Terrorism is a threat to all States and to all peoples. It poses a serious threat to security, to the values of democratic societies and to the rights and freedoms of citizens. Terrorism is criminal and unjustifiable under any circumstances.
In June 2016, the Global Strategy for the Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union (EU) was presented as a new overarching foreign and security policy framework and reference document for the EU. The document identifies terrorism as one of the key threats facing the EU and highlights the need to further develop cooperation with the EU’s neighbourhood and other regions on countering terrorism (CT) and violent extremism (VE) The need for enhanced international cooperation on countering terrorism and VE, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, is also emphasised in the European Council Conclusions of February 2015, June 2017 and June 2020.
The four pillars of the new EU’s CT Agenda published in December 2020 – Anticipate, Prevent, Protect, and Respond – constitute a comprehensive and proportionate response to the international terrorist threat. The EU seeks to anticipate existing emerging threats through information sharing and a culture of cooperation that is multi-disciplinary and multi-level. The EU is working to prevent attacks by addressing and better countering radicalisation and extremist ideologies through the support of local actors and building more resilient communities. To effectively protect Europeans, the EU aims at continuing to reduce vulnerabilities be it in public spaces or for the critical infrastructures that are essential for the functioning of our societies and economy. To respond to attacks when they do occur, urgent action is needed to minimise the impact and allow for the swift investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators. No Member State can do it on its own. Cooperation is needed both at the European level and internationally.
Nor do these approaches do much to address the enabling environment for VE – conditions, grievances and ideologies that contribute to the violent radicalisation, mobilisation and recruitment of individuals or groups. There is therefore an increasing focus by the international community, including the EU, on preventive approaches to violence and conflict, including a more concerted effort to address violent extremist ideologies and actions that create a hospitable environment for terrorist groups.
The EU projects have an overall global remit, with specific geographic focus areas which include Balkans, Middle East, North Africa, West Africa/Sahel, Horn of Africa, Central/South/South East Asia and the Caribbean.
Strengthening Resilience to Violence and Extremism (STRIVE)
For the EU, Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE) is becoming a key concept both in internal and external security circles, and activities have been taken at both the Member State and EU level. Under the IcSP, a number of global P/CVE-specific actions have been launched around the world under the Strengthening Resilience to Violent Extremism (STRIVE) programme. These STRIVE actions aim to facilitate innovative P/CVE projects in collaboration with local communities, to strengthen conditions conducive to development, and resilience towards violent extremism. Commencing in 2013, approximately €38 million has been allocated to various STRIVE actions in over 20 countries across the globe in an effort to prevent and counter violent extremism. The key common factor is that the specific actions under the programme are innovative, testing new ground and creating a platform for learning which can feed into the larger traditional cooperation instruments of the European Union. Examples include:
- STRIVE II Kenya
- STRIVE Horn of Africa
- EU-UN STRIVE Asia
- STRIVE Afghanistan
- STRIVE Prison Prevention
- STRIVE Youth
- STRIVE Juvenile
- STRIVE Global- GCERF
- STRIVE Global – Hedayah
STRIVE II Kenya was an EU-funded Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE) programme active between 2017 and 2020. It was the second EU-funded STRIVE programme implemented by RUSI, following on from STRIVE Horn of Africa, and it was delivered as part of the EU’s global STRIVE platform.
STRIVE II sought to build on achievements and lessons learned during STRIVE Horn of Africa. The programme, implemented by the RUSI Nairobi office, was designed in response to the rapidly evolving Violent Extremist (VE) threat in Kenya.
The aim of the programme was to contribute towards reducing radicalisation, recruitment and support for violent extremism by addressing structural factors, group-based dynamics, enabling factors and individual incentives in Kenya. While STRIVE II monitored and responded to the growth of Islamic State and other VE actors, the programme focused primarily on Al-Shabaab.
The project had four main components: research, law enforcement training, youth mentorship, and preventive communications. In addition to delivering a range of interventions to reduce radicalisation, recruitment and support for VE, STRIVE II contributed extensively to the evidence base for CVE programming.
STRIVE II focused not only on improving and developing the P/CVE response by state and non-state actors, but also iteratively adapting to the tactics of the VE organisations, which themselves were evolving to circumvent P/CVE initiatives.
Aiming to strengthen resilience to violent extremism in Kenya and Somalia, STRIVE Horn of Africa represents the first attempt by the European Commission to implement P/CVE-specific activities outside of Europe. Funded by the IcSP, this project aimed to understand the drivers of violent extremism through evidence-based analysis; to develop best practices around P/CVE programming in the Horn of Africa based on short pilot activities; and to provide recommendations to contribute to more focused and effective interventions.
(EU-UN Joint Programme for Strengthening Resilience to Violent Extremism in Asia): This action is expected to contribute to prevent and counter violent extremism in selected countries from Central, South and Southeast Asia through a whole of society/multi-stakeholder approach including governments, security actors, civil society and the private sector. The specific objective is that key Government (executive and its security agencies and legislative bodies, where appropriate) and non- Government actors are better prepared to contribute to P/CVE objectives in targeted regions and countries.
Strengthening Resilience to Violent Extremism (STRIVE) Afghanistan was a €3 million EU-funded Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE) programme that was launched in January 2019. Crisis and regime change in Afghanistan in August 2021 forced the programme to adapt. The redesigned programme was delivered without any involvement from the post-2021 authorities, and many of the activities were carried out remotely. The final programme delivered an individual-level intervention aimed at populations deemed at risk to Islamic State online recruitment efforts, a national-level intervention involving the training and mentorship of Afghan journalists in peace journalism, and technical engagement with key EU officials and diplomats on cross-cutting issues such as human rights and violence prevention. The programme produced a significant number of research papers and articles on topics ranging from peace journalism and gender to Taliban governance and strategy – often based on unique sources – which provide a valuable insight into this under-studied and turbulent transitional period in Afghanistan.
This action is focusing on increasing the capacity of selected beneficiary countries (Tunisia, Kazakhstan and Uganda) to effectively manage violent extremist prisoners and to prevent radicalisation to violence in their prison systems. The project aims to prevent the progression to violent extremism and to effectively manage violent extremist prisoners. With ever-increasing numbers of terrorists imprisoned across the globe, effectively managing this specific prison population and ensuring that violent extremist radicalisation does not spread through the system have become key priorities for many governments.
Under the Extremely Together initiative the EU and the Kofi Annan Foundation worked to empower young people to prevent and counter extremism through peer-to-peer engagement and learning. The project brought together 10 young leaders from across the globe who have proven their commitment to helping other young people tackle violent extremism in their communities. A set of guidelines on youth engagement in P/CVE area were produced by the 10 young leaders. The EU has also started a new collaboration with One Young World (OYW) to give youth a voice in the peace-building process by supporting the participation of 80 youth ambassadors in the 2017 OYW Summit which took place in Bogota. An innovative new action “Open Mind” contributed to promote cultural diversity through social media in order to strengthen youth resilience towards radicalisation and violent extremism in Morocco. A research-initiative in Yemen helped to investigate factors driving individuals – in particular youth – towards violent extremism in Yemen, by identifying key drivers of violent extremism, understanding the process of radicalisation, platforms, and networks used by key influencers, in order to inform current and future programming and highlight opportunities for organisations working on P/CVE in Yemen.
This action aims at disrupting terrorist groups’ recruitment of children and promoting the rehabilitation and reintegration of children who have been associated with these groups into society, with a focus on Indonesia, Iraq and Nigeria.
This action aims to build the capacity of local, community-level organisations to effectively challenge radicalisation and recruitment to terrorism while continuing to respect human rights and international law.
Through this action, Hedayah worked with local partners to design, implement and develop approaches to prevent and counter radicalisation and recruitment to terrorism. These approaches focus on four key areas: Capacity-Building Developing and delivering training programmes; Empowering Civil Society; Media; and Research.
EU Support to CT and P/CVE in Partner Countries
Since 2005, the EU has stressed that actions to combat terrorism effectively must be organised around four pillars: prevention, protection, pursuit and response, in line with the European Union Counter-Terrorism Strategy and the European Union Strategy for Combating Radicalisation and Recruitment to Terrorism. Over the last decade, the European Commission has invested heavily in combating terrorism and violent extremism in partner countries. As of the end of 2019, there are approximately 465-million-euro worth of CT or P/CVE-specific projects (ongoing) with a geographical scope external to the EU, which represents an increase of approximately 61 million euros (or 15%) from similar figures in the previous year – and more than a tripling of engagement over a four year period. Article 5 of the IcSP represents 21% of the overall EU investment in this area.
Building capacity for integrated approaches to CT and CVE
The EU approach to CT and P/CVE capacity building is to promote criminal justice and law enforcement capabilities while respecting human rights and the rule of law, as well as to support key preventive measures for violent extremism and to counter terrorist financing. The different strands of the IcSP work follow this logic and focus on:
– Building capacity of law enforcement and judiciary agencies
– Preventing and countering violent extremism
– Countering the financing of terrorism
Over the last decade, the EC has invested heavily in combating violent extremism (VE), by addressing conditions conducive to its spread and strengthening the resilience of vulnerable communities. This brochure will be showcasing stories and lessons learned on how the EC has assisted partner countries in their efforts to address VE. The stories aim to reach beyond the practical illustrations of the EC approach to P/CVE. It is rather an overview of the main results achieved, presenting the human face of the EU’s P/CVE programmes, and extracting lessons learned which are relevant for the design of future programmes. The stories are selected from different regions and cover different thematic topics.
Terrorism and violent extremism, in all their forms and irrespective of their origin, are significant threats to stability, peace and security across the globe. While the latest Terrorism Index indicates an overall decrease in the number of terrorist acts globally, the threat posed by terrorism to international peace and security is becoming more diverse and complex than ever.
The EU cooperates with countries across the globe to counter this threat, guided by the EU Counterterrorism Strategy and conclusions of the Council of the European Union and in the context of political dialogues on CT between the EU and the respective countries, where relevant. With a view to supporting and facilitating the implementation of the EU’s political objectives, the Commission has established a number of thematic CT Facilities managed by the Foreign Policy Instruments Service (FPI). These provide demand-driven, tailor-made support to partner countries in all areas of the CT cycle — anticipate, prevent, protect and respond — to enhance their capacities to address terrorism from a rule of law perspective.
Each facility has a global or trans-regional scope and offers access to a range of specific CT activities. The facilities are flexible: they are designed in a way that allow for adjustments in activities in light of developments or changing priorities within the respective facilities’ geographic and/or thematic mandates. FPI also manages a number of multi-country actions focusing on CT. These operate in pre-defined countries based on a set of selection criteria defined either during formulation or the inception stage of the action. These actions are also presented in this document.
For more info check the brochure (EN) .
Themes & Areas of Work
Terrorism is not a new phenomenon in Europe. It poses a threat to our security, to the values of our democratic societies and to the rights and freedoms of European citizens. Between 2009-2013 there were 1010 failed, foiled or completed attacks carried out in EU member states, in which 38 people died. In addition, several European citizens have been kidnapped or killed by terrorist groups around the world. The phenomenon of fighters from Europe travelling to different locations to fight the jihad, and the security threat they may pose inside the EU when they return, are also likely to persist in the coming years.
Since these threats do not recognise borders, they must be confronted at both a national and international level.
The European Union member states are committed to jointly fighting terrorism and providing for the best possible protection for its citizens. To this end, in 2005 the Council adopted the EU counter-terrorism strategy. The strategy is focused on four main pillars: prevent, protect, pursue and respond. Across these pillars, the strategy recognises the importance of cooperation with third countries and international institutions.
The EU is working to hinder terrorists’ capacity to plan and organise, and to bring these terrorists to justice. To achieve these goals, the EU has focused on strengthening national and international law enforcement and justice capabilities, improving practical cooperation and information exchange between police and judicial authorities, tackling terrorist financing and depriving terrorists of the means by which they mount attacks and communicate.
South East Asia
Horn of Africa
A second new project currently in the formulation stage is a 5 M€ project on deradicalisation in prisons, to be rolled out regionally in South East Asia and in MENA from 2016.
In Pakistan, the IcSP works to improve the ability of Punjabi agencies to successfully investigate, prosecute, convict and detain terrorists, through a project of 1.8 M€, supporting the forensic capacity.
In the Sahel region, initially covering Mali, Mauritania and Niger, a 8.7 M€ project, CT SAHEL, aims to strengthen the capacities of law enforcement (police, gendarmerie and garde nationale) and judiciary to fight terrorism and organised crime. The purpose of this project is to support the progressive development of regional and international cooperation against these threats.
A new project on law enforcement in the Horn of Africa and Yemen (11 M€) is in the process of being developed for implementation from early 2015.
Violent extremist ideologies are gaining an unprecedented level of traction across the globe, taking root in local communities and controlling territory in a number of fragile states, as well as attracting an increasing number of disenfranchised citizens in other states. Their messages that incite hate, perpetuate violence and invoke terror should have no place in a modern and civilised world.
It is important to emphasise that violent extremism is a global problem, which manifests itself in all cultures and all religions but with different specific characteristics. Radicalisers work by pointing to social, political and economic injustice around their followers. They promote a belief that these injustices result from a corrupt system of politics or ideology. To be persuasive, many of these arguments are based on facts and truths but are selective and incomplete in the way they employ reality. More importantly, the means by which they seek to redress this injustice is through violence, greater oppression and victimisation.
Thus, the challenge for policy-makers has arguably never been greater, as the international community needs to bring all of its tools to the table both to resolve on-going crises and prevent their re-occurrence. The European Union is the world’s single largest development actor, with a comprehensive global reach and a range of instruments that engage on continental, regional and national levels. Our approaches span the gamut from long-term preventive engagements on trade, infrastructure and social service delivery, to short-term stabilisation instruments that can deliver targeted humanitarian relief and recovery measures.
Addressing both the manifestations of violent extremism and its root causes is a quintessentially development challenge. It will require strengthening the fundamental building blocks of equitable development, human rights, governance and the rule of law. A diverse range of stakeholders need to be brought to the table and empowered, including not only state actors and security institutions, but also key members of local communities and civil society who can speak courageously and compellingly about truth, tolerance and acceptance. Thus, while a strong response to violent extremism is required, it must embrace, not further restrict civil liberties, and address insecurity, inequality and marginalisation. The EU is committed to working with partners across the globe to achieve this in the interests of all citizens.
To improve the capabilities of EU staff of developing CVE specific interventions using existing and future development efforts a series of thematic trainings on CVE are being conducted in partner countries.
South East Asia
Horn of Africa
A second new project currently in the formulation stage is a 5 M€ project on deradicalisation in prisons, to be rolled out regionally in South East Asia and in MENA from 2016.
In Pakistan a 5 M€ project on countering violent extremism and radicalisation commenced in the second half of 2014. The specific objective of this project is to reinforce Government, media and civil society capacities in Pakistan to counter violent radicalization at provincial and federal levels.
A project to strengthening the knowledge base for evidence-lead action for CVE in the Sahel, was initiated in 2015. This 1.7 M€ project that will establish a regional network of research and expertise, and to establish and implement a methodology of “action research” combining academic research and practitioners.
Two IcSP supported projects, in the Horn of Africa (including Yemen) and Pakistan, are implemented. This follows a large conference in November 2012 organised to identify possible Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) actions.
A 2 M€ project aims to develop best practices for countering violent extremism and radicalisation in the Horn of Africa and Yemen. Concretely, the aim is to constitute a knowledge base on past and present practices with recommendations for evidence based policymaking and action planning. This was commenced in early 2014.
The EU approach to Counter Terrorism capacity building is to promote criminal justice/rule of law and law enforcement while respecting human rights as well as to support prevention measures such as counter-radicalisation and terrorist financing. The different strands of the IcSP Counter Terrorism work follow this logic and focus on capacity building of law enforcement and judiciary agencies, countering violent extremism and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT).
AML/ CFT Global initiative (Planned, AAP 2016)
The EU has decided to step up its engagement in the AML/CFT area in our cooperation strategy, by supporting AML/CFT efforts. Notably, we are currently identifying a programme on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism for 16 million EUR as part of the Programme for 2016. The Identification and Formulation will be carried out a team of yet to be defined MS experts and will include close consultations, in particular with EEAS, DG HOME and the CTC.
CFT and AML related challenges are often cross-border in nature. Reports state there is still an obvious need for a number of actions to address on-going capacity gaps in the field of general legal and law enforcement capacities which would broadly benefit and complement specialised AML/CFT efforts. Activities under this programme could include, but are absolutely not limited to:
Capacity Building of criminal justice actors (Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs), law enforcement, prosecutors and judges), training of law enforcement officers and prosecutors in asset tracing, seizure and confiscation;
Assistance with amending AML/CFT legislation to bring it into line with international instruments, with accompanying safeguards for human rights and civil liberties;
Updating legislation linked to inter-state cooperation (e.g. extradition and mutual legal assistance laws, as well as appropriate legal framework for joint investigations amongst states);
Enhancing capacities for cross-border investigations.
CFT in the Horn of Africa and Yemen (On-going, AAP 2013)
IcSP is funding a programme in the Horn of Africa (6 million EUR) to raise awareness and strengthen the capacities of the financial sector and criminal justice actors, for effective AML/CFT nationally and regionally.
The programme covers Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, Yemen. It is implemented by CIVI.POL Conseil (France) – leading partner in collaboration with the French Ministry of Interior the Directorate for International Cooperation AFETI (France) and ICCT (Netherlands). Activities include:
Capacity building for improved AML/CFT understanding and capacity among financial sector stakeholders nationally and regionally. Focus on enhancing the technical awareness and expertise of parties and institutions vulnerable to money laundering or terrorist financing.
Capacity building for Increased AML/CFT strategic direction, capacity and cooperation among criminal justice actors nationally and regionally.
Institutional development of Financial Intelligence Units’ capabilities and capacities.
Promote incentives and develop viable alternatives to cash-based financial institutions. The programme will support the conduct of a study of alternative cash-based financial institutions ideally in cooperation with a regional organization.