Greece’s Minister of Citizen Protection, Olga Gerovasili and the Central Union of Municipalities of Greece (KEDE) on Thursday signed the Athens Joint Declaration, vowing to explore strategies to counter radicalisation.
The declaration was signed during a conference entitled ‘Prevention of radicalisation – local strategies and initiatives’, held in Athens and attended by several economists, academics and local government officials, who also signed the declaration. Also discussed was the mobilisation of European and Greek local government authorities for the prevention of the phenomenon of radicalisation.
The declaration’s text states the aim is to “establish networks, structures and protocols of communication, the exchange of experiences and good practices among Greek municipalities, law enforcement agencies, public services and civil society,” and pays particular emphasis on mapping the threats and risks of radicalisation, promoting actions for the dissemination of information and raising awareness.
Besides the creation of state policies to address radicalisation, the involvement of local authorities in policy-making is crucial to the project, while the text states clearly that integration, social inclusion and support for vulnerable groups and youth is a strong tool against radicalisation.
In her address, Olga Gerovasili called for “vigilance to prevent and deal with extremism, which appropriates and feeds arguments of fear of social, cultural and religious diversity, and proceeds to carry out extreme terrorist acts,” said Gerovasili.
The Minister of Citizen Protection concluded by pointing out that in a world of multiple war zones “provides fertile ground for the professionals of Islamic extremism to attempt to recruit new members,” and called for awareness in this direction.