- Publication date
- 21 May 2021
- Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs
The digital EU-USA study visit that took place on 24-25 March 2021 brought together 57 practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and academics with the goal to discuss current challenges and share promising practices addressing racially and ethnically motivated violent extremism (REMVE, term used in the US) and violent right-wing extremism (VRWE, term used in the EU).
Acknowledging the importance of transatlantic cooperation, RAN Practitioners together with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office for Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention (OTVTP) discussed common challenges and explored opportunities for further collaboration.
Followed by the introductions of representatives from the European Commission’s DG HOME, the US Department of State and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the presentations and the group discussions focused on the changing landscape of violent right-wing extremism, and the good practices of regional coordination and multi-agency cooperation.
Some of the highlights and key recommendations of the exchange were the following:
- Violent Right Wing Extremism (VRWE) has recently been identified as the greatest domestic security threat in the US and it poses a growing risk in the EU. In the past decade, VRWE movements have become increasingly connected internationally both online and offline. VRWE actors’ ideological and demographic profiles have also become wider and more differentiated, making it more challenging to assess risk. Social media platforms are exploited by VRWE actors to recruit, inspire and spread disinformation. Due to a lack of data on current trends, the real size and nature of the problem is not fully understood.
- Key recommendations to tackle the above-described challenges include investing in research and regular international exchanges; exploring the strategic use of legal and administrative approaches to disrupt VRWE operations; working together with technology companies on content moderation strategies; employing specialised civil society organisations (CSOs) to advise and educate governments and other actors about current trends and designing information and counter-mobilization campaigns.
- Experts on both continents emphasized the importance of a comprehensive, interdisciplinary, multi-agency approach in prevent work. Common elements of this approach include capacity building locally by providing technical, financial and educational assistance; building on existing local structures; building trust and solid partnerships among stakeholders and applying a broader public safety approach.