- Publication date
- 24 January 2023
- Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs
- North Macedonia
In recent years, attention in the realm of P/CVE activities in the Western Balkans (WBs) focused almost exclusively on Islamist Extremism (IE). The number of citizens from the region who travelled to Syria and Iraq and, more recently, the foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) who returned alone or with their families remain a challenge both for practitioners and policy makers.
However, like in the rest of Europe, other forms of extremism are on the rise in the region, with (Violent) Right Wing Extremism (VRWE) becoming the predominant concern. Linked to a long history of violence rooted in ethno-nationalist conflicts, RWE can present itself in various ways, including polarisation and hate crimes. Ethno-nationalism as well as discrimination, including segregation in social and educational settings, continue to fuel patterns of social exclusion and radicalisation, manifesting in different ways across the region.
Not least in response to the ongoing societal debates linked to migration that have been affecting the region just like the rest of Europe. Additionally, the numbers of WB citizens, in particular from Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), North Macedonia and Montenegro, who travelled to Ukraine in 2014 have also risen3 and represent a growing concern.
VRWE has gradually come onto the agenda of WB P/CVE efforts, particularly with regards to the renewal of national P/CVE strategies. Under that framework, RAN WBs Cross-cutting event on VRWE brought together policy makers, representatives of EU law-enforcement agencies, representatives of WB Civil Society and local authorities, researchers as well as practitioners with the aim to provide an overview of the VRWE scene in the Western Balkans from a research, a practitioner, and a policy perspective while also, familiarize practitioners with existing P/CVE structures/know-how in the field of VRWE.