September 29, 2022

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

Ilkka Salmi is the EU’s best gentleman when it comes to counter-terrorism. He just lately took up the part of coordinating the response of member states to the protection threats going through the bloc these days. His appointment will come at a time when suitable-wing extremism is on the increase and on the net propaganda is a expanding concern. Just some of the troubles that we talked about with him, at the European Council, in Brussels.

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

ILKKA SALMI, EU COUNTER-TERRORISM COORDINATOR: I would say that we have to however retain in thoughts that terrorism exists. If we contemplate, for instance, let’s say, radical Islamist views or jihadism, the ideology is continue to there, even if the Caliphate has been defeated in Syria. And we have to be geared up for that.

PEDRO SACADURA, EURONEWS: You consider up this function at a time that terrorism looks, somehow, to have long gone absent and is a little bit low on the agenda. Has the threat just slipped off the political agenda?

ILKKA SALMI, EU COUNTER-TERRORISM COORDINATOR: Regrettably, the terrorism risk is constantly there. We would have to say that it’s partly… it is really maybe elevated. We are unable to genuinely say that it can be long gone absent fully. Of program, problems like – primarily from the European stage of see – the pandemic may well have experienced an effect. I mean, persons never move about as freely as they used to. Just one factor that I likely also would like to spotlight, and it is, of study course, a superior issue, it’s resilience.

We have seen, in Europe, little scale terrorist attacks, incredibly unlucky kinds, in which life have been shed. Nonetheless, societies have basically managed to get well.

PEDRO SACADURA, EURONEWS: What is, in your perspective, the latest condition when we talk about terrorist threats in Europe and the urgent problems?

ILKKA SALMI, EU COUNTER-TERRORISM COORDINATOR: I would say essentially two… really three issues. The initially a person, jihadism or the radical Islamist menace is nevertheless there. Next, we have in fact observed right-wing extremism, specifically violent white ideal-wing extremism, become a lot more well known in Europe. And then, the 3rd problem is, of study course, the improvement of engineering. And the new know-how also plays a purpose in spreading despise speech or terrorist information online.

PEDRO SACADURA, EURONEWS: In the earlier, numerous European nationals have joined terrorist-connected organisations. In your look at, is Europe even now interesting for these organisations to recruit men and women? And what could be the root results in of these types of recruitments?

ILKKA SALMI, EU COUNTER-TERRORISM COORDINATOR: Very well, what we observed, let’s say back again in 2012, 2013, 2014, primarily, or in 2015 linked to the disaster in Syria and the formation of Daesh or ISIS again in people times, the circumstance actually tempted some Europeans to depart and be a part of the ranks of those terrorist organisations. Theoretically speaking, it still exists in a way. We have found the developments in Afghanistan. It is really certainly 1 problem that we will abide by.

PEDRO SACADURA, EURONEWS: In the past quarter, migration all over again became a massive subject matter on the agenda. Do you think there is a hyperlink, as some persons argue, in between migration and terrorism or which is not the scenario at all?

ILKKA SALMI, EU COUNTER-TERRORISM COORDINATOR: Drawing a line – you know – a form of immediate line between migration and terrorism is significantly from the scenario. At the identical time, and getting claimed that, we have to continue to keep in brain that if there is a wonderful movement of men and women about the entire world, terrorist organisations could test to use that to their benefit and try out to infiltrate individuals into it.

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

ILKKA SALMI, EU COUNTER-TERRORISM COORDINATOR: We have to make certain that the balance in between difficulties these kinds of as privateness, on a person hand, and stability, on the other, will be lined, so we make absolutely sure that our laws allows our law enforcement organizations to operate proficiently, but at the identical time make absolutely sure that the new technological know-how is readily available for these companies.

PEDRO SACADURA, EURONEWS: Moving to a distinctive matter. On the pandemic, which is a urgent challenge as perfectly, a latest Europol report referring to 2020, said that terrorist-connected organisations are taking benefit of the Covid-19 pandemic to exacerbate dislike speech and hatred, and online propaganda in that path. What is becoming performed to battle this and to handle this issue, which has the probable to turn out to be bigger in the foreseeable future?

ILKKA SALMI, EU COUNTER-TERRORISM COORDINATOR: It is truly quite timely to deal with these issues. The so-known as Terrorist Written content On the internet legislation will come into pressure. This is European laws, with fundamentally the bottom line getting that service suppliers and social media platforms are obliged to eliminate terrorist articles, which they see online… I imply, based on reviews, by member states, authorities, and also it goes via Europol. So fundamentally inside one hour that type of info or messaging must be taken out. And I believe this is a incredibly, very good progress in excess of the final decades that we have managed to pass this sort of legislation, which will arrive into force now next summertime.

PEDRO SACADURA, EURONEWS: These days we also see a lot of speech towards vaccination on line, in the context of the pandemic. Do you consider that this has the opportunity to be employed by right-wing extremists to sort of degenerate and hence get over extra followers?

ILKKA SALMI, EU COUNTER-TERRORISM COORDINATOR: I do not see that we would ever label that as terrorism for the time remaining. Owning mentioned that, of training course, there has been some problem that, you know, marginal elements of people who are incredibly a lot against would radicalise once again by that and most likely seek out alliances with unique teams, violent suitable-wing extremism, for illustration. But for the time staying, we nonetheless have to continue to keep in mind that freedom of speech and expression is nonetheless there and the suitable to reveal.

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

ILKKA SALMI, EU COUNTER-TERRORISM COORDINATOR: Initial of all, of program, we have to set plenty of effort and hard work into preventive get the job done, attempting to make positive that folks never radicalise, they do not get these sights, specifically when you converse about Europe and, of course, globally as nicely. Next, we have to make confident that legislation enforcement companies, the protection authorities have (a) ample methods and (b) a lawful framework that they can run in.

PEDRO SACADURA, EURONEWS: Is on the net the weapon of decision for the long term and how would you offer, in that sense, with preventing cyber-terrorism?

ILKKA SALMI, EU COUNTER-TERRORISM COORDINATOR: I completely think which is indeed the way ahead. It will not replace, of study course, what will transpire in the authentic globe. Mainly because that’s exactly where, however, all the terrorist incidents would have a psychological effects. But at the exact time, the new technological innovation, retaining in brain that it really is incredibly handy for you and me, at the exact same time, also presents new resources to all those who want to do damage. And that’s exactly why we have to make absolutely sure that we maintain up with technological developments.

PEDRO SACADURA, EURONEWS: In your see is there a form of just one-measurement-fits-all approach, a pan-European approach that can be applied?

ILKKA SALMI, EU COUNTER-TERRORISM COORDINATOR: If we explore the menace, that definitely may differ among the different EU member states or unique nations around the world in Europe. So, in that sense, we most likely can’t speak of one particular variety of monolithic solution to this concern.