New technology gives new tools “to those who want to do harm”, warns EU’s counter-terrorism chief

Ilkka Salmi is the EU’s top rated person when it arrives to counter-terrorism. He not too long ago took up the position of coordinating the reaction of member states to the protection threats experiencing the bloc nowadays. His appointment will come at a time when proper-wing extremism is on the rise and on the internet propaganda is a developing issue. Just some of the issues that we mentioned with him, at the European Council, in Brussels.

PEDRO SACADURA, EURONEWS: First of all, we just begun a new year. In 2022, how would you define terrorism?

ILKKA SALMI, EU COUNTER-TERRORISM COORDINATOR: I would say that we have to continue to retain in head that terrorism exists. If we take into account, for case in point, let us say, radical Islamist sights or jihadism, the ideology is continue to there, even if the Caliphate has been defeated in Syria. And we have to be organized for that.

PEDRO SACADURA, EURONEWS: You take up this job at a time that terrorism seems, by some means, to have gone absent and is a little bit very low on the agenda. Has the threat just slipped off the political agenda?

ILKKA SALMI, EU COUNTER-TERRORISM COORDINATOR: Regrettably, the terrorism menace is continuously there. We would have to say that it really is partially… it’s potentially elevated. We are unable to really say that it really is gone absent fully. Of system, troubles like – specifically from the European level of perspective – the pandemic could possibly have had an effects. I necessarily mean, men and women really don’t transfer close to as freely as they made use of to. One point that I possibly also would like to spotlight, and it is, of study course, a fantastic detail, it’s resilience.

We have seen, in Europe, compact scale terrorist assaults, quite regrettable kinds, the place lives have been shed. Yet, societies have truly managed to get better.

PEDRO SACADURA, EURONEWS: What is, in your watch, the latest condition when we converse about terrorist threats in Europe and the urgent concerns?

ILKKA SALMI, EU COUNTER-TERRORISM COORDINATOR: I would say fundamentally two… basically three factors. The to start with one particular, jihadism or the radical Islamist menace is however there. Next, we have without a doubt viewed ideal-wing extremism, specifically violent white ideal-wing extremism, grow to be a lot more prominent in Europe. And then, the third challenge is, of training course, the development of technology. And the new technological know-how also performs a position in spreading loathe speech or terrorist articles on line.

PEDRO SACADURA, EURONEWS: In the earlier, a number of European nationals have joined terrorist-joined organisations. In your see, is Europe even now interesting for these organisations to recruit individuals? And what could be the root triggers of these kinds of recruitments?

ILKKA SALMI, EU COUNTER-TERRORISM COORDINATOR: Effectively, what we saw, let us say back again in 2012, 2013, 2014, particularly, or in 2015 connected to the crisis in Syria and the development of Daesh or ISIS again in these times, the predicament definitely tempted some Europeans to go away and be a part of the ranks of these terrorist organisations. Theoretically speaking, it still exists in a way. We have viewed the developments in Afghanistan. It really is surely 1 concern that we will stick to.

PEDRO SACADURA, EURONEWS: In the very last quarter, migration yet again turned a significant subject matter on the agenda. Do you believe there is a hyperlink, as some individuals argue, amongst migration and terrorism or that’s not the case at all?

ILKKA SALMI, EU COUNTER-TERRORISM COORDINATOR: Drawing a line – you know – a variety of direct line in between migration and terrorism is considerably from the case. At the same time, and having reported that, we have to continue to keep in mind that if there is a wonderful motion of people around the world, terrorist organisations could consider to use that to their reward and test to infiltrate people today into it.

PEDRO SACADURA, EURONEWS: We’re in Brussels, a metropolis that has been touched by terrorism in the earlier. In your check out, what are the priorities to make Europe a safer location?

ILKKA SALMI, EU COUNTER-TERRORISM COORDINATOR: We have to make confident that the balance among difficulties these types of as privateness, on a person hand, and stability, on the other, will be lined, so we make absolutely sure that our legislation allows our legislation enforcement businesses to operate effectively, but at the very same time make certain that the new know-how is available for these companies.

PEDRO SACADURA, EURONEWS: Relocating to a distinct matter. On the pandemic, which is a urgent difficulty as well, a modern Europol report referring to 2020, stated that terrorist-joined organisations are taking benefit of the Covid-19 pandemic to exacerbate loathe speech and hatred, and on the internet propaganda in that path. What is remaining finished to fight this and to address this concern, which has the likely to turn out to be greater in the potential?

ILKKA SALMI, EU COUNTER-TERRORISM COORDINATOR: It’s essentially extremely well timed to tackle these difficulties. The so-identified as Terrorist Written content On line laws will arrive into power. This is European legislation, with fundamentally the bottom line being that services companies and social media platforms are obliged to get rid of terrorist articles, which they see on the net… I suggest, based on stories, by member states, authorities, and also it goes via Europol. So basically in just a single hour that form of info or messaging should be taken off. And I believe this is a quite, pretty superior improvement over the previous several years that we have managed to move this sort of laws, which will arrive into pressure now future summer.

PEDRO SACADURA, EURONEWS: These days we also see a lot of speech against vaccination on the net, in the context of the pandemic. Do you look at that this has the likely to be utilised by right-wing extremists to kind of degenerate and consequently win in excess of additional followers?

ILKKA SALMI, EU COUNTER-TERRORISM COORDINATOR: I you should not see that we would ever label that as terrorism for the time currently being. Having said that, of training course, there has been some concern that, you know, marginal sections of those people who are really considerably towards would radicalise again through that and possibly look for alliances with unique teams, violent ideal-wing extremism, for example. But for the time currently being, we continue to have to retain in mind that flexibility of speech and expression is even now there and the ideal to exhibit.

PEDRO SACADURA, EURONEWS: As tech evolves, it appears so, terrorism is evolving. How do we deal with all of this?

ILKKA SALMI, EU COUNTER-TERRORISM COORDINATOR: 1st of all, of study course, we have to put loads of hard work into preventive perform, striving to make guaranteed that folks will not radicalise, they will not get these sights, in particular when you talk about Europe and, of study course, globally as very well. Next, we have to make guaranteed that legislation enforcement companies, the security authorities have (a) more than enough resources and (b) a authorized framework that they can function in.

PEDRO SACADURA, EURONEWS: Is online the weapon of decision for the upcoming and how would you deal, in that sense, with fighting cyber-terrorism?

ILKKA SALMI, EU COUNTER-TERRORISM COORDINATOR: I definitely believe that’s indeed the way forward. It will not exchange, of system, what will materialize in the real environment. Mainly because which is in which, regrettably, all the terrorist incidents would have a psychological effect. But at the same time, the new technologies, keeping in mind that it really is exceptionally handy for you and me, at the similar time, also presents new equipment to those people who want to do hurt. And that is precisely why we have to make absolutely sure that we maintain up with technological developments.

PEDRO SACADURA, EURONEWS: In your look at is there a type of one-dimension-fits-all method, a pan-European method that can be applied?

ILKKA SALMI, EU COUNTER-TERRORISM COORDINATOR: If we focus on the danger, that undoubtedly may differ among diverse EU member states or different countries in Europe. So, in that perception, we most likely are unable to communicate of a person variety of monolithic strategy to this problem.

Marcy Willis

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