Are European responses to extremism sufficient and in time?

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The National Press Club, Washington DCJune 11, 2015

A round-table discussion on the latest policy and legislative developments in Europe aimed at confronting the surge of radicalism and hate crimes
Elaine Panter, Executive Board Member, US-Italy Global Affairs Forum
Mike Whine,  Director, Government & International Affairs Community Security Trust (CST); UK member European Commission against Racism & Intolerance (ECRI); 
Daniele Moro, Executive Director, US-Italy Global Affairs Forum, Free-Lance Journalist and International Expert on Terrorism

On June 11, 2015, the US-Italy Global Affairs Forum hosted a round-table discussion titled: “Are European responses to extremism sufficient and in time?” at the National Press Club in Washington DC.

The keynote speaker was Mr. Mike Whine, Director of the Government and International Affairs Community Security Trust in the United Kingdom and UK Member of the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance at the Council of Europe. Mr. Whine began the discussion with an overview of UK’s recently reformed efforts to address Islamic radicalization in the country and to promote cooperation with other European partners. Among the initiatives cited were the strengthening of minority groups within the Islamic communities that advocate for democracy and respect of human rights, the promotion of dialogue among moderate Sharia scholars and extremist groups and targeted de-radicalization efforts in UK prisons. Mr. Whine further emphasized the positive results obtained by the improved cooperation among UK intelligence departments in understanding the problem and preventing potential threats to national security.

Mr. Daniele Moro, Managing Director of the US-Italy Global Affairs Forum, followed Mr. Whine’s intervention and shifted the focus to Italian and American efforts to confront the threat of Islamic radicalization, with special attention to projects aimed at improving dialogue with governments in the Middle East. Conference participants commented on the need to strengthen the legal framework against hate crimes in Europe through harmonization of European legislation, trainings of law enforcement and integration into EU jurisdictions of the 2008 Council Framework Decision that requires all EU member states to legislate against incitement to racial and religious hatred. Mr. Whine, however, reminded the attendees that existing legislation should also be implemented and called for the development of administrative measures that take into consideration the volatile nature of terrorism.  Participants working in the development field further emphasized the importance of education and economic reform addressing youth unemployment in tackling radicalization.

The event concluded with remarks by Mr. Whine and Mr. Moro who renewed their commitment to working together to raise awareness on issues of anti-terrorism and US-Italy relations and a promise to organize similar joint events in the future. 


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