REPORT with a proposal for a European Parliament recommendation to the Council on the factors favouring support for terrorism and the recruitment of terrorists

29.1.2008 - (2006/2092(INI))

Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs
Rapporteur: Gérard Deprez

Procedure : 2006/2092(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  


on the factors favouring support for terrorism and the recruitment of terrorists


The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the proposal for a recommendation to the Council, tabled by Antoine Duquesne on behalf of the ALDE Group, on the factors favouring support for terrorism and the recruitment of terrorists (B6‑0677/2005),

–    having regard to its resolution of 14 February 2007 on the alleged use of the European countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners[1],

–   having regard to its resolution of 15 February 2007 on the external dimension of the fight against international terrorism[2],

–   having regard to international, European and national instruments on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights,

–    having regard to the specific rights guaranteed in these instruments, such as freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, the prohibition of discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, race and ethnic origins, as well as the EU anti-discrimination directives,

–    having regard to Title VI of the Treaty on European Union, and especially Articles 29 and 30 thereof,

–    having regard to Title IV of the Treaty establishing the European Communities, and especially Articles 29 and 30(2) thereof,

–    having regard to the EU Strategy for fighting radicalisation and recruitment of terrorists of 24 November 2005 and to the EU action plan to combat terrorism of 13 February 2006,

–    having regard to the EU Counter-Terrorism Strategy adopted by the European Council at its meeting of 14 and 15 December 2005, updated in March 2007, and the EU Strategy for Combating Radicalisation and Recruitment to Terrorism adopted by the European Council at the same meeting,

–    having regard to Council Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA of 13 June 2002 on combating terrorism[3],

–    having regard to Council Directive 89/552/EC of 3 October 1989 on Television without Frontiers[4],

–    having regard to Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market (Directive on electronic commerce)[5],

–    having regard to the communication of the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council entitled Terrorist recruitment: addressing the factors contributing to violent radicalisation (COM(2005)0313),

–    having regard to the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism,

–    having regard to the Europol Convention, and in particular Article 2(2) thereof,

–   having regard to the report 'Alliance of Civilisations' presented to the UN Secretary General on 13 November 2006,

–    having regard to UN Security Council Resolution 1624(2005),

–   having regard to its resolution of 30 January 1997 on combating terrorism in the European Union[6], and especially paragraph 14 thereof, which urges Member States to define any apologia for terrorism as a criminal offence,

–    having regard to Rules 114(3) and 94 of its Rules of Procedure,

–    having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A6-0015/2008),

A.  whereas terrorism - in particular Jihadist terrorism - is today the most severe threat to the security of the citizens of the Union,

B.  whereas terrorism generally is today one of the most severe threats to the security of the citizens of the EU,

C.  whereas the threat of terrorism today challenges the cohesion and stability of European societies by stimulating negative polarisation,

D. whereas the attacks on Madrid on 11 March 2004 and London on 7 July 2005 have shown that international terrorist organisations are active within the EU, are attempting to expand through recruitment and consider Union citizens as their target,

E.   whereas the fight against terrorism has to be carried out on a basis of scrupulous respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, especially freedom of religion and protection against discrimination; whereas the two concepts, far from being incompatible, are complementary realities, given that terrorism is in itself an attack on fundamental rights and values,

F.   whereas, as has been acknowledged by both the Commission and the Council, one of the main terrorist threats the EU is faced with is terrorism based upon a perverted interpretation of religion,

G.  whereas, the identification of any culture, civilisation or religion with terrorism could have strong counterproductive effects and whereas it is therefore of the utmost importance, when dealing with Islamist terrorism and radicalisation, to establish a clear distinction between the overwhelming majority of Muslims and a violent radicalised minority,

H.  whereas the fight against terrorism - including Jihad terrorism - necessitates a global strategy that must comprise not only the identification, the fight against and the prosecution of the individuals and groups responsible for terrorist attacks but also actions to counter the terrorist phenomenon as a whole, including the recruitment of terrorists, as well as supporting and protecting victims;

I.    whereas the presentation of a united front on the part of the democratic political forces and their full support of European and national anti-terrorist strategies are essential to success in the fight against terrorism,

J.    whereas the recruitment of terrorists and the factors leading to violent radicalisation are among key aspects that must be addressed in the fight against terrorism; whereas it is vital to adopt, at European level, a political strategy for preventing the dissemination of messages instigating violence, through the education and the social integration of particular individuals and groups susceptible of being seduced by radical violent groups,

K   whereas the EU itself has in the past experienced violent extremism and totalitarian ideology and faces various forms of terrorism today,

L.   whereas Islamist extremism is a relatively new phenomenon for the EU, and understanding in the EU of radicalisation affecting young Europeans is limited; whereas, moreover, little is known about radicalisation and it therefore needs to be researched in more detail and with greater resources if it is to be prevented,

M.  whereas combating violent radicalisation and recruitment for terrorism are crucial elements of the EU anti-terrorism strategy, and addressing the factors contributing to radicalisation should be an integral element of the EU’s internal and external policies,

N.  whereas prevention through combating the factors which may lead to radicalisation is a key element of the EU's strategy to fight terrorism,

O.  whereas the Council and Commission have chosen a horizontal strategy combining measures in various policy fields, despite the fact that parliamentary control mechanisms available at European level are insufficiently flexible to meet this horizontal approach,

P.   whereas the risks of terrorist recruitment and violence reflect merely part of the problems connected with radicalisation, since only a small number of individuals actually turn to violence,

Q.  whereas anger and frustration are factors which engender a breeding ground for violent radicalisation, as well as social isolation and lack of trust in politics and democracy,

R.   whereas radicalisation and its consequences are challenges for the EU as a whole, although combating it requires a targeted and local response,

S.   whereas in some cases the radicalisation of certain individuals can be produced by external factors, such as recruitment by terrorist groups, or by the influence of speeches and propaganda which are totally incompatible with the principles and values of a democratic society,

T.   whereas Member States must mobilise all means to ensure the fullest possible integration into their society of all Union citizens and other residents in the EU who wish to live together on a basis of peace and democracy, without discrimination of any kind based on race, religion or cultural differences,

U.  whereas it is important to fully analyse and understand the reasons, grounds and processes leading to radicalisation and terrorism and to tackle them, and whereas the open discussion of these issues and their possible solution should not be criminalised or censored,

V.  whereas, if the EU is to prevent the radicalisation of individuals for the purpose of their exploitation by terrorist groups, the main priority must be to dismantle terrorist networks and prosecute all related criminal activities of recruitment, financing, training, and propaganda aimed at inciting individuals to commit terrorist acts by whatever means, including the use of the web,

W. whereas, together with incitement to terrorism, justifying terrorism also contributes to violent radicalisation,

X.  whereas the justification of terrorism is not included in the harmonised definition of terrorism contained in Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA,

Y.  whereas addressing the entry into and residence in EU territory of persons contributing to radicalisation and inciting others to commit terrorist acts is a crucial aspect of the fight against violent radicalisation; whereas consideration must be given to adopting legal measures at EU level to harmonise, in all the Member States, the conditions governing the entry, residence and expulsion of such persons,

Z.   whereas Member States, provided that they respect the law as well as fundamental rights and legal guarantees, have the right to forbid the entry into and residence in their territories of any third-country national who actively contributes to promoting violence, deprecating in speech or action, the basic rules of democratic living,

Za. whereas repressive measures will not be effective, and may even be counterproductive, if they are not combined with offering to individuals that are especially vulnerable to radicalisation and recruitment a positive perspective and a position in society,

Zb. whereas, in order to prevent radicalisation it is also necessary to encourage effective dialogue between authorities in the Member States and religious communities, ensuring the latter's participation in society, and full and effective equality for persons belonging to such communities, as well as intercultural and interreligious dialogue, thus reclaiming the ground on which terrorist radicalism thrives,

1.   Welcomes the Council's adoption of the EU strategy for fighting violent radicalisation and the recruitment of terrorists, as well as the Commission's communication;

2.        Expresses its eagerness to adopt a more proactive and horizontal approach to assessing and discussing the variety of measures of the EU action plan from an anti-radicalisation perspective, involving all relevant parliamentary committees;

3.        Confirms the Council and Commission’s opinion that the collective understanding in the EU of radicalisation is limited and must be deepened; urges the Commission to stimulate knowledge gathering using input at all governmental and policy levels, including those closest to the groups that are most vulnerable to radicalisation;

4.        Recommends that the Commission stimulate the identification of best practices by facilitating local experiments and innovative practical initiatives undertaken by organisations and individuals working closely with the groups that are most vulnerable to radicalisation, and coordinating the exchange of such best practices by organisations active at the neighbourhood level of Member States;

5.        Welcomes the progress made over the last year in combating radicalisation, as well as the reinforcement of cooperation among Member States and between Member States and Europol and the SitCen;

6.        In the framework of the "European Year for Intercultural Dialogue" in 2008, commends the various initiatives to promote dialogue, tolerance and understanding among different cultures, civilisations and religions;

7.        Makes the following recommendations to the Council in connection with the fight against violent radicalisation, improving social integration in the EU and preventing citizens from becoming terrorists:

-            the fight against terrorism must remain an EU priority and the EU's involvement in this field should be strengthened;

-            Member states must continue the fight against terrorism in full and scrupulous respect of fundamental rights and freedoms, especially freedom of expression and the right to a fair trial as foreseen in EU Member States constitutional traditions and national legislations as well as in international treaties;

-          action must be taken on Parliament's recommendations on the issue of the CIA flights, the extraordinary renditions and the secret jails in Europe;

-         Member States must strongly promote scientific and academic research on violent radicalisation and allocate the necessary funds for this purpose;

–         it needs to be stressed in all circumstances that the violation of individual liberties and of the rule of law is one of the factors which contribute to the reinforcement of terrorism;

–         vigilance must be reinforced against terrorist propaganda aimed at encouraging the perpetration of terrorist acts via the Internet, in respect of freedom of expression and of information;

–         the Member States must be urged to make full use of the possibilities of secondary legislation;

- monitoring of the Internet must be stepped up, both nationally and Europe-wide, on a basis of close cooperation with Europol;

–         Member States and the competent EU institutions must take action in order to prevent the dissemination of terrorist propaganda, via the audiovisual media; in particular, Member states should be urged to implement and use in full the control mechanisms of the "audiovisual media services" directive;

–         all Member States must step up their monitoring of all the locations where propaganda is being disseminated that aims at persuading people to commit terrorist acts;

–         the existing laws must be applied against the broadcasting by audiovisual means of material inciting to violence, hatred or discrimination on grounds of race, gender, sexual orientation or religion;

–         the fight against terrorism and violent radicalisation must become one of the key elements of the EU´s external policy and have among its objectives:

a.         the promotion of human and sustainable development and of good governance, democracy, respect of fundamental rights and the rule of law in third countries, and particularly the neighbour ones;

b.        the promotion of dialogue with religious political movements, civil society organisations (in particular with the defendants of human rights and religious authorities) in third countries, in order to encourage mutual understanding, core common values and a shared vision of our future;

–         the fight against terrorism, through above all, constructive external policies on the basis of the UN concept of the alliance of civilizations and trough combating the factors which may lead to violent radicalisation, must become one of the key elements of the EU's external policy, including development aid and neighbourhood policies;

–         preventive measures should be developed further, through formulating recommendations for Member States and local authorities based upon:

- increasing trust and confidence in society;

- increasing trust and confidence in politics and democratic structures;

- preventing social isolation, and monitoring premises (such as education or religious centres) which, diverging from their legitimate purpose, are used to incite to violence.

- those Member States which have not yet done so must be urged to ratify, as soon as possible, the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism;

- the Member States must be urged to encourage the exchange of information between their competent authorities and Europol regarding the fight against violent radicalisation;

–         cooperation must intensify between Member States and between Member States and Europol, Eurojust and the SitCen; more especially, Member States must encourage the exchange of information between their competent authorities, Europol and Eurojust with the aim of preventing, investigating and prosecuting violent radicalisation;

–        Member states must reinforce judicial and police cooperation in criminal matter at EU level and overcome difficulties in Council currently blocking the adoption of important legislative measures like the European Evidence Warrant and the Framework decision on procedural guarantees in criminal proceedings;

- all Member States must be urged to encourage social participation and dialogue as regards the communities representing moderate Islam;

–         the EU must encourage and support Member States in fostering a European strategy for the prevention of radicalisation based on social inclusion, the recognition of fundamental rights, access to citizenship, the fight against all discriminations and the promotion of equal opportunities, in particular in education, training and employment, especially as regards Muslim communities;

–         encouragement must be given to the integration of minorities, full and effective equality of persons belonging to them, in the Member State and the prevention of isolation or discrimination in their regard;

–         support must be given to small scale and practical initiatives and projects aimed at preventing and combating radicalisation and the factors contributing to radicalisation in all member states as part of an attempt to deepen the understanding of the phenomenon;

8.        Considers that EU foreign policy on terrorism must include among its objectives the promotion of the diplomatic and peaceful resolution of conflicts around the world, avoiding the use or the perception of the use of double standards in the exercise of the EU's foreign, security and human rights policies;

9.        Calls on the Member States to prevent the rise of racism and the restriction of liberties and democratic rights when fighting violent radicalisation;

10.      Calls for open discussions on amending Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA in order to include the justification of terrorism within its scope in such a way as to impinge as little as possible on freedom of expression and freedom of thought;

11.      Welcomes the recent adoption by the Council of a mutual information mechanism relating to third-country nationals who have been expelled in connection with terrorist activities and invites the Commission to propose the necessary legal measures for the approximation in all Member States, of the conditions governing entry, residence and expulsion of third-country nationals who incite others to terrorism;

12.      Calls for the allocation of the necessary funds in the next budgetary procedure for financing small-scale and/or local initiatives and experiments aimed at preventing and combating radicalisation and the factors contributing to it;

13.      Urges the Commission and the Member States to provide strong and specific support to the victims of terrorism;


14.      Instructs its President to forward this recommendation to the Council and, for information, to the Commission.

  • [1]  OJ C 287 E, 29.11.2007, p. 309.
  • [2]  OJ C 287 E, 29.11.2007, p. 524.
  • [3]  OJ L 164, 22.6.2002, p. 3.
  • [4]  OJ L 298, 17.10.1989, p. 23. Directive as last amended by Directive 2007/65/EC (OJ L 332, 18.12.2007, p. 27).
  • [5]  OJ L 178, 17.7.2000, p. 1.
  • [6]  OJ C 55, 24.2.1997, p. 13.


pursuant to Rule 114(1) of the Rules of Procedure

by Antoine Duquesne on behalf of the ALDE Group

on the factors favouring support for terrorism and the recruitment of terrorists

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the declaration on the fight against terrorism adopted by the European Council of 24 and 25 March 2004,

–   having regard to the EU's revised action plan to combat terrorism adopted by the European Council of 17 and 18 June 2004,

–   having regard to the Hague programme for strengthening freedom, security and justice in the European Union, adopted by the European Council of 5 November 2004,

–   having regard to the conclusions of the European Council of 16 and 17 December 2004,

–   having regard to the conclusions of the European Council of 16 and 17 June 2005,

–   having regard to Rule 114(1) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas terrorism is one of the gravest threats to the safety of the EU's citizens and tackling it requires a global response based on equitable cooperation between the Union institutions,

B.  whereas the EU needs to confront, via the adoption of an appropriate policy, the closely linked factors which favour support for terrorism, the violent radicalisation of certain individuals, and their recruitment for the purpose of committing terrorist acts,

1.  Addresses the following recommendations to the European Council and the Council:

     a)  it is necessary to identify the factors that create breeding-grounds for the recruitment of terrorists, both in Europe and worldwide, and to define a specific long-term strategy and an action plan for its development in order to counteract those factors;

     b) it is necessary to undertake a detailed study of the links between terrorist acts and extremist political or religious beliefs, socio-economic conditions and other potential factors;

     c) it is necessary to utilise and expand external aid programmes in order to counter the factors which, in some countries, encourage the creation of a climate of support for and legitimation of terrorism, with especial attention to good governance, the rule of law and the participation of civil society;

     d) it is necessary to develop a strategy for the development of intercultural and inter-religious understanding between Europe and the Islamic world.

2.  Instructs its President to forward this recommendation to the Council and, for information, the European Council and the Commission.


Date adopted


Result of final vote






Members present for the final vote

Alexander Alvaro, Roberta Angelilli, Mario Borghezio, Mihael Brejc, Kathalijne Maria Buitenweg, Michael Cashman, Giuseppe Castiglione, Giusto Catania, Jean-Marie Cavada, Carlos Coelho, Panayiotis Demetriou, Gérard Deprez, Agustín Díaz de Mera García Consuegra, Bárbara Dührkop Dührkop, Claudio Fava, Armando França, Urszula Gacek, Kinga Gál, Patrick Gaubert, Roland Gewalt, Lívia Járóka, Ewa Klamt, Stavros Lambrinidis, Esther De Lange, Henrik Lax, Roselyne Lefrançois, Sarah Ludford, Jaime Mayor Oreja, Viktória Mohácsi, Claude Moraes, Javier Moreno Sánchez, Rareş-Lucian Niculescu, Martine Roure, Luciana Sbarbati, Inger Segelström, Csaba Sógor, Søren Bo Søndergaard, Vladimir Urutchev, Ioannis Varvitsiotis, Renate Weber, Manfred Weber, Tatjana Ždanoka

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Inés Ayala Sender, Edit Bauer, Iratxe García Pérez, Genowefa Grabowska, Ignasi Guardans Cambó, Sophia in 't Veld, Sylvia-Yvonne Kaufmann, Jean Lambert, Antonio Masip Hidalgo, Bill Newton Dunn, Rainer Wieland

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote


Manuel Medina Ortega