Strasbourg, France, 14 September 2015 – Efus signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe “with a view to implementing the Congress Strategy to combat radicalisation and on issues related to urban violence,” on 14 September, in Strasbourg (France).
This agreement follows the intervention of Efus President, Guilherme Pinto, at the 28th session of the Congress, in March, after which the Congress had contacted Efus in order to give new impetus to the cooperation on radicalisation and urban security. The two organisations are long-standing partners, and the Congress had taken part in the Security, Democracy and Cities conference at Aubervilliers and Saint-Denis, in 2012.
The MOU recalls that the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted an “Action Plan to combat extremism and radicalisation leading to terrorism (2015-2017)”, on 19 May 2015, which includes “concrete measures in the public sector, raising awareness among the general population.” It also recalls that following the March 215 Resolution 381 (2015) and Recommendation 371 (2015) on “Combatting radicalisation at grassroots level: the role of local and regional authorities”, the Congress “decided to build on existing co-operation established with relevant networks such as the European Forum for Urban Security to implement its strategy through joint activities involving local authorities.”
The aim of the agreement is to create a framework for co-operation on issues related to security and the fight against violence that fall within the mandate of local authorities in Council of Europe member States. “The objective is to address urban safety, human rights and citizen participation issues, bringing together the political action of the Congress and the technical expertise of Efus” through joint activities, which may include common initiatives and the organisation of conferences. The document mentions in particular the mobilisation of local authorities against extremist violence, on top of existing networks such as the Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN).
The first activity borne out of this cooperation agreement will be the Conference of local authorities on the prevention of radicalisation, which will be organised jointly by Efus and the Congress on 18 November, in Aarhus (Denmark).
Efus welcomes this agreement with one of Europe’s key institutions, with which it shares “the concern for the respect for human rights” and the conviction that “the implementation of safety policies must not lead to the exclusion and repression of vulnerable groups.”
Efus expects that this agreement will contribute to further advocate in Europe the stance of local and regional authorities on urban security issues, notably radicalisation, and to strengthen prevention policies at a time when they are acutely needed.