9th KAS Australia-Europe Counter-Terrorism Dialogue - Regional Programme Australia and the Pacific
With last year’s dialogue taking place in Australia, the 2023 dialogue took the form of a week-long expert exchange program in Europe, including meetings and roundtables with key stakeholders in Berlin and Brussels.
The aim of the dialogue was to facilitate policy-relevant debates on effective strategies against current extremist and terrorist threats to democratic societies, in continuation of the 2022 dialogue on strategies for resilience. A special focus hereby was on CT, CVE and PVE in the current age of great power competition and geostrategic uncertainty, disinformation, Far-Right Extremism and conspiracy narratives.
This year, KAS Australia invited Australian experts Peta Lowe, Specialist Consultant CVE for the Commonwealth Secretariat, and Dr Levi West, Director of Terrorism Studies at Charles Sturt University, to Germany and Belgium, to share their expertise and insights from an Australian perspective and discuss the challenges concerning their European counterparts. These included, among other issues, Germany's experience with the 'Reichsbürger' movement, Belgium's experience with returned foreign fighters and the conundrum of ‘awful’ vs ‘lawful’, relating to statements made by right-leaning parties and institutions that are not against the law but controversial from a moral point of view. Current developments of topical interest such as the renewed acceleration of the Hamas-Israel conflict and the attack on Swedish football fans in Brussels were also included in the agenda.
The discussions highlighted a variety of common concerns and areas of CT with scope for increased German/European-Australian cooperation. We are looking forward to continuing the dialogue in Australia in 2024.