EU counter-terrorism chief warns on new technologies

Ilkka Salmi is the EU’s prime man with regards to counter-terrorism. He not too long ago took up the function of coordinating the response of member states to the safety threats going through the bloc as we speak. His appointment comes at a time when right-wing extremism is on the rise and on-line propaganda is a rising concern. Just among the points that we mentioned with him, on the European Council, in Brussels.

PEDRO SACADURA, EURONEWS: First of all, we simply began a brand new 12 months. In 2022, how would you outline terrorism?

ILKKA SALMI, EU COUNTER-TERRORISM COORDINATOR: I’d say that we’ve got to nonetheless understand that terrorism exists. If we contemplate, for instance, for instance, radical Islamist views or jihadism, the ideology remains to be there, even when the Caliphate has been defeated in Syria. And we’ve got to be ready for that.

PEDRO SACADURA, EURONEWS: You take up this function at a time that terrorism appears, one way or the other, to have gone away and is a bit low on the agenda. Has the risk simply slipped off the political agenda?

ILKKA SALMI, EU COUNTER-TERRORISM COORDINATOR: Unfortunately, the terrorism risk is continually there. We must say that it is partially… it is maybe elevated. We cannot actually say that it is gone away fully. Of course, points like – particularly from the European viewpoint – the pandemic may need had an impression. I imply, folks do not transfer round as freely as they used to. One factor that I in all probability additionally want to spotlight, and it’s, after all, a superb factor, it’s resilience.

We have seen, in Europe, small scale terrorist assaults, very unlucky ones, the place lives have been misplaced. Nevertheless, societies have really managed to get well.

PEDRO SACADURA, EURONEWS: What is, in your view, the present state of affairs after we discuss terrorist threats in Europe and the urgent points?

ILKKA SALMI, EU COUNTER-TERRORISM COORDINATOR: I’d say mainly two… really three issues. The first one, jihadism or the novel Islamist risk remains to be there. Secondly, we’ve got certainly seen right-wing extremism, particularly violent white right-wing extremism, turn into extra distinguished in Europe. And then, the third concern is, after all, the event of expertise. And the brand new expertise additionally performs a task in spreading hate speech or terrorist content material on-line.

PEDRO SACADURA, EURONEWS: In the previous, a number of European nationals have joined terrorist-linked organisations. In your view, is Europe nonetheless engaging for these organisations to recruit folks? And what could possibly be the basis causes of such recruitments?

ILKKA SALMI, EU COUNTER-TERRORISM COORDINATOR: Well, what we noticed, for instance again in 2012, 2013, 2014, particularly, or in 2015 linked to the disaster in Syria and the formation of Daesh or ISIS again in these days, the state of affairs actually tempted some Europeans to depart and be a part of the ranks of these terrorist organisations. Theoretically talking, it nonetheless exists in a means. We have seen the developments in Afghanistan. It’s definitely one query that we’ll comply with.

PEDRO SACADURA, EURONEWS: In the final quarter, migration once more grew to become a giant subject on the agenda. Do you assume there’s a hyperlink, as some folks argue, between migration and terrorism or that’s not the case in any respect?

ILKKA SALMI, EU COUNTER-TERRORISM COORDINATOR: Drawing a line – you realize – a sort of direct line between migration and terrorism is way from the case. At the identical time, and having stated that, we’ve got to understand that if there’s a nice motion of individuals all over the world, terrorist organisations may attempt to use that to their profit and attempt to infiltrate people into it.

PEDRO SACADURA, EURONEWS: We’re in Brussels, a metropolis that has been touched by terrorism up to now. In your view, what are the priorities to make Europe a safer place?

ILKKA SALMI, EU COUNTER-TERRORISM COORDINATOR: We need to ensure that the steadiness between points similar to privateness, on one hand, and safety, on the opposite, might be coated, so we ensure that our laws permits our regulation enforcement companies to work effectively, however on the identical time ensure that the brand new expertise is accessible for these companies.

PEDRO SACADURA, EURONEWS: Moving to a unique subject. On the pandemic, which is a urgent concern as effectively, a current Europol report referring to 2020, acknowledged that terrorist-linked organisations are making the most of the Covid-19 pandemic to exacerbate hate speech and hatred, and on-line propaganda in that course. What is being finished to struggle this and to deal with this concern, which has the potential to turn into larger sooner or later?

ILKKA SALMI, EU COUNTER-TERRORISM COORDINATOR: It’s really very well timed to sort out these challenges. The so-called Terrorist Content Online laws will come into power. This is European laws, with mainly the underside line being that service suppliers and social media platforms are obliged to take away terrorist content material, which they see on-line… I imply, based mostly on stories, by member states, authorities, and likewise it goes by means of Europol. So mainly inside one hour that type of info or messaging must be eliminated. And I believe it is a very, superb growth over the past years that we’ve got managed to cross this type of laws, which is able to come into power now subsequent summer season.

PEDRO SACADURA, EURONEWS: These days we additionally see quite a lot of speech towards vaccination on-line, within the context of the pandemic. Do you contemplate that this has the potential for use by right-wing extremists to type of degenerate and thus win over extra followers?

ILKKA SALMI, EU COUNTER-TERRORISM COORDINATOR: I do not see that we might ever label that as terrorism in the intervening time. Having stated that, after all, there was some concern that, you realize, marginal components of those that are very a lot towards would radicalise once more by means of that and maybe search alliances with totally different teams, violent right-wing extremism, for instance. But in the intervening time, we nonetheless need to understand that freedom of speech and expression remains to be there and the precise to reveal.

PEDRO SACADURA, EURONEWS: As tech evolves, it appears so, terrorism is evolving. How will we sort out all of this?

ILKKA SALMI, EU COUNTER-TERRORISM COORDINATOR: First of all, after all, we’ve got to place a number of effort into preventive work, attempting to ensure that folks do not radicalise, they do not get these views, particularly whenever you discuss Europe and, after all, globally as effectively. Secondly, we’ve got to ensure that regulation enforcement companies, the safety authorities have (a) sufficient sources and (b) a authorized framework that they will function in.

PEDRO SACADURA, EURONEWS: Is on-line the weapon of selection for the longer term and the way would you deal, in that sense, with preventing cyber-terrorism?

ILKKA SALMI, EU COUNTER-TERRORISM COORDINATOR: I completely imagine that is certainly the way in which ahead. It won’t substitute, after all, what is going to occur in the actual world. Because that is the place, sadly, all of the terrorist incidents would have a psychological impression. But on the identical time, the brand new expertise, retaining in thoughts that it is extraordinarily helpful for you and me, on the identical time, additionally provides new instruments to those that need to do hurt. And that is precisely why we’ve got to ensure that we sustain with technological developments.

PEDRO SACADURA, EURONEWS: In your view is there a type of one-size-fits-all method, a pan-European method that may be utilized?

ILKKA SALMI, EU COUNTER-TERRORISM COORDINATOR: If we talk about the risk, that definitely varies amongst totally different EU member states or totally different international locations in Europe. So, in that sense, we in all probability cannot converse of 1 sort of monolithic method to this query.


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