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United against fear – PES leads fight against Radicalisation and protecting the rule of law

Condemning the dreadful attacks in Paris and other cities, PES Leaders met in February in Madrid to declare their strong stance against radicalisation and the politics of fear. United they agreed on a broad approach to fight for just, inclusive and peaceful societies in Europe. “As progressives, we must fight for social cohesion, inclusion and against ghettoisation and the stigmatisation of any community,” said PES Deputy Secretary Marije Laffeber, summarizing the clear goals.

On Thursday the 5th of March the PES invited members, academics and NGOs to join this on-going discussion on how to deal with the threat of radicalisation in Europe, disturbing right-wing opportunism and ways to protect our European values of pluralism and diversity. The Chairwoman of the PES Democracy Network, MEP Tanja Fajon, stressed the need to “fight against intolerance, against the ideologies of hatred which are continuously increasing xenophobia, islamophobia and racism.”

While some commentators and politicians see the extremist attacks of Paris and Copenhagen as opportunities to fuel hatred even more, the PES stands firmly in support of tolerance, pluralism and democracy. PES Deputy Secretary Marije Laffeber underlined the importance of honest analysis and real solutions: “This is not the time to blame groups within our society or use fear as means to limit the freedom of speech or religion. When we truly want to fight radicalisation, prevention must be the first measure. This means understanding the root causes of radicalisation first and actively empower and engage communities and society. Deradicalisation happens not outside of affected communities, but only inside them and in cooperation with civil society and all levels of government.”

Tanja Fajon and Marije Leffeber were joined at the Committee of Regions by French MEP and regional counsellor  Christine Revault d’Allonnes Bonnefoy from Paris and Jean-François Istasse, City councillor of Verviers, Jacob Bundsgaard, Mayor of Aarhus in Denmark , Mercedes Bresso, S&D Coordinator for Constitutional Affairs, Omar Ramadan, head of the Secretariat of the European Commission  Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN), Michaël Privot, director of the European Network Against Racism, Claude Moraes, S&D Chairman of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, Bernd Martenczuk, Member of the Cabinet of the EC First-Vice President Frans Timmermans, Thomas Schmidenger, University of Vienna and Conny Reuter, Secretary General of Solidar.

The debate was organised in cooperation with the S&D group, PES Group at Committee of the Regions, FEPS and Solidar to discuss preventive measures against any kind of radicalisation leading to violent extremism. Special attention was given to foreign fighters and measures dealing with returnees and exchanging best practices with local and regional authorities, politicians, academics and civil society organisations.The PES collects and analysis these measures and will present progessive solutions over the next months.

Find images of event here

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