Reflecting on the current climate precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson addressed the participants in the RAN Plenary and called upon the RAN network of practitioners to offer vulnerable young people a “sense of belonging” and “show them you are part of ‘us’ (European society) and not ‘them’ (terrorist and violent extremist groups)”.
The Commissioner, while citing some inspiring examples, congratulated the work of RAN and its practitioners to date – “you already make a massive difference in the world, and when you get together, here, you make that difference a hundred, a thousand times over” – and called for continued “patience, commitment and determination”.
However, the Commissioner gave a stark reminder of the work we still must do. “The threat of terror remains”. She took a moment to remember Samuel Paty, the teacher murdered by a terrorist in the town of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine.
Looking ahead into 2021, the Commissioner outlined some of the priorities for the work of RAN and its practitioners, including “dealing with returning foreign fighters... helping to rehabilitate terrorist offenders… and developing counter terrorist narratives”.“Your work remains crucial as ever.”