Nice, October 2017 – The Declaration of Nice, drafted jointly by the Euromed network and Efus, was adopted on 30 September by the two networks and 60 mayors from 18 countries. The signatories recall the importance for local authorities of preventing radicalisation leading to violent extremism and their determination to cooperate among them but also with national and European institutions. The declaration was signed on the occasion of the conference on “Mayors of large cities in Europe and the Mediterranean confronted to the challenge of terrorism” organised on 29-30 September in Nice (France) by the Euromed network with the support of Efus, the University of Toulouse Jean Jaurès and the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.
The Declaration of Nice
With the Declaration of Nice, the signatories recall the importance of preventing radicalisation leading to violent extremism and their determination to cooperate amongst local authorities but also with national and European institutions. They advocate for more recognition of the role of local authorities, in particular through better representation within European consultation bodies focused on the prevention of radicalisation. They also call for more financial support for prevention activities, training, cooperation, research, the securement of public spaces, and help to victims. They also pledge to remain mobilised, to innovate and to prioritise education, art and culture in their prevention policies against violent extremism.
The partnership with European institutions
Sir Julian King, European Commissioner for the Security Union, took part in the conference and expressed his support to local authorities engaged in the prevention of violent extremism. He stressed the need to increase European funding for local authorities, in particular in order to make public spaces more secure, and called for the constitution of a panel of elected officials at the European level so discussions with EU bodies can go further.
Sir Julian King and Christian Estrosi, Mayor of Nice and President of the Nice Côte d’Azur Metropolis and of Euromed, also took part in a citizen debate titled “Europe: stronger together against terrorism?”. For about an hour, more than a hundred citizens exchanged directly with the two officials on the securement of cities, raising awareness and supporting families, and managing individuals who return from conflict zones.
The key role of local authorities in preventing violent extremism, and the importance of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership
The Euro-Mediterranean initiative on the prevention of radicalisation echoes the “Alliance of European Cities Against Violent Extremism” created by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, Efus, and the cities of Rotterdam (Netherlands) and Aarhus (Denmark) following the Aarhus conference, in November 2015.
Such initiatives are testament to European local authorities’ growing interest for coordinated action, whether at a European level or, as is the case here, Euro-Mediterranean level. Efus welcomes this development, as it is convinced that the local level must play a key role in preventing radicalisation and designing and implementing prevention policies and programmes.