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Migration and Home Affairs

Prevention of radicalisation

Radicalisation is a phased and complex process in which an individual or a group embraces a radical ideology or belief that accepts, uses or condones violence, including acts of terrorism, to reach a specific political or ideological purpose. 

While radicalisation is not a new phenomenon, the trends, means and patterns of radicalisation evolve and responses have to be adapted. Home-grown lone actors and (returning) foreign terrorist fighters raise security issues and specific challenges for prevent work. Internet platforms, including social media, can be abused by violent extremists, terrorist groups and their sympathisers by providing new opportunities for mobilisation, recruitment and communication.

Project based collaborations

The Project Based Collaborations are projects led by EU countries, with the support of the European Commission, to foster exchange and cooperation on priority topics on prevention of radicalisation.

Victims of terrorism

Victims of terrorism deserve special attention and support at national and EU level. This is done through specific laws, networks and cooperation with partner countries and international organisations.

Terrorist content online

Terrorists use the internet to radicalize, recruit, and facilitate carrying out terrorist attacks. The European Commission has put forward a series of voluntary and legislative measures and initiatives to help prevent this.

Preventing radicalisation

Terrorist content online

The continued presence of terrorist content on the web is a serious risk for security of citizens and to society at large. Terrorists misuse the internet to spread their messages to intimidate, radicalise, recruit, and facilitate carrying out terrorist attacks. To tackle this threat, the European Commission put forward a legislative proposal in 2018 for a Regulation to address the dissemination of terrorist content online, which was adopted by the European Parliament in April 2021. The Regulation sets clear and transparent rules applicable to online platforms established in the EU to ensure that:

  • when terrorist content is identified, it is taken down within the hour,
  • online platforms take measures to ensure that their services cannot be misused.

Strong safeguards are put in place to ensure that freedom of speech is protected. Learn more about the key elements of the regulation from the following factsheet:

The European Commission is also working in a voluntary public-private partnership with the tech industry to tackle new and emerging challenges under the EU Internet Forum.

Radicalisation in prisons, rehabilitation and reintegration

Policy timeline

  1. 2020
    Counter Terrorism Agenda

    The Agenda builds on the Security Union Strategy and puts forward a number of initiatives to support Member States in areas such as online radicalisation, prisons and reintegration, as well as empowerment of communities. It also focuses on the need for a more structured and evidence-based approach in knowledge building and transfer.

  2. 2020
    Security Union Strategy

    The Strategy sets out a whole-of-society approach to security. It recognises the achievements in preventing radicalisation and calls for a further streamlining of EU policies, initiatives and funds. Priority areas include early detection and risk management, resilience building, as well as rehabilitation and reintegration in society.

  3. 2018
    EU Cooperation mechanism

    This mechanism aims at better involving Member States in setting strategic priorities at EU level through the Steering Board on Union Actions on Radicalisation. The mechanism also strengthens the coordinating and supporting role of the Commission. This is enhancing EU networks and initiatives and improving the collaboration between policy makers, practitioners and researchers for an effective and evidence-based approach against radicalisation.

  4. 2017
    High-Level Commission Expert Group on radicalisation

    In 2017, the Commission set up a High-Level Commission Expert Group on radicalisation. Its goal was to enhance the efforts to prevent and counter radicalisation leading to violent extremism and terrorism, and to improve coordination and cooperation between relevant stakeholders. The group delivered its Final Report on 18 May 2018 accomplishing its mandate, leading to the creation of the EU Cooperation mechanism.

  5. 2016
    Communication supporting the prevention of radicalisation leading to violent extremism

    The Communication supporting the prevention of radicalisation leading to violent estremism focuses on how work at EU level can support EU countries in seven specific areas:

    • supporting research, evidence building, monitoring and networking,
    • countering terrorist propaganda and hate speech online,
    • addressing radicalisation in prisons,
    • promoting inclusive education and EU common values,
    • promoting an inclusive, open and resilient society and reaching out to young people,
    • the security dimension of addressing radicalisation and,
    • the international dimension.
  6. 2015
    EU Internet Forum

    The EU Internet Forum brings together governments, Europol, and industry to ensure terrorist propaganda is taken down as quickly as possible.

  7. 2015
    The European Agenda on Security

    The European Agenda on Security sets out how the EU can bring added value to support EU countries in ensuring security.

  8. 2014
    Communication Preventing Radicalisation to Terrorism and Violent Extremism

    The Commission sets out a holistic and multi-actor approach in the Communication on Preventing Radicalisation to Terrorism and Violent Extremism.

  9. 2011
    Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN)

    The Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) brings together practitioners from all EU countries to develop practices, and equips them with the skills they need to address violent extremism.

  10. 2005
    EU Counter-terrorism Strategy

    The EU Counter-terrorism Strategy recognised that the EU can provide an added value in particular by facilitating exchange of experiences and good practices, strengthen cooperation and increase joint capabilities.

EU Networks

To strengthen cooperation and the exchange of knowledge and practices between the different stakeholders taking part in the prevention of radicalisation and violent extremism, the Commission established a number of networks.

Networks involving the Commission

EU Internet Forum

The EU Internet Forum brings together the European Commission, EU and EFTA Member States, internet industry and Europol. Its main objective is to tackle illegal content online, in particular:

Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN)

The Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) an EU-wide umbrella network connecting key first-line practitioners and field experts, now about 7000. They are social and health workers, teachers, exit workers, prison staff, civil society organisations, including victims' groups, as well as representatives from local authorities, law enforcement, counter terrorism specialists and academics. They exchange ideas, experiences, identify good practices and issue recommendations on how to best tackle all forms of radicalisation.

Network of prevent policy makers on radicalisation

The Network of prevent policy makers on radicalisation provides advice and expertise to the Commission in relation to the development of closer cooperation at EU level on EU prevent policy. This is done through the exchange of expertise and experiences, the implementation by Member States, at national, regional and local level, of EU prevent policy and through the exchange of expertise and experiences, project-based collaboration, study visits and voluntary peer reviews.

Other networks

European Strategic Communications Network (ESCN)

The European Strategic Communications Network (ESCN 2015-2019) was a network of EU countries, funded by the European Commission, which collaborated to share analysis, good practice and ideas on the sustainable use of strategic communications in countering violent extremism.

European Organisation for Prisons and Correctional Services (EuroPris)

The European Organisation of Prison and Correctional Services (EuroPris) is a non-political, non-governmental organisation founded in 2011. The initiative to establish EuroPris happened during the Swedish EU Presidency in 2009, and was brought forward by the European countries of the International Roundtable for Correctional Excellence.

European Prison Training Academies (EPTA)

The European Prison Training Academies (EPTA) was initiated in November 2008 at the French National Correctional Administration Academy (ENAP). It gathers training academies of Europe and promotes the exchange of good practices and debates on specific issues related to correctional training.

European Judicial Training Network

The European Judicial Training Network (EJTN) is the principal platform and promoter for the training and exchange of knowledge of the European judiciary. EJTN represents the interests of over 120,000 European judges, prosecutors and judicial trainers across Europe.

Cooperation and prevent strategies of EU countries

As part of the Counter-Terrorism Agenda adopted in 2020, the Commission will promote cooperation and dialogue with all security stakeholders, including EU security and intelligence services.

Many EU countries have developed strategies, action plans and other initiatives to tackle radicalisation. EU countries have also launched specific projects among like-minded member countries (so called Project Based Collaborations).