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 December 2014 on renewing the EU Internal Security Strategy(2) ,

–  having regard to the conclusions of the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council of 9 October and 5 December 2014,

–  having regard to the statement of the informal JHA Council of 11 January 2015,

–  having regard to its plenary debate of 28 January 2015 on anti-terrorism measures,

–  having regard to its resolution of 11 February 2015 on anti-terrorism measures(3) ,

–  having regard to the informal JHA Council held in Riga on 29 and 30 January 2015,

–  having regard to the conclusions of the Justice and Home Affairs Council of 12 and 13 March 2015,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 28 April 2015 on the European Security Agenda (COM(2015)0185),

–  having regard to the ECJ ruling on the Data Retention Directive,

–  having regard to the additional protocol to the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism and the Council of Europe’s action plan on the fight against violent extremism and radicalisation leading to terrorism adopted on 19 May 2015,

–  having regard to the Commission Green Paper entitled ‘Strengthening mutual trust in the European judicial area – A Green Paper on the application of EU criminal justice legislation in the field of detention’(COM(2011)0327),

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Culture and Education (A8-0316/2015),

A.  whereas more than 5000 European citizens have joined terrorist organisations and other military formations, particularly ISIS (Da’esh), Jahbat al-Nusra and others outside the European Union, especially in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region; whereas this phenomenon is speeding up and taking on significant proportions;

B.  whereas radicalisation has become a term used to describe the phenomenon of people embracing intolerant opinions, views and ideas which could lead to violent extremism;

C.  whereas the recent terrorist attacks in France, Belgium, Tunisia and Copenhagen highlight the security threat which is posed by the presence and movement of these ‘foreign’ fighters who are often EU nationals, in Europe and in its neighbourhood; whereas the EU has condemned these attacks in the strongest terms and has committed itself to combating terrorism alongside the Member States, inside and outside EU territory;

D.  whereas the terrible terrorist attacks that killed and wounded hundreds of people in Paris on 13 November 2015 have highlighted once more the urgent need for coordinated action by the Member States and the European Union to prevent radicalisation and fight against terrorism;

E.  whereas the terrorist threat is significant in the EU, particularly in those Member States that have been or still are militarily engaged in overseas operations in the Middle East and Africa;

F.  whereas the radicalisation of these ‘European fighters’ is a complex and dynamic phenomenon that is based on a series of global, sociological and political factors; whereas it does not correspond to one single profile, and affects men, women, and particularly young European citizens of all social origins, who share the common trait of feeling at odds with society; whereas the causes of radicalisation may equally be socio-economic, ideological, personal or psychological, and, for that reason, it has to be understood in the light of the background of each individual concerned;

G.  whereas, because of terrorism and radicalisation, there is much stereotyping of religions, which in turn is bringing about renewed upsurges of hate crimes and hate speech motivated by racism, xenophobia or intolerance of opinions, beliefs or religions; whereas it must be pointed out that it is the perverse misuse of religion, and not religion per se, that is one of the causes of radicalisation;

H.  whereas radicalisation is not to be associated with any one ideology or faith but may occur within any of them;

I.  whereas one of the arguments used by violent extremists in recruiting young people is that islamophobia is increasing, following years of war on terror, and that Europe is no longer a place where Muslims are welcome or can live in equality and practise their faith without discrimination and stigmatisation; whereas this can lead to a feeling of vulnerability, aggressive anger, frustration, loneliness and isolation from society;

J.  whereas combating radicalisation cannot be limited to Islamic radicalisation; whereas religious radicalisation and violent extremism also affect the entire African continent; whereas political radicalisation also affected Europe in 2011, in Norway with the attacks perpetrated by Anders Behring Breivik;

K.  whereas the vast majority of terrorist attacks in EU countries have for years been perpetrated by separatist organisations;

L.  whereas, according to Europol in 2013 there were 152 terrorist attacks in the EU, of which two were ‘religiously motivated’ and 84 were motivated by ethno-nationalist or separatist beliefs, while in 2012 there were 219 terrorist attacks in the EU, of which six were ‘religiously motivated’;

M.  whereas combating terrorism and preventing the radicalisation and recruitment of European citizens by terrorist organisations still falls essentially within the sphere of competence of the Member States, but European cooperation is essential for the efficient and effective exchange of information between law enforcement agencies in order to combat the cross-border nature of the threat posed by terrorists; whereas a concerted European approach is thus necessary and will provide added value in terms of coordinating or harmonising where appropriate the legislation applying in an area in which European citizens are free to move, and of making prevention and counterterrorism effective; whereas combating trafficking in firearms should be a priority for the EU in fighting serious and organised international crime;

N.  whereas human rights must be at the core of the Union’s policies on counterterrorism and prevention of radicalisation, while it must be ensured that the right balance is struck between public safety and respect for fundamental rights, including the rights to security, privacy, and freedom of expression, religion, and association;

O.  whereas Jewish communities are the target of terrorist and anti-Semitic attacks, leading to an increasing perception of insecurity and fear within those communities in Europe;

P.  whereas the rise of terrorism and foreign fighters has increased intolerance towards ethnic and religious communities in several countries in Europe; considering that a holistic approach to fighting discrimination in general and Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in particular, are complementary in relation to working for the specific prevention of terrorist extremism;

Q.  whereas a number of instruments already exist in Europe to address the radicalisation of European citizens and whereas the EU and its Member States should make full use of these tools and look to enhancing them in order to reflect the current challenges the EU and Member States face; whereas there remains a reluctance on the part of Member States to cooperate in sensitive areas, such as information and intelligence sharing; whereas, given the increasing significance of terrorist radicalisation, which is in total contradiction with European values, new means must be implemented, and this must take place in compliance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights;

R.  whereas it is essential that in all measures undertaken by the Member States and the EU fundamental rights and civil liberties are respected, namely the right to private life, the right to security, the right to data protection, the presumption of innocence, the right to a fair trial and due process, freedom of expression and freedom of religion; whereas the security of European citizens must preserve their rights and liberties; whereas, indeed, these two principles are two sides of the same coin;

S.  whereas the extent to which Member States assume responsibility to counteract the risk of radicalisation and the prevention of recruitment by terrorist organisations can vary greatly from one Member State to another; whereas, while some Member States have already taken effective measures, others are lagging behind in their action to tackle this phenomenon;

T.  whereas concerted European action is required as a matter of urgency to prevent the radicalisation and recruitment of European citizens by terrorist organisations in order to contain this growing phenomenon and thus stem the flow of departures by European citizens to conflict zones, deradicalise the home-stayers, and prevent other terrorist acts from being committed;

U.  whereas this is an international phenomenon and lessons may be learned from many parts of the world;

V.  whereas the important thing now is to put greater emphasis on and invest in preventive rather than reactive measures to address the radicalisation of European citizens and their recruitment by terrorist organisations; whereas a strategy to counter extremism, radicalisation and terrorist recruitment within the EU can only work if it is developed in parallel to a strategy of integration and social inclusion and of reintegration and deradicalisation of so-called ‘foreign fighters’ who are returnees;

W.  whereas certain forms of internet use is conducive to radicalisation, enabling fanatics throughout the world to connect with each other and recruit vulnerable individuals without any physical contact whatsoever and in a manner that is difficult to trace;

X.  whereas it is essential to clearly distinguish behaviour aimed at preparing and/or supporting terrorist attacks or acts by or opinions of extremists that lack the mens rea and actus reus ;

Y.  whereas terrorist radicalisation appears to be attributable to factors that are both internal and external to the Union;

Z.  whereas combating terrorist radicalisation must form part of a global approach that aims to ensure an open Europe and is based on a set of common values;

AA.  whereas youth radicalisation should not be disconnected from its social and political context and must be investigated within the broader scope of sociology of conflict and violence studies;

AB.  whereas the causes of terrorist radicalisation have not been studied to a sufficient extent; whereas lack of integration cannot be perceived as the primary cause of terrorist radicalisation;

AC.  whereas, according to the European Court of Justice, the fact that a person has been a member of an organisation which, because of its involvement in terrorist acts, is on the list forming the Annex to Common Position 2001/931/CFSP and that the person has actively supported the armed struggle waged by that organisation does not automatically constitute a serious reason for considering that the person concerned has committed a ‘serious non-political crime' or 'acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations’; on the other hand, where there are serious reasons for considering that a person has committed such a crime or has been guilty of such acts this is conditional on an assessment on a case-by-case basis of the specific facts and on whether individual responsibility for carrying out those acts can be attributed to the person concerned;

AD.  whereas in order to be able to revoke a residence permit granted to a refugee on the ground that the refugee supports such a terrorist organisation, the competent authorities are nevertheless obliged to carry out, under the supervision of the national courts, an individual assessment of the specific facts concerning the actions of both the organisation and the refugee in question;

I.European added value in the prevention of terrorism

1.  In the light of the dramatic events in Paris, condemns the murderous attacks, and expresses its condolences to and solidarity with the victims and their families, while reaffirming the need to take a stand against violence; condemns also the use of stereotypes and xenophobic and racist discourse and practices by individuals and collective authorities which, directly or indirectly, link the terrorist attacks to the refugees who are currently fleeing their countries in search of a safer place, escaping from war and acts of violence which occur in their home countries on a daily basis;

2.  Emphasises that terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any specific religion, nationality or civilisation;

3.  Expresses its concern that, unless the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism are addressed, the phenomenon of EU citizens travelling to other countries to join jihadist or other extremist groups, as well as the specific security risk they present when returning to the EU and the neighbouring countries, is likely to worsen in the years ahead, especially given the ongoing military escalation in the MENA region; calls for a comprehensive study on the effectiveness of national and EU measures aimed at preventing and combating terrorism;

4.  Calls on the Commission to establish as a priority an action plan to implement and evaluate the EU strategy for combating radicalisation and recruitment to terrorism, on the basis of the exchange of best practice and the pooling of skills within the European Union, the evaluation of measures undertaken in the Member States and cooperation with third countries and international organisations, on a basis of full respect for international human rights conventions and through a multistakeholder and multisectoral participative and consultative approach; takes the view that the Commission should contribute to and support the development by Member States of an effective and intensive communication strategy on preventing the radicalisation and recruitment of European citizens and of non-EU nationals residing in the EU by terrorist organisations;

5.  Calls on the Member States to coordinate their strategies and share the information and experience at their disposal, to implement good practices at both national and European level, to cooperate with a view to taking new steps in combating radicalisation and recruitment to terrorism by updating national prevention policies and putting networks of practitioners in place on the basis of the ten priority areas for action as identified in the EU strategy for combating radicalisation and recruitment to terrorism; stresses the importance of fostering and strengthening crossborder cooperation among law enforcement authorities to this regard, and highlights the crucial importance of providing adequate resources and training to police forces working on the ground;

6.  Requests the full disclosure of the Council’s action plans and guidelines regarding the ongoing EU Strategy for Combating Radicalisation and Recruitment to Terrorism;

7.  Considers that the additional protocol to the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism, as well as resolution 2178 of the UN Security Council, should be made use of by the Member States and the European institutions with a view to agreeing on a common definition for the criminalisation of persons to be considered as ‘foreign fighters’; calls on the Commission to carry out in-depth studies of the primary causes, the process, and the various influences and factors which lead to radicalisation with the support of the new Centre of Excellence of the Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN);

8.  Calls on the Commission to prepare, in close cooperation with Europol and the counterterrorism coordinator, an annual report on the state of security in Europe, including with regard to the risks of radicalisation and the consequences for the safety of people’s lives and physical integrity in the EU, and to report back to Parliament on an annual basis;

9.  Stresses the importance of making the fullest use of existing instruments to prevent and combat the radicalisation and recruitment of European citizens by terrorist organisations; highlights the importance of using all relevant internal and external instruments in a holistic and comprehensive manner; recommends that the Commission and the Member States make use of available means, particularly under the Internal Security Fund (ISF), via the ISF Police instrument, in order to support projects and measures aimed at preventing radicalisation; stresses the major role which can be played by the RAN and its Centre of Excellence in taking on this objective of counteracting the radicalisation of European citizens in a comprehensive way; requests that this network receive better publicity and visibility among players combating radicalisation;

II.Preventing violent extremism and terrorist radicalisation in prisons

10.  Stresses that prisons remain one of several environments which are a breeding ground for the spread of radical and violent ideologies and terrorist radicalisation; calls on the Commission to encourage the exchange of best practices among the Member States in order to counter the increase of terrorist radicalisation in Europe’s prisons; encourages Member States to take immediate action against prison overcrowding, which is an acute problem in many Member States which significantly increases the risk of radicalisation and reduces the opportunities for rehabilitation; recalls that public youth protection institutions or detention or rehabilitation centres may also become places of radicalisation for minors, who constitute a particularly vulnerable target;

11.  Calls on the Commission to propose guidelines based on best practices on measures to be implemented in European prisons aimed at the prevention of radicalisation and of violent extremism, with full respect for human rights; points out that the separation of inmates who are found to have adhered to violent extremism or have already been recruited by terrorist organisations from other inmates as a possible measure to prevent terrorist radicalisation from being imposed on others through intimidation and to contain radicalisation in prisons; warns, however, that any such measures should be imposed on a case-by-case basis only and be based on a judicial decision and subject to review by the competent judicial authorities; further recommends that the Commission and Member States examine the evidence and experience concerning the practice of separation in prisons with the objective of containing the spread of radicalisation; is of the view that this assessment must feed into the development of practices in national prison systems; recalls, however, that these measures should be proportionate and in full compliance with the fundamental rights of the inmate;

12.  Supports the introduction of specialised training for all prison staff, as well as partners operating in the penal system, religious staff and NGO personnel who interact with prisoners, in order to teach them to detect at an early stage, prevent and deal with behaviour tending to radical and extremist behaviour; stresses the importance of appropriately training and recruiting religious, philosophical and secular representatives so that they can not only adequately meet prisoners’ cultural and spiritual needs in prisons, but also contribute to countering potential radical discourse;

13.  Encourages the establishment of educational programmes with adequate funding in European prisons in order to promote critical thinking, religious tolerance, and reintegration into society of inmates, but also to offer special assistance to those who are young, vulnerable or more susceptible to radicalisation and recruitment by terrorist organisations, and thus on a basis of the utmost respect for the human rights of inmates; considers that accompanying measures should also be offered subsequently to release from prison;

14.  Recognizes that central to such efforts is a prison environment which fully respects the human rights of inmates and complies with international and regional standards, including the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners;

III.Preventing online terrorist radicalisation

15.  Notes that the internet generates specific challenges given its global and cross-border nature, thus giving rise to legal gaps and jurisdictional conflicts and allowing recruiters and those who are radicalised to communicate remotely and easily from all corners of the world with no physical borders, no need to establish a base, and no need to seek sanctuary in a particular country; recalls that the internet and social networks are significant platforms for the fuelling of radicalisation and fundamentalism, as they facilitate the rapid and large-scale global distribution of hate messages and praise for terrorism; expresses concern at the impact that such messages praising terrorism have especially on younger people, who are particularly vulnerable; underlines the role of education and public awareness campaigns in preventing radicalisation online; affirms its attachment to freedom of expression not only offline but also online, and believes this should underpin all regulatory action regarding the prevention of radicalisation via the internet and social media; notes the dialogue launched at European level with internet companies with a view to preventing the online distribution of illegal content and erasing such content swiftly, in line with EU law and national legislation and in strict compliance with freedom of expression; calls for an effective strategy for the detection and removal of illegal content inciting to violent extremism, while respecting fundamental rights and freedom of expression, and in particular for contributing to the dissemination of effective discourse to counter terrorist propaganda;

16.  Recalls that internet and social media companies and service providers have a legal responsibility to cooperate with Member State authorities by deleting any illegal content that spreads violent extremism, expeditiously and with full respect for the rule of law and fundamental rights, including freedom of expression; believes that Member States should consider legal actions, including criminal prosecutions, against internet and social media companies and service providers which refuse to comply with an administrative or judicial request to delete illegal content or content praising terrorism on their internet platforms; believes that refusal or deliberate failure by internet platforms to cooperate, thus allowing such illegal content to circulate, should be considered an act of complicity that can be equated to criminal intent or neglect and that those responsible should in such cases be brought to justice;

17.  Calls on the competent authorities to ensure that websites that incite hatred are monitored more strictly;

18.  Is convinced that the internet is an effective platform for spreading the discourse of respect of human rights and opposition to violence; considers that the internet industry and service providers should cooperate with Member State authorities and civil society to promote powerful and attractive narratives to counter hate speech and radicalisation online, which should be based on the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union; calls on the digital platforms to cooperate with the Member States, civil society and organisations whose fields of expertise are terrorist deradicalisation or evaluation of hate speech, in order to take part in spreading prevention messages calling for the development of critical thinking and for a process of deradicalisation, as well as identifying innovative legal ways to counter praise of terrorism and hate speech, thereby making online radicalisation more difficult; calls on the Commission and the Member States to encourage the development of such counter-narratives online, and to work closely with civil society organisations for the purposes of reinforcing the channels for distributing and promoting democratic and non-violent discourse;

19.  Supports the implementation of youth awareness programmes concerning online hate speech and the risks that it represents, and of programmes promoting media and internet education; supports the implementation of training programmes with a view to mobilising, training and creating networks of young activists to defend human rights online;

20.  Takes the view that building a counter-narrative, including in third countries, is one of the keys to combating the appeal of terrorist groups in the MENA region; calls on the EU to increase its support for initiatives such as the SSCAT (Syria Strategic Communication Advisory Team) and to promote the deployment and financing of projects of this kind in third countries;

21.  Considers that the internet industry and service providers must henceforth make it possible to promote radicalisation prevention messages aimed at countering messages that praise terrorism; believes that a special European cooperation unit should be created within Europol with a view to sharing good practices in the Member States, while also permanently cooperating with internet operators, in order to highlight messages that oppose hate speech and praise for terrorism, thereby making online radicalisation more difficult; calls on the Commission and the Member States to support the effective use of counter-narratives and mitigation measures via the internet;

22.  Supports the introduction of measures enabling all internet users to easily and quickly flag illegal content circulating on the internet and on social media networks and to report it to the competent authorities, including through hotlines, while respecting human rights, especially freedom of expression, and EU and national legislation;

23.  Raises serious concerns over the increasing use of encryption technologies by terrorist organisations that make their communications and their radicalisation propaganda impossible for law enforcement to detect and read, even with a court order; calls on the Commission to urgently address these concerns in its dialogue with internet and IT companies;

24.  Considers that every Member State should set up a special unit tasked with flagging illegal content on the internet and with facilitating the detection and removal of such content; welcomes the creation by Europol of the Internet Referral Unit (IRU), to be responsible for detecting illegal content and supporting Member States in this regard, while fully respecting the fundamental rights of all parties involved; recommends that such units should also cooperate with the EU anti-terrorism coordinator and the European Counter Terrorist Centre within Europol, and with civil society organisations active in this field; further encourages Member States to cooperate with each other and with the relevant EU agencies on these matters;

25.  Welcomes the establishment with effect from 1 January 2016 of the European Counter-Terrorism Centre (ECTC), of which the European unit tasked with flagging content will be a part; stresses the need to provide the financial resources required to deliver the additional tasks conferred on Europol in connection with the establishment of the European Counter Terrorist Centre; calls for Parliament to be duly involved in the creation of this centre and in its terms of reference, tasks and finance;

26.  Believes that online radicalisation cannot be stamped out without reinforcing the tools available to the EU to combat cybercrime; recommends that the mandate and resources of the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) should be strengthened alongside those of Europol and Eurojust, so that the EC3 can play an effective role in better detecting and tackling online threats and better identifying the means used by terrorist organisations; recalls the need to have properly trained experts at Europol as well as in the Member States in order to respond to this specific threat; calls on the VP/HR to reorganise the EU Situation Centre (SitCen) and the Intelligence Centre (IntCen) and ensure their coordination with the Anti-Terrorism Coordinator in order to better track online criminal activities and the spread of hate speech related to radicalisation and terrorism; urges the Member States to significantly increase information sharing among themselves and with the relevant EU structures and agencies;

27.  Considers that all EU and national measures aimed at preventing the spread of violent extremism among European citizens and their recruitment by terrorist organisations should respect EU fundamental rights and the relevant case law of the European Court of Justice and European Court of Human Rights, including respect for the principle of the presumption of innocence, the principle of legal certainty, the right to a fair and impartial trial, the right of appeal and the principle of non-discrimination;

IV.Preventing radicalisation through education and social inclusion

28.  Stresses that schools and education have an important role to play in preventing radicalisation; recalls the crucial role that schools play in helping to promote integration within society and develop critical thinking, and to promote non-discrimination; calls on the Member States to encourage educational establishments to provide courses and academic programmes aimed at strengthening understanding and tolerance, especially with regard to different religions, the history of religions, philosophies and ideologies; stresses the need to teach fundamental values and democratic principles of the Union such as human rights; highlights that it is Member States' duty to guarantee that their education systems respect and promote EU values and principles and that their functioning does not contradict the principles of non-discrimination and integration;

29.  Urges the Member States to ensure that educational programmes on internet use exist in every school (at both primary and secondary level), aimed at educating and training responsible, critical and law-abiding internet users;

30.  Stresses the importance of empowering teachers to take an active stand against all forms of discrimination and racism; emphasises the essential role of education and of competent and supportive teachers, not only in strengthening social ties, encouraging a sense of belonging, developing knowledge, skills and competences, embedding fundamental values, and enhancing social, civic and intercultural competences, critical thinking and media literacy, but also in helping young people – in close cooperation with their parents and families – to become active, responsible and open-minded members of society; emphasises that schools can build students’ resilience to radicalisation by providing a safe environment and time for debating and exploring controversial and sensitive issues; points out that adolescents are a particularly vulnerable group, as they are at a difficult stage in their lives when they are developing their value system and seeking meaning, and are at the same time highly impressionable and easily manipulated; recalls that groups as well as individuals can be radicalised, and recognises that the development of response to individual and to group radicalisation can be different; emphasises the role society has to play in giving young people better prospects and a purpose in life, in particular by means of high-quality education and training; underlines the role of educational institutions in teaching youth to recognise and manage risks and make safer choices, and in promoting a strong sense of belonging, shared community, care support and responsibility for others; stresses the need to use the various opportunities that vocational education and academic courses offer in order to expose young people to the diverse national, regional, religious and ethnic identities existing in Europe;

31.  Emphasises that Europe’s diversity and its multicultural communities are integral to its social fabric and are an essential cultural asset; considers that any policy for tackling radicalisation must be sensitive and proportionate in order to respect and strengthen the diverse social fabric of communities;

32.  Highlights the importance of combining deradicalisation programs with measures such as establishing partnerships with community representatives, investment in social and neighbourhood projects aimed at disrupting economic and geographical marginalisation, and mentoring schemes for alienated and excluded young people considered at risk of radicalisation; recalls that all Member States are obliged to diligently implement EU anti-discrimination instruments and to take effective measures to address discrimination, hate speech and hate crimes as part of the counter-radicalisation strategy;

33.  Calls on the Commission to support Member States in carrying out a communication campaign to raise the awareness of young people and of supervisory staff as regards issues of radicalisation; stresses that training and awareness-raising campaigns should give priority to early intervention, in order to protect individuals and avoid any risk of radicalisation; calls on the Member States to provide educational staff with special training and appropriate tools enabling them to detect any worrying changes in behaviour, identify circles of complicity which amplify the phenomenon of radicalisation through imitation, and properly supervise young people who are at risk of being recruited by terrorist organisations; further encourages the Member States to invest in and financially support specialised facilities in the proximity of schools that serve as contact points enabling young people, but also their families and teachers and relevant experts, to engage in extracurricular activities open to families, including psychological counselling; stresses the importance of there being clear guidance in this area so as not to compromise the primary role of teachers, youth workers and others for whom the wellbeing of the individual is the primary concern, since excessive intervention by public authorities could be counterproductive;

34.  Points out the opportunities offered to Member States and to media education experts by the 'Creative Europe' programme; notes that the EU’s programmes in the areas of education, culture, social activities and sport constitute essential pillars of support for the actions taken by Member States to tackle inequalities and prevent marginalisation; stresses the importance of developing new actions to promote European values in education, as part of the European strategic framework for cooperation in education and training; insists therefore, among other things, on targeting the transmission and practice of civic values throughout the programmes Europe for citizens, Erasmus + and Creative Europe;

35.  Stresses that it is vital to engage in an intercultural dialogue with the various communities, leaders and experts, with a view to helping achieve better understanding and prevention of radicalisation; stresses the responsibility and the important role of all religious communities in countering fundamentalism, hate speech and terrorist propaganda; draws the Member States’ attention to the issue of the training of religious leaders – which ought, where possible, to take place in Europe – with regard to preventing incitement to hatred and violent extremism in places of worship in Europe, and to ensure that those leaders share European values, and also of training the representatives of religions, philosophies and secular society working inside correctional facilities; notes however, that while places of worship may provide contact points, much of the indoctrination and recruitment process takes place in more informal settings or on the internet;

36.  Highlights the crucial importance of making all actors aware of their responsibility to prevent radicalisation, whether at local, national, European or international level; encourages the establishment of close cooperation between all civil society actors at national and local level, and of greater cooperation between actors on the ground, such as associations and NGOs, in order to support victims of terrorism and their families, as well as individuals who have been radicalised and their families; calls, in this regard, for the introduction of training adapted to those actors on the ground and for additional financial support for them; stresses, however, that funding for NGOs and other civil society actors should be separate from financial support for counterterrorism programmes;

37.  Considers that civil society and local actors have a crucial role to play in the development of projects adapted to their localities or organisations, in addition to their role as an integrating factor for those European citizens who feel at odds with society and are tempted by terrorist radicalisation; believes it essential to raise awareness among and inform and train frontline workers (teachers, educationalists, police officers, child protection workers and workers in the healthcare sector) in order to strengthen local capacity to combat radicalisation; feels that the Member States should support the establishment of structures facilitating, in particular, the guidance of young people, as well as exchanges with families, schools, hospitals, universities, etc.; recalls that such measures can only be implemented through long-term social investment programmes; notes that associations and organisations in this field, which do not bear the mark of governments, can achieve excellent results in the reintegration into society of citizens who had been on the path to radicalisation;

38.  Considers it vital to set up an alert system for assistance and guidance in every Member State which would allow families and community members to obtain support or to easily and swiftly flag the development of sudden behavioural change that might signal a process of terrorist radicalisation or an individual’s departure to join a terrorist organisation; notes that in this regard, ‘hotlines’ have been successful and are enabling the reporting of persons among friends and families suspected of being radicalised, but are also helping friends and families to deal with this destabilising situation; calls on the Member States to look into the possibility of establishing such a system;

39.  Recalls that the rise of Islamophobia in the European Union contributes to the exclusion of Muslims from society, which could create fertile ground for vulnerable individuals to join violent extremist organisations; considers that Islamophobia in Europe is in turn manipulated by organisations such as Da’esh for propaganda and recruitment purposes; recommends, therefore, the adoption of a European framework for the adoption of national strategies to combat Islamophobia, in order also to tackle discrimination that hinders access to education, employment and housing;

40.  Stresses that recent research points to the growing number of young women who have been radicalised and recruited by terrorist organisations, providing evidence of their role in violent extremism; considers that the EU and the Member States should take gender into account at least to some extent in developing strategies for the prevention of radicalisation; calls on the Commission to support generalised programmes aiming to engage young women in their endeavours for greater equality and to provide support networks through which they can safely have their voices heard;

41.  Stresses the importance of the role of women in the prevention of radicalisation;

V.Stepping up the exchange of information on terrorist radicalisation in Europe

42.  Reiterates its commitment to work towards the finalisation of an EU directive on passenger name records (PNR) by the end of 2015 and to guarantee that such a directive will be compliant with fundamental rights and free from any discriminatory practices based on ideological, religious or ethnic stigmatisation, and will fully respect the data protection rights of EU citizens; recalls, however, that the EU PNR directive will be just one measure in the fight against terrorism, and that a holistic, ambitious and comprehensive strategy on counterterrorism and the fight against organised crime, involving foreign policy, social policy, education policy, law enforcement and justice, is required to prevent the recruitment of European citizens by terrorist organisations;

43.  Calls on the Commission to enhance the EU's expertise regarding the prevention of radicalisation by establishing a European network that incorporates the information provided by RAN and by the Policy Planner's Network on Polarisation and Radicalisation (PPN), as well as that provided by experts specialised in a wide array of disciplines across the social sciences;

44.  Insists on the absolute necessity of stepping up the expedient and effective exchange of relevant information between the law enforcement authorities in the Member States and between Member States and the relevant agencies, in particular by optimising the use of and contributions to the Schengen Information System (SIS) and Visa Information System (VIS), Europol’s secure information exchange network application (SIENA) and Europol's 'Focal Point Travellers' on European citizens who have been radicalised; stresses that stepping up the exchange of information between law enforcement authorities will entail increasing trust between Member States, as well as reinforcing the role and the effective resourcing of EU entities such as Europol, Eurojust and the European Police College (Cepol);

45.  Calls for the EU to include the issue of terrorist radicalisation in the training provided by Cepol;

46.  Stresses the importance of implementing a specialised European training programme for those working in the justice system, to raise their awareness of the different forms of radicalisation;

47.  Stresses that improved cooperation between Member States aimed at countering the radicalisation and recruitment of European citizens is also characterised by intensive exchanges and cooperation between their judicial authorities and with Eurojust; notes that better reporting at European level on the criminal records of terrorist suspects would help speed up their detection and make it easier for them to be properly monitored, either when they leave or when they return to the EU; encourages, therefore, the reform and better use of the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS); urges the Commission to assess the feasibility and added value of establishing a European Police Records Index System (EPRIS); underlines that international treaties and the EU law, as well as fundamental rights, and in particular the protection of personal data, must be respected in such information exchanges and that effective democratic oversight of security measures is essential;

48.  Considers that combating the trafficking of weapons should be a priority for the EU in fighting serious and organised international crime; believes, in particular, that cooperation needs to be strengthened further as regards information exchange mechanisms and the traceability and destruction of prohibited weapons;

VI.Strengthening deterrents against terrorist radicalisation

49.  Believes that measures aimed at preventing the radicalisation of European citizens and their recruitment by terrorist organisations will not be fully effective until they are accompanied by an effective, dissuasive and articulated range of criminal justice measures in all Member States; considers that through effectively criminalising terrorist acts carried out abroad with terrorist organisations the Member States will equip themselves with the tools needed to eliminate terrorist radicalisation among European citizens while making full use of the existing EU police and judicial cooperation tools in criminal matters; considers that law enforcement and justice authorities (judges and prosecutors) should have sufficient capacity to prevent, detect and prosecute those acts, and should be adequately and continuously trained on terrorism-related crimes;

50.  Calls for reinforced capacities for Eurojust's Coordination Centre, which should play a critical role in promoting the joint action of Member States’ judicial authorities in the collection of evidence and enhance the effectiveness of prosecutions of crimes related to terrorism; is, in this regard, of the view that more use should be made of the Joint Investigation Teams instrument, both among Member States and between Member States and third countries with which Eurojust has established cooperation agreements;

51.  Notes that prosecuting terrorist acts carried out in third countries by European citizens or by non-EU nationals residing in the EU requires that the collection of evidence in third countries should be possible, on a basis of full compliance with human rights; calls, therefore for the EU to work on the setting-up of judicial and law enforcement cooperation agreements with third countries to facilitate the collection of evidence in said countries, provided that strict legal standards and procedures, the rule of law, international law and fundamental rights are safeguarded by all parties and under judicial control; recalls, therefore, that the collection of evidence, interrogation and other such investigative techniques must be carried out subject to strict legal standards and must comply with EU laws, principles and values and international human rights standards; warns, in this connection, that the use of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, torture, extra-judicial renditions and kidnapping is prohibited under international law and may not take place for the purpose of collecting evidence of criminal offences committed inside the territory of the EU or outside its territory by EU nationals;

52.  Welcomes the deployment of security/counterterrorism experts in a number of key EU delegations, with a view to strengthening their capacity to contribute to European counterterrorism efforts and to liaising more effectively with relevant local authorities, while further building up counterterrorism capacity within the European External Action Service (EEAS);

53.  Encourages, therefore, the establishment of cooperation agreements between Eurojust and third countries, on the lines of those already established with the US, Norway and Switzerland, while stressing nevertheless the need to ensure full compliance with international human rights law and EU data protection and privacy rules; points out that priority in establishing such agreements should be given to countries that are also particularly hit by terrorism, such as MENA countries; additionally, is of the view that the deployment of Eurojust liaison prosecutors in the relevant countries, especially in the southern neighbourhood, would promote more exchange of information and would enable better cooperation in order to effectively fight terrorism while respecting human rights;

VII.Preventing the departure and anticipating the return of radicalised European citizens recruited by terrorist organisations

54.  Reiterates that the EU must step up its external border controls as a matter of urgency, on a basis of full compliance with fundamental rights; stresses that it will be impossible to effectively track entry and exit in the EU unless Member States implement the mandatory and systematic controls foreseen at the EU’s external borders; calls on the Member States to make good use of existing instruments such as the SIS and the VIS, including with reference to stolen, lost and falsified passports; also considers that, to this end, one of the EU’s priorities must be to better enforce the Schengen Code;

55.  Invites the Member States to give their border guards systematic access to the Europol information system, which may contain information on people suspected of terrorism, foreign fighters and preachers of hate;

56.  Calls on the Member States to share good practices with regard to exit and return checks and the freezing of financial assets of citizens, in the context of preventing citizens from taking part in terrorist activities in conflict areas in third countries and of how to manage their return to the EU; stresses in particular that Member States should be enabled to confiscate the passports of their citizens planning to join terrorist organisations, at the request of the competent judicial authority, according to their national laws and in full compliance with the principle of proportionality; considers that the restriction of someone's freedom of movement, which is a fundamental right, can only be decided if the necessity and proportionality of the measure are properly evaluated by a judicial authority; further supports criminal proceedings against suspects of terrorism who become involved in terrorist activities on their return to Europe;

57.  Calls for international contributions to the funding mechanism endorsed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to facilitate the immediate stabilisation of areas cleared of Da’esh;

58.  Calls on the VP/HR and the Council to find a clear language of condemnation for the decade-long financial and ideological support provided by some governments and influential individuals in the Gulf countries for extremist Islamist movements; calls on the Commission to review the EU’s relations with third countries in order to more effectively combat material and immaterial support for terrorism; recalls that, in the context of the current revision of the European Neighhbourhood Policy (ENP), the security dimension and the capacity of ENP tools to contribute to improving partners’ resilience and their capabilities to provide for their own security, on a basis of respect for the rule of law, must be strengthened;

59.  Reiterates that making good use of existing instruments such as the SIS, SIS II and VIS systems, Interpol’s SLTD system, and Europol's Focal Point TRAVELLERS constitutes the first step in stepping up external border security in order to identify EU citizens and foreigners residing in the EU who may be leaving or returning from a conflict area for the purpose of committing terrorist acts or may receive terrorist training or take part in non-conventional armed conflict on behalf of terrorist organisations; urges Member States to improve cooperation and sharing of information regarding suspected ‘foreign fighters’ with Member States at the EU’s external borders;

60.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that any foreign fighters are put under judicial control and, where necessary, in administrative detention upon their return to Europe, until such time as due judicial prosecution takes place;

61.  Is seriously convinced that any policymaking in the field of terrorism and radicalisation needs to pool the expertise and assets of the internal and external dimensions of EU policy; believes, in this regard, that it is on the basis of such a holistic approach that an adequate response may be designed to fight terrorism and terrorist recruitment in the EU and its neighbourhood; calls, therefore, on both the Commission and the EEAS, under the leadership and guidance of both the VP/HR and the First Vice-President of the Commission and with the support of the Anti-Terrorism Coordinator, to work together in designing a policy approach that effectively combines the tools of social policy (including employment, integration and anti-discrimination), humanitarian aid, development, conflict resolution, crisis management, trade, energy and any other policy area that might have an internal/external dimension;

VIII. Strengthening links between internal and external security in the EU

62.  Stresses the vital importance of the EU establishing close cooperation with third countries, notably transit countries and destination countries, insofar as this is possible, in respect of EU laws, principles and values and international human rights, in order to be able to identify EU citizens and non-European residents leaving to fight for terrorist organisations or returning thereafter; also stresses the need to strengthen political dialogue and shared action plans to combat radicalisation and terrorism, in the context of bilateral relations and with regional organisations such as the African Union and the League of Arab States;

63.  Notes VP/HR Mogherini’s willingness to support projects for countering radicalisation in third countries, including Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq and the Sahel/Maghreb region, as stated in the report on the implementation of measures following the European Council meeting of 12 February 2015; stresses that it must now be ensured that these projects receive the necessary funding as soon as possible;

64.  Calls on the EU to increase its cooperation with regional partners in order to curb arms trafficking, targeting in particular the countries where terrorism originates, and to follow closely the export of armaments that could be exploited by terrorists; also calls for foreign policy tools and engagement with third countries to be strengthened with a view to countering the financing of terrorist organisations; draws attention to the conclusion of the G20 Summit of 16 November 2015, which calls on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to act more swiftly and efficiently when it comes to cutting off funding for terrorist organisations;

65.  Encourages the EU to conduct targeted and upgraded security and counter-terrorism dialogues with Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and the Gulf Cooperation Council, including on past or present state involvement in support of terrorist activities; also believes that cooperation with Turkey should be enhanced in line with the General Affairs Council conclusions of December 2014;

66.  Calls on the Council to keep the EU Regional Strategy for Syria and Iraq and the Counter-Terrorism/Foreign Fighters Strategy, adopted on 16 March 2015, under constant review and development in the light of the developing security situation in the EU’s southern neighbourhood, alongside preventive and other initiatives such as the Commission’s RAN; calls further on the Member States to promote common respect and understanding as crucial elements within the framework of the fight against terrorism, both within the EU and in its Member States, as well as in third countries;

67.  Is convinced that for such enhanced cooperation to be established, the Commission, and the EEAS in particular, need to make greater efforts in terms of increasing and improving expertise in the areas of fighting terrorism, non-conventional armed conflict and radicalisation, and also to reinforce and diversify language skills, for instance for Arabic, Urdu, Russian and Mandarin, given that such skills are currently seriously lacking in the European information and intelligence services; considers it essential that the EUʼs call to combat terrorism, radicalisation and violence can be heard beyond its own borders, through strategic communication that is both incisive and effective;

68.  Supports greater international cooperation and information-sharing on the part of national intelligence services in order to identify EU citizens who are at risk of becoming radicalised and being recruited and travelling to join jihadist or other extremist groups; stresses that countries in the MENA region and the Western Balkans must be supported in their efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters and to prevent jihadist organisations taking advantage of the political instability within their borders;

69.  Acknowledges that radicalisation and recruitment of individuals by terrorist networks is a global phenomenon; believes that the response to this phenomenon ought to be international and not just local or European; considers it necessary, therefore, to strengthen cooperation with third countries to identify recruitment networks and increase security at the borders of the countries concerned; reiterates also that cooperation with key partners that are facing similar challenges has to be stepped up through diplomatic, political dialogue and intelligence cooperation;

70.  Reiterates that the global reach of terrorism requires an effective and united international response in order to successfully prevent the trafficking of weapons to countries that threaten international peace and security;

71.  Welcomes the Commission's allocation in April 2015 of a budget of EUR 10 million to finance a programme of assistance to partner countries to counter radicalisation in the Sahel/Maghreb and stem the flow of foreign fighters from North Africa, the Middle East and the Western Balkans (a first tranche of EUR 5 million to fund technical assistance to enhance the capacities of criminal justice officials to investigate, prosecute and adjudicate cases of foreign fighters or would-be foreign fighters; a second tranche of EUR 5 million to finance the countering of radicalisation programmes in the Sahel/Maghreb); stresses the importance of strictly monitoring the proper use of these funds to ensure that they do not finance projects linked to proselytism, indoctrination and other extremist purposes;

IX.Promoting the exchange of good practices on deradicalisation

72.  Considers that a comprehensive policy to preventing the radicalisation and recruitment of EU citizens by terrorist organisations can only be successfully put in place if accompanied by proactive deradicalisation and inclusion policies; calls for the EU, therefore, to facilitate the sharing by Member States and with third countries which have already acquired experience and achieved positive results in this area of good practice on the setting-up of deradicalisation structures to prevent EU citizens and non-EU nationals legally residing in the EU from leaving the EU or to control their return to it; recalls the need to offer support to the families of such individuals as well;

73.  Suggests that Member States examine the idea of including mentors or counselling assistants in the process of deradicalising EU citizens who have returned from conflict areas disillusioned by what they experienced there, so as to support them in their reintegration into society through appropriate programmes; underlines the need for better exchange of best practices among Member States in that respect; stresses that mentors should be willing to contribute to specific programmes through appropriate training;

74.  Calls for an EU-level structured communication campaign to be launched, making use of the cases of former European ‘foreign fightersʼ who have successfully undergone deradicalisation and whose traumatic experiences help expose the deeply perverse and fallacious religious dimension of joining terrorist organisations such as ISIS; encourages Member States, therefore, to develop platforms enabling face-to-face meetings and dialogue with former fighters; emphasises furthermore that contact with victims of terrorism also seems to be an effective means of stripping radical rhetoric of its religious or ideological significance; suggests that this campaign be used as a tool to assist in the deradicalisation process in prisons, schools and all establishments focusing on prevention and rehabilitation; further calls on the Commission to support, particularly through funding, and coordinate such national communication campaigns;

X.Dismantling terrorist networks

75.  Underlines that money laundering, tax evasion and other fiscal crimes are in some cases major sources of terrorism funding which threaten our internal security, and that tracking and combating crimes affecting the EU’s financial interests must therefore be a priority;

76.  Stresses that terrorist organisations such as IS/Daesh and Jabhat al-Nusra have accrued substantial financial resources in Iraq and Syria from smuggling oil, selling stolen goods, kidnapping and extortion, seizing bank accounts and smuggling antiquities; calls, therefore, for the countries and the intermediaries contributing to this black market to be identified and their activities brought to a halt as a matter of urgency;

77.  Supports measures aimed at weakening terrorist organisations from the inside and lessening their current influence on EU citizens and non-EU nationals legally residing in the EU; urges the Commission and the competent agencies to look into ways of dismantling terrorist networks and identifying how they are funded; to this end, calls for better cooperation between the Financial Intelligence Units of the Member States and for the speedy transposition and implementation of the Anti-Money Laundering Package; encourages the Commission to propose a regulation on identifying and blocking terrorism funding channels and countering the ways in which they are funded; calls on the Commission, therefore, to re-evaluate the creation of a common European terrorist finance tracking system; encourages Member States to implement the highest standards of transparency concerning access to information on beneficiary owners of all corporate structures in the EU and in opaque jurisdictions which may be vehicles for financing terrorist organisations;

78.  Welcomes the recent adoption of the European Agenda on Security, which proposes important steps towards enhancing the fight against terrorism and radicalisation, such as the creation of the European Counter Terrorist Centre within Europol; calls on the Member States to make full use of existing measures, and calls on the Commission to flag sufficient financial and human resources to effectively deliver on its proposed actions;

79.  Reiterates its call on the Commission to urgently review the EU firearms legislation by revising Council Directive 91/477/EEC in order to facilitate the role of national police and investigation authorities in detecting and fighting against arms trafficking on the black market and the dark net, and calls on the Commission to put forward common firearms deactivation standards so that deactivated firearms are rendered irreversibly inoperable;

80.  Calls for a harmonised approach to the definition as a criminal offence of hate speech, online and offline, whereby radicals incite others to disrespect and violate fundamental rights; suggests that this specific offence be added in the relevant Council framework decisions;

81.  Calls on the Member States to participate in efforts to trace external flows of funding and to ensure and display transparency in their relations with certain Gulf countries, with the aim of stepping up cooperation in order to shed light on the financing of terrorism and fundamentalism, in Africa and the Middle East but also by some organisations in Europe; encourages Member States to collaborate in the elimination of the oil black market that provides essential income for terrorist organisations; believes that Member States should not hesitate to use restrictive measures against individuals and organisations where there is credible evidence of financing of or other complicity with terrorism;

82.  Would strongly reject any attempts to remove aspects of the report that focus on fighting acts of terrorism and extremism in their own right; takes the view that it is unhelpful and counter-productive to break the link between fighting radicalisation and fighting its manifestations; calls on the Council to create a blacklist of European jihadists and jihadist terrorist suspects;

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83.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the EU Member States and the candidate countries, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the African Union, and the member states of the Union for the Mediterranean, of the League of Arab States and of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

(1) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0384.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2014)0102.
(3) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0032.

Last updated: 11 July 2017Legal notice