On the 21st and 22nd April 2021, the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and the Office of the European Union (EU) Counter-Terrorism Coordinator will hold a virtual expert-level meeting to take stock of the recent evolution and potentially emerging trends of the threat posed by ISIL/Al-Qaida inspired terrorism in Europe in light of the spate of attacks throughout 2020 and against the backdrop of COVID-19.
Over recent years, the terrorist threat in Europe has steadily ranged from moderate to high. In 2019 alone, almost 120 terrorist plots were uncovered across Europe, resulting in more than 1,000 arrests in 19 Member States. And, a number of heinous attacks, including in France, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Germany, Austria and Switzerland were perpetrated throughout 2020. The majority of such acts appear to have been conducted by lone actors rarely involved in bigger, well-established networks and usually targeting public or symbolic places, including religious sites. In most cases, the assailants were violent, young men – with limited preparation and easily available weaponry – inspired by ISIL propaganda and keen to disseminate messages of hatred on social media.
Speakers will include, inter alia, experts from UN entities, INTERPOL, EU institutions as well as selected national counter-terrorism experts who will discuss and provide an overview/update on:
- The terrorist profile(s)
- Impact of regular and irregular movements of people on the threat stemming from ISIL/Al-Qaida inspired terrorism
- Returning and relocating foreign terrorist fighters and their family members
- Potential shifting in incitement, radicalization and recruitment techniques and tools
- Vulnerability of soft targets with a focus on places of worship
- Implications of COVID-19
- Challenges facing European States at national and regional level
- Measures adopted by the EU to enhance resilience and mitigate terrorism-related risks
The expert-level meeting will also provide the opportunity to analyse the newly adopted EU Security Union Strategy 2020-2025 and, notably, the 4-pillar counter-terrorism agenda with measures aimed at “anticipating, preventing, protecting and responding”.
The outcomes of the meeting, coupled with in-depth research, assessment and analysis will result in the publication of a report. A second expert-level meeting, to be held in 23 June 2021, will serve as a platform to present the main results of the report and some recommendations with a view to highlight efficient solutions aimed at tackling identified risks and related challenges.
If you are interested to attend, kindly send a message to carlotta.zenere(at)un.org