Impact Europe news digest [#3]

Welcome to the third instalment of the IMPACT Europe news digest. Through this series, the IMPACT Europe team endeavours 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.


European Union launches Counter terrorism Centre (ECTC) in The Hague


The EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Mr Dimitris Avramopoulos, launched on January 25th in The Hague the new Europol-attached Counter Terrorism Centre (ECTC). The decision to establish the ECTC was taken by EU Member States in the framework of the European Agenda on Security in April 2015. The necessity for such a centre was further reiterated during the EU Justice and Home Affairs Ministers meeting, which was held in the aftermath of the November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks. The ECTC has been established with the aim of strengthening and facilitating cooperation and collaboration between Member States, building trust among the different counter terrorism units of each country and helping them to share their capabilities. Furthermore, the ECTC work will also aim to promote multilateral fora, such as the Global Counter Terrorism Forum, in a bid to help identifying best practices and tools to counter narratives on the internet, as well as to find out new ways to address concerns over encryption standards.

Links: [1] ; [2]

Debate over United Nations Plan of Action on Counter Violent Extremism

United Nations

On January 15, the United Nations Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, presented to the UN General Assembly a Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism. Describing violent extremism as “a direct assault on the United Nations Charter and a grave threat for international peace and security”, the UN Secretary General called member states to unity and action. The proposed Plan of Action recommends that each Member State develop its own national action plan to prevent violent extremism, focusing on seven priority areas, namely: dialogue and conflict prevention; strengthening good governance; human rights and the rule of law; engaging communities; empowering youth; gender equality and empowering women; education, skill development and employment facilitation; strategic communications, including through the Internet and social media.

On February 12, however, diverging views emerged from the UN General Assembly during a review of the Secretary General proposed Plan of Action. In particular, the Assembly welcomed the initiative, but decided that “further consideration” to the plan was required before its adoption, especially since some delegates found that the proposal lacked a deep and precise focus on the root causes of radicalisation.

Links: [1] ; [2] ; [3]

How could a Terrorist be De-Radicalised?

Luke Bertram – Journal for Deradicalisazation

Excerpt from journal abstract: “This article addresses the potential to de-radicalize a terrorist, and if so how could this be achieved? The article also outlines the distinction between de-radicalization, counter-radicalization and disengagement. In order to understand the potential of de-radicalization techniques, research examines the factors that might lead to initial radicalization. The strategy of some state-based de-radicalization programs (…) and the importance of unique tailoring in these programs is identified. The relevance of ideology and life skill training within de-radicalization programs is also examined. The extensive impact that information communication technology has had on radicalization is also addressed and following on, the potential for de-radicalization and counter-radicalization through information communication platforms is also discussed. (…) The discussions in this article are relevant to policy-makers, de-radicalization program designers and security sector actors.

Link [1]

Explaining CVE work and Switzerland’s approach on a comprehensive strategy

Owen Frazer & Christian Nünlist – CSS Analyses in Security Policy

This paper from Owen Frazer & Christian Nünlist of the Zurich-based Center for Security Studies argues that structural causes lie at the very beginning of radicalisation processes, and that violent extremism cannot be exclusively fought with intelligence, police and military means, but must also be addressed through “soft” aspects of counterterrorism measures. Furthermore, the article discusses the growing traction enjoyed by the concept of Counter Violent Extremism (CVE) among political and diplomatic discourse, the challenges currently faced by work in this field, as well as the role that Switzerland could play in facilitating the development of an international dialogue and consensus on CVE-related matters and practices.

Link [1]


Call for Papers: Vox-Pol Mid-Project Conference


The EU FP7-funded project Vox-Pol has issued a call for papers and panel proposals for its mid-project conference scheduled to take place in Dublin in June 2016 under the title: Taking Stock Of Research On Violent Online Political Extremism.

The call particularly welcomes empirically grounded research, papers reporting significant new results, as well as methodologically innovative works covering a wide range of thematic areas pertinent to online violent political extremism. For further information, please visit the link below.

Link [1]