The Minister of the Interior presented an announcement regarding the plan to combat violent radicalisation and terrorist networks.
Like other European countries, France is currently faced with a serious threat linked to the shift by several hundreds of individuals towards violent extremism, most often connected with Syrian terrorist networks. Moreover, departures to Syria have worryingly seen an accelerated increase over the last months. Out of a total of more than 740 individuals identified as belonging to these networks, more than 300 are currently in Syria, 130 in transit and 130 have returned after one or more stays. 25 individuals have died in Syria in this context.
The emergence of a new generation of hardened terrorists, who may strike in France, has called for a determined, firm and efficient reaction by the State. However, a purely repressive approach is not sufficient to curb this phenomenon. Preventative action aimed at contradicting “hate preachers” will also be implemented.
The plan aims first to thwart trips by terrorists to or from Syria by increasing controls and decisions to withdraw travel documents. A bill will be put to the Parliament to introduce a system to refuse adults involved in terrorist activities from leaving the country. Parents will be able to notify the public authorities for the purpose of refusing their under-age children from leaving the country.
The active combat against Jihadist networks will be intensified. The intelligence services’ detection and surveillance work has been stepped up. These services may lead more systematically to the authorities interviewing identified individuals and their families. Foreign nationals involved in networks will be subject to expulsion. Asset freezes of the structures used by the networks will be developed. Possibilities for detecting networks on the internet will be increased by the widespread application of investigations using pseudonyms to all terrorist activities and all associated communications offences. The tools and strategy to combat online terrorism will be expanded. Impetus will also be given in France and in Europe to large Internet operators to ensure that illicit content and recruitment websites are effectively and swiftly removed.
International cooperation with other countries of departure and transit countries will be intensified. France participates actively in the network of European experts specializing in preventing and reducing radicalisation processes. In conjunction with its partners, France will rally the European Union and international community to channel aid to liberated zones in Syria. If many people are genuinely moved by the living and sanitary conditions of the civilian populations in zones which are not controlled by the Syrian government, it is necessary to prevent terrorist networks from exploiting this compassion and diverting donations. For this reason, it is essential to increase the visibility of French and European humanitarian aid.
A series of preventative actions and operations aimed at contradicting “hate preachers” will be implemented. The plan takes into account the individuals’ personal path and their families’ need for support. A national help and guidance centre will also be created for families. In addition to court proceedings decided by the court authorities, an experimental system aimed at rehabilitating individuals will be created in liaison with the relevant regional authorities. This part of the plan will help answer families’ concerns by increasing awareness, providing support and assistance, while improving the chances of rehabilitation success, through the involvement of the family unit. Specialized training will be provided to the public officials in contact with the public concerned. Special attention will be paid to the prison environment.
Excerpts from the Council of Ministers