Dialogue Program Countering and Preventing Radicalization - Regional Programme Political Dialogue and regional Integration in the Southern Mediterranean
Threats through radicalization processes, which lead to terrorism and violent extremism, have exacerbated and have become one of the focal points for EU member states as well as European and international politics. There has also been an increasing concentration on the term radicalization in academics and the political and societal challenges this development poses. Among those challenges features the high number of mostly young people that have travelled to conflict zones such as Syria and Iraq to join terrorist groups as "foreign fighters". In order to share knowledge on this topic, identify successful de-radicalization approaches and build networks within the MENA region and with the EU the KAS Regional Program South Mediterranean invited 11 high-ranking representatives of NGOs and think tanks from Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Palestine and Lebanon to Paris and Brussels from 20-25 November 2016.
Within the framework of the dialogue program, the delegation met with representatives of the European External Action Service, the French National Assembly, the relevant Belgian administrative institution and civil society actors for bilateral talks. The meetings covered a wide range of topics such as de-radicalization programs on the local level, root causes for violent extremism, and re-integration of foreign fighters. The participants agreed that innovative measures to prevent radicalization and the positioning of counter-narratives should be focused on more strongly by politicians and civil society actors in order to fight terrorism over the long run. To effectively act in this field, the current gap in the dialog between the MENA region and the EU will have to be bridged. The dialogue program can be seen as a first step into this direction.