On 26 February the Strong Cities Network (SCN) took part in the European Union (EU) Cities Against Radicalisation conference organised jointly by the European Commission and the European Committee of the Regions in Brussels. The conference gathered representatives from EU cities, EU national governments, EU bodies as well as organisations and initiatives addressing the challenge of violent extremism at the local level. Head of the SCN, Rebecca Skellett, had the opportunity to present its work at a panel ‘Support to EU Cities’ next to colleagues from other networks, including the Nordic Safe Cities, the Radicalisation Awareness Network and the European Forum for Urban Security.
The conference served as an exchange platform between various political levels, where EU cities had the opportunity to voice their perceptions of and responses to challenges linked to extremism at their local level. Speakers highlighted the importance of cooperation between EU cities and called for a reinforcement of EU values, diversity, inclusion and equality for all. The SCN was particularly impressed by Mayor Somers from the city of Mechelen, Belgium, as he vehemently pledged for a paradigm shift in policy-making from focusing on integration to addressing diversity.
Through this event the EU demonstrated its willingness to adopt a multi-stakeholder and local approach to preventing and countering violent extremism, recognising the central role of cities. The SCN is looking forward to accompanying EU member states and their cities on this path to more inclusive and open societies.
Click here to read the final report of the EU High-Level Commission Expert Group on Radicalisation.
Images courtesy of @Avramopoulos