flickr photo by Zoriah shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

EP calls for joint EU strategy to fight radicalisation of young EU citizens

The terrorist attacks in Paris have highlighted once more the urgent need for coordinated action by the member states and the EU to prevent radicalisation and fight against terrorism, says Parliament in a non-binding resolution passed on Wednesday. The resolution sets out concrete proposals for a comprehensive strategy to tackle extremism, to be applied in particular in prisons, online and through education and social inclusion.

The resolution drafted bv Rachida Dati (EPP, FR) on preventing radicalisation and recruitment of European citizens by terrorist organisations was adopted by 548 votes to 110, with 36 abstentions.

Stepping up exchange of information among member states

Parliament proposes setting up an EU blacklist of jihadists and jihadist terrorist suspects. It stresses the need for a common definition of foreign fighters to permit criminal proceedings against them when they return to the EU and calls on member states to ensure that foreign fighters are put under judicial control and, if necessary, in administrative detention upon their return to Europe until due judicial prosecution takes place.

It underlines the need for mandatory and systematic controls at the external borders It wants exchanges of information between national law enforcement authorities and EUROPOL to be stepped up in order to better detect and monitor terrorist suspects. MEPs also call on member states to make better use of other tools such as the Schengen Information System.

MEPs reiterate their commitment to work towards an agreement on EU Passenger Name Records (PNR) by the end of 2015. However, they also stress that EU PNR is just one tool in the fight against terrorism and that a comprehensive strategy on counter-terrorism is required.

Making would be foreign fighters think again

Parliament suggests confiscating passports and freezing financial assets to prevent potential foreign fighters from leaving the EU. ( Such preventive measures should be accompanied by support systems such as hotlines where families and friends can get help quickly if they fear that someone is being radicalised or may be about to join a terrorist organisation.

It also stresses the need to strengthen intercultural dialogue through educational systems and in disadvantaged neighbourhoods to prevent marginalisation and foster inclusion.

Preventing the spread of violent extremism online and in prisons

MEPs propose segregating radicalised inmates as a possible measure to avoid prisons serving as a breeding ground for the spread of radical and violent extremism.

To prevent the distribution of hate messages and praise for terrorism on the internet, the EP wants illegal content that spreads violent extremism to be deleted promptly, but in line with fundamental rights. Member states should consider legal action, including criminal prosecution, against internet and social media companies and service providers that refuse to comply with an administrative or judicial request to delete illegal content or content praising terrorism, MEPs say.