The Committee of the Region - the EU's Assembly of Regional and Local Representatives – invited EIP to advise local authorities how to address radicalisation.
Europe’s fight against terrorism and radicalisation begins in cities and regions. But what can local and regional authorities do to tackle the radicalisation? EIP experts were invited to a briefing at the Committee of the Regions to discuss the local perspective in the fight against terrorism.
The need to invest more in policing, education and dialogue were the main takeaways from a meeting of 100 mayors and regional representatives in Brussels.
The meeting showed that local authorities face huge challenges – many communities across Europe are polarised, inequality is rising and radical ideologies are spreading. For Peter Brorsen, EIP’s Europe director, one of the underlying problems is a lack of trust between local authorities and citizens. “Repression of radicalisation is not enough. Trust is low, and there is a lack of information” he said in Brussels.
Especially young people are attracted by radical ideologies “Radicalisation is a joyride; a promise that all your dreams can come true. We need to stop young people from taking it." However, radicalisation is only one symptom of polarised communities, as Brorsen explained "discrimination is the real problem - whether perceived or real. If we want to seriously tackle radicalisation, we need to talk about discrimination"
Local and regional authorities are well placed to address radicalisation but only if they don't shy away from a serious debate about the role of religion in society “People want more education - including religious education. Better religion can be the answer to religious extremism”
Brorsen also stressed the importance of local policing. “People want more security - local security. They want the state services to be present."
EIP's CoR briefing in the media: