by Hilde Hardeman
Director – Head of Service for Foreign Policy Instruments, European Commission
Our key response to address the threat of terrorism, whether within the EU or by working with our global partners is prevention. In this context, the EU has been a leader in initiatives to tackle extremist content online, empower those on the front lines in addressing radicalisation, and trace and stem funding for terrorist organisations, to name a few. In addition, preventing and countering violent extremism is a key element of EU development policy, as we see resilient communities as the backbone of peaceful societies. In line with the concept of ‘security for development’ and the UN Sustainable Development Goal 16 ‘Peace, justice and strong institutions’, there is no sustainable development without security, and vice versa. Assisting our partner regions around the world to address this challenge will help deliver the stability needed for prosperity to grow, to the benefit of all. Across all EU activities in this sphere, we rigidly adhere to the principle of ‘do no harm’ in terms of how we implement programmes and who we work with, with the rule of law and human rights always taking utmost priority.
At its heart, the EU’s approach to preventing and countering violent extremism is about people. It is about building relationships with local communities and, among them, reaching out to those individuals who are vulnerable to radicalisation so that we can help them build resilience and gain the tools they need. It is the story of these people, of their communities, and of working together for a more stable and secure future. This brochure shares some of these stories. I hope they will give you an insight into the breadth and depth of our work in this field, and how EU funding is making an impact in tackling these urgent challenges.