EIP's new programme aims at reducing polarisation in European societies.

The challenge

In recent years, European societies have become increasingly polarised. Tolerance towards diverging political and religious views is declining, while crimes against minorities and refugees are on the rise. Fear has captured the political debate and, amplified by an intense media coverage, there is an elevated sense of risk to the public space. Terrorist attacks – in Paris, Brussels, and other European cities – have made clear that violent extremism is a real threat to European safety and security. Refugee movements and migratory flows, from inside and outside Europe, create less integrated, more transient European societies. Finally, there is a strong and growing support for far and extreme right political and social movements across the continent.

A novel approach

The overall aim of the Europe programme is to reduce polarisation and mitigate the risk of extremism in European societies in two ways:

  • The European Institute of Peace serves as a mediator and dialogue convenor, bringing together parties that find it difficult to engage with each other without third-party assistance. This also involves capacity-building to inform official responses.
  • The dialogues are supported by operational data on the social patterns of communities affected by or at risk of extremism.

We have specialised expertise for engaging with extremist groups and communities affected by extremism. Our independent status allows us to engage in non-traditional ways with unusual actors, while feeding in to the official political process.

An example of our work

  • Molenbeek, Brussels – the EIP is conducting a survey to understand the quality of life in Molenbeek, with specific focus on how the social fabric of the community has been affected by extremism. Click here for more details.