IMPACT Europe news digest [#17]

Welcome to the seventeenth 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.



12-month EU special committee will address deficiencies in the EU response to violent extremism

European Parliament News

On 6 July, the European Parliament approved the setting up of a special committee tasked with examining and evaluating current EU approaches and systems for countering the threat of terrorism in Europe. The committee will look at any practical and legislative deficiencies which may undermine EU efforts and objectives in this area, and will consider best practice with regard to the protection of soft targets and critical infrastructure. 20 MEPs will sit on this committee, which will run for 12 months, with the option to extend this mandate. The committee will provide a mid-term and final report which will present findings and recommendations.

Link: [link]


8th Progress Report on Security Union

European Commission Security Report

On 29 June, the European Commission published its eighth report outlining progress made towards establishing an effective and genuine Security Union, of which countering radicalisation and the terrorist threat forms a central part. The report describes the implementation of the majority of measures announced in June last year to strengthen Member States action to prevent and counter violent radicalisation leading to terrorism. With the publication of this report, the European Commission has also announced further initiatives and action: (i) the Commission has called for individual Member States to establish national Internet Referral Units to complement the work of Europol’s Internet Referral Unit; and (ii) a High-Level Expert Group on Radicalisation will be established to further develop EU policy in this area.

Link: [link]


2017 EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report


The 2017 EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report issued by Europol discusses the terrorist threat and trends throughout 2016. The report focuses on the number and profiles of perpetrators and victims of terrorist attacks; the nature of terrorist activity and support networks; EU criminal justice responses. A total of 142 terrorist attacks took place, failed, or were foiled over 2016 in eight EU Member States; 76 per cent of these were reported by the United Kingdom. Young adults, women, and children, were found to be playing increasingly operational roles in attacks. The report also highlights an increase since 2014 in attacks carried out by left-wing violent extremists.

Link: [link]


Why They Leave: An Analysis of Terrorist Disengagement Events from Eighty-seven Autobiographical Accounts

Emma Leonard Boyle, John G. Horgan, Mary Beth Altier and Neil D. Shortland

This paper looks to identify trends in the ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors that may influence an individual’s decision to leave a violent extremist group. The paper does so through an analysis of forty-nine instances of individual voluntary disengagement from violent extremist groups as reported in eight-seven autobiographical accounts. The authors find that deradicalisation (a loss of ideological commitment) is not commonly reported to play a decisive role in an individual’s disengagement, nor that it is a prerequisite for this to happen. Instead, the authors suggest that ‘push’ factors such as disillusionment with the group’s strategy or decisions, disagreements with group leaders or members, dissatisfaction with day-to-day tasks, and burnout, are most frequently said to motivate an individual’s decision to leave a violent extremism group.

Link: [link]


Risk Assessment and the Prevention of Radicalization from Nonviolence Into Terrorism

Kiran M. Sarma

In this paper, Sarma examines the particular challenges associated with risk assessment in the field of counter violent radicalisation and extremism. In this field the persisting lack of evidence around the radicalisation process and risk factors associated with it undermines efforts to categorise and intervene appropriately in cases of radicalisation that lead to terrorism. Sarma argues that, in spite of the challenges discussed, psychologists should actively contribute to the development of P/CVE risk assessment systems. This will in turn generate evidence to inform a better understanding of the risks that individuals may pose. The author outlines a set of guiding principles for the design and use of risk assessment systems, based on existing good practice. These include the use of explanatory models where empirical evidence is lacking, and an emphasis on holistic human judgement which takes into consideration not only the presence of risk factors, but also their relevance to an individual case and narrative.

Link: [link]



  • Advanced Summer Programme on Countering Terrorism: Legal Challenges and Dilemmas
    Organised by the Assert Institute and the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague (ICCT)
    August 28-1 September, The Hague, the Netherlands
  • Security, Democracy and Cities: Coproducing Urban Security Policies
    European Forum for Urban Security 2017 Conference
    15-17 November, Barcelona, Spain


[Image shared by Christopher via Flickr; CC BY 2.0]