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The return of foreign fighters to EU soil: Ex-post evaluation

15-05-2018

Since the Syrian conflict began in 2011, thousands of EU nationals have travelled or attempted to travel in conflict zones in Iraq and Syria to join insurgent terrorist groups, such as ISIL/Da'esh ('Islamic State'). Of those, it has been estimated that around 30 % have already returned to their home countries. The issue of foreign fighters has been high on the political agenda at both Member State and EU level for the last five years and touches upon a wide range of policies: policies related to ...

Since the Syrian conflict began in 2011, thousands of EU nationals have travelled or attempted to travel in conflict zones in Iraq and Syria to join insurgent terrorist groups, such as ISIL/Da'esh ('Islamic State'). Of those, it has been estimated that around 30 % have already returned to their home countries. The issue of foreign fighters has been high on the political agenda at both Member State and EU level for the last five years and touches upon a wide range of policies: policies related to the prevention of radicalisation; to information exchange at EU level; to criminal justice responses to returnees; to disengagement/deradicalisation inside and outside prisons. This study aims at outlining the EU response to the issue of returning foreign fighters and their families. It furthermore examines how six Member States have responded to this phenomenon so far (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, France, the Netherlands and the UK). These Member States are confronted with significant challenges in dealing with foreign fighters that combine legal, ethical and practical questions regarding their obligations and capabilities as regards the handling of the foreign fighters still abroad and the returnees already on EU soil. Meanwhile, Member States' existing programmes aiming at tackling radicalisation are difficult to evaluate, leading to uncertainties as regards the efficiency of current practices.

Autorzy zewnętrzni

The external study was written by Dr Francesco Ragazzi (Assistant Professor at Leiden University, the Netherlands) and Josh Walmsley (Independent Researcher) at the request of the Ex-Post Evaluation Unit of the Directorate for Impact Assessment and European Added Value, within the Directorate-General for Parliamentary Research Services (EPRS) of the Secretariat of the European Parliament.

Consolidating Civilian and Military Training for Crisis Management : Taking Stock of EU Initiatives

13-04-2010

The implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon – including the new post of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign and Security Policy and the creation of the European External Action Service (EEAS) – provides an opportunity for more effective action at the international level and for meeting the foreign policy objectives fixed in Article 21 of the Treaty. Training measures should be included in the current reform efforts for several good reasons: training builds the knowledge, experience and ...

The implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon – including the new post of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign and Security Policy and the creation of the European External Action Service (EEAS) – provides an opportunity for more effective action at the international level and for meeting the foreign policy objectives fixed in Article 21 of the Treaty. Training measures should be included in the current reform efforts for several good reasons: training builds the knowledge, experience and understanding of those involved in external relations at different levels; it creates the networks for the day-to-day tasks; it establishes working relations between national training institutes and EU institutions; it provides synergies and economies of scale within the EU; it might, in the long-run contribute to the development of a common strategic culture of the Union as envisioned in the European Security Strategy. This standard briefing focuses on the aspect of civil and military training for crisis management. It mainly analyses and evaluates two training initiatives: the European Group on Training (EGT) and the European Security and Defence College (ESDC). The author has been asked by the European Parliament (EP) to ‘take stock on these two parallel initiatives’ and to ‘put forward options for improving coordination and gradual integration’. The structure of the paper reflects this two-step-approach. The analysis has been conducted on the basis of documents, expert interviews and related literature.

Autorzy zewnętrzni

Julia LIEB (German Institute for International and Security Affairs, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, SWP)

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