Polarisation & Radicalisation

Polarisation and radicalisation

Europe has for many years been confronted by various extremist movements whose magnitude, media presence and level of priority in the political agenda vary across time. Such movements have both international and local dimensions and impacts. Underlying them and amplified by social media, polarisation is a threat that concerns local and regional authorities.

In order to efficiently prevent such phenomena from drifting into violence, local governments seek to understand how ‘us and them’ thinking, social divisions and hostility are gaining ground in local communities, and how they can efficiently act to curb such extremist dynamics, build bridges and strengthen social cohesion.

In a resolution published in 2016, Efus called for local prevention of radicalisation leading to violent extremism.

> Reports from the 2024 Security, Democracy and Cities conference:
Polarisation and prevention of radicalisation leading to violent extremism
How to understand and prevent hate, extremism, and disinformation online

European cooperation projects

  • icommit
  • IcARUS
  • BRIDGE (2019-2021)
  • LOUD (2019-2021)
  • PRACTICIES (2017-2020)
  • PREPARE (Preventing Radicalisation Through Probation and Release) (2017–2019)
  • Local Voices (Local Communication Strategies to Prevent Extremism) (2017–2018)
  • LIAISE I and II (Local Institutions Against Extremism) (2014–2017)
  • Efus was a partner in the BOUNCE project on resilience tools (2013–2015) led by the Belgian Ministry of the Interior

> Positioning
In its 2017 Security, Democracy and Cities Manifesto, Efus observes that ‘local and regional authorities are strategically well positioned to implement actions and mobilise all relevant stakeholders’ and calls for ‘a strong preventive approach’ to radicalisation, which ‘threatens security and social cohesion’. On behalf of its members, Efus commits to ‘basing our policies on an approach that guarantees individual liberties in order to avoid stigmatisation’, strengthening cooperation among European local and regional authorities, and ‘promoting the mobilisation of civil society, recognising their key role in building resilience’.

Publications & Ressources

Practice sheets

Discover the actions implemented in communities across Europe through our summary documents, which present the key elements of each of these initiatives, including their context, objectives, activities, budget, evaluation. All of our practice and summary sheets can be found on Efus Network.