IMPACT Europe news digest [#11]

Welcome to the eleventh instalment of the IMPACT Europe news digest. Through this series, the IMPACT Europe team will endeavour to present you with a selection of news, commentaries, journals articles and web materials relating to research and policy developments touching on the subject matters underpinning IMPACT Europe’s project’s mission. To receive the latest updates on IMPACT Europe’s research, dissemination and outreach activities you can follow our Twitter account (@impacteurope) or sign up to our quarterly newsletter through our homepage.




EU presents first report on progress made towards an effective and sustainable Security Union

European Commission – Press release

Last month, the European Commission presented the first in a series of monthly reports outlining the Commission’s efforts and progress made in tackling and building resilience against terrorism, organised crime and cybercrime. With regard to these priority areas, the report describes ongoing work, sets objectives for when key actions must be taken, and highlights the need to implement existing EU legislation and to accelerate work on other related security proposals. Activities performed by the Commission have so far focused on measures both to deprive terrorists and criminals of the means to commit offences, and to strengthen Europe’s defence capabilities and resilience to these threats. Among others, improving the legal framework, information exchange mechanisms, information systems and external borders security are described as core aims of this work.



Civic Approaches to Confronting Violent Extremism: Sector Recommendations and Best Practices

Institute for Strategic Dialogue

This report, produced by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, is the first of three reports to be released as part of the Bridging Transatlantic Voices: Civic Approaches to Preventing Radicalisation and Violent Extremism project. This report communicates the findings of a workshop and a number of follow-up interviews with key stakeholders from leading civil society organisations and private sector companies working to prevent, counter and build resilience to violent extremism in the US and Europe. The discussions held sought to elicit views on current practices as well as recommendations on how CVE policy and programming could be improved. Key findings described in the report focus on the need to: i) adopt a more holistic approach to CVE; ii) clarify roles and responsibilities between different actors for improved cross-sector coordination and collaboration; iii) rebuild trust between government and civil society; iv) adopt new approaches to engaging with ideology, dissent and violence that do not assume links between them; v) build counter and alternative narratives; and vi) ensure sector sustainability. The report also identifies examples of promising practice and potential solutions, and overviews key initiatives and organisations, highlighting their successes and any learning from their activities.



From Countering to Preventing Radicalization Through Education: Limits and Opportunities

Agnese Macaluso, the Hague Institute for Global Justice

This research paper examines the current policy focus on education as a means to counter the spread of radicalisation. The author, Angela Macaluso, surveys existing evidence and practice, pointing to recent research which has shown that increasing access to education may not in itself decrease the risk of radicalisation. Moreover, Macaluso highlights the counterproductive effects of policies which use schools to identify and target potential radicals, and which may therefore end up undermining social integration by demonising certain communities and reinforcing stereotypes. Drawing on research from the fields of education and peacebuilding, the author therefore argues against using schools and educators to enforce counter-radicalisation measures and to promote a specified set of values and beliefs as part of their preventative responsibilities. Instead, the author argues that schools should provide a safe space for critical thinking and dialogue. In such a forum, values and assumptions should be openly questioned and discussed, and the exchange of different ideas and perspectives encouraged. Building on the power of education to shape values, behaviour and identities, the author furthermore proposes that greater investment be made in primary education, where the impact of preventative efforts may be greatest. Finally, the report offers some practical recommendations for policy and suggestions of best practices.



Repressing the Foreign Fighters Phenomenon and Terrorism in Western Europe: Towards an Effective Response Based on Human Rights

International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague

In this research paper, Christophe Paulussen examines how countries in Western Europe have responded to the phenomenon of foreign fighters and terrorism. These issues are explored in depth through the examples of certain repressive measures announced or adopted in France and the Netherlands, and the criticism that they have received. Through these case studies, as well as by referring to other developments in Western Europe, the author suggests that a general trend may be observed in the increasing tendency for counter terrorism approaches to prioritise security at the expense of protecting human rights. The author concludes by sharing thoughts on how a human rights-based approach to countering the threat of foreign fighters and terrorism offers the more effective strategy for society, giving recommendations on how this may be implemented.




  • Annual International Countering Violent Extremism Research Conference 2016
    Hedayah and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
    6-8 December 2016, Jakarta, Indonesia
  • Extreme Dialogue: Empowering Youth to Challenge Extremism
    European launch of Extreme Dialogue
    22 November 2016, Brussels, Belgium


[Image shared by Marcie Casas via Flickr; CC BY 2.0]